Sunday, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy 24th Anniversary!!

Happy 24th anniversary to us!♥
You can read some fun facts about our elopement here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Shred Diet: Update

I made it through week 3! Yay! The first four days were hard, but the last three were smooth sailing.☺

I am a total believer in the power of positive thinking. I look at this little sign & believe in it. Why? Because I know it's true! I CAN do hard things!☻

I baked for the first time in three weeks yesterday. Oh how I have missed it. I made these super soft sugar cookies which are very good! The sour cream frosting? Disgusting! It went down the kitchen sink. I was sad that a whole cube of butter was wasted. Oh well. For the frosting,  I purchased the new (& oh so delish!) Cool Whip Frosting! YUM! I am not a chocolate fan, but the Cool Whip Chocolate Frosting tastes like a fudgesicle.

I did sample some cookie dough and I ate a cookie with the frosting. The Shred allows sweets sometimes, so after 21 days, I thought I would finally have something sugary. After I ate the cookie - I felt really nauseous & just plain 'icky' for about 20 minutes. I drank a big glass of water and felt better immediately. It was so interesting to see how the sugar affected me.

For this morning's weigh in, I did not lose any extra weight during this week; but actually put on .2 lbs. Looks like I have hit that plateau Dr. Ian talks about. ☺

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Get Crafty!

Do you washi? I do!
I have started using it on everything! Washi tape adds a bit of fun to whatever item you put it on.
I bought these rolls through Pick Your Plum.
Last week, I used washi tape to cover a mistake on a gift tag. I have three friends named Lyn/Lin/Lynn. My gift was for Lyn, but I wrote Lin. Instead of tossing the tag, I just 'washied' right over the error. I love how it turned out.☺
washi gift tag
I made the tasty Ritz Cracker-Rolo cookies to share today at a potluck. I had originally placed the cookies on a cute paper plate, but was unhappy about how they looked (boring). Then I had an idea.
My cute idea!☺
I placed three Ritz-Rolo cookies in a nut cup.

Next, I secured the bag with Scotch tape.

Then I taped a piece of washi over the Scotch tape.

Last, I cut a triangle notch out of the washi.
Festive, no?
I even 'washied' a spoon to accompany a granola snack.☺
Get 'washi-ing!' It's addictive.☺

Netflix This!!

There is a reason this movie won the best picture at the Academy Awards this year. Wow. I was on my seat the entire time. It's a very good movie. Make sure you watch it until the very end when the credits are rolling. The are actual photos of some of the recreated scenes. I am just sorry we waited so long to see it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Make This!

Most of the smoothie or protein shake recipes in the back of The Shred Diet book call for 2 Tbs of Greek yogurt. It's easy enough to spoon out two tablespoons of soft yogurt; unless you have a family of yogurt eaters. Then it's best to think ahead & freeze your Greek yogurt into discs. Thank you, Lacey in Love for the tip!☺
A mini muffin tin is the perfect tool to freeze your own yogurt discs.  The tin holds 2 Tbs exactly.☺
Spoon 2 Tbs Greek yogurt into muffin tin.
Place in freezer for one hour.

After an hour, let the muffin tin sit on the counter for a few minutes.
The yogurt discs will pop right out!

So much easier to take one out & pop it in the blender!

The Shred: Update Week 3

Now I know why this is the hardest week of the cleanse: I am feeling hungry between meals & snacks, where I was not before. Not bad hunger pangs, but enough that my stomach rumbles.

I have been drinking extra water & chewing gum to curb the hunger pangs. The gum is definitely working! The downside of that: I have young students who constantly ask, "Are you chewing gum?" Definitely have to save the gum for when I am not working with the 'littles.'

I know this cleanse is working. How? Omid was away on business for two weeks. He knew I was thinking about the cleanse, but didn't know if I had started it or not. When I picked him up from the airport the other day, the first thing out of his mouth was, "Wow!" AND that was only for 5 lbs!

I had a glass of cabernet last night with my dinner and it tasted oh so delicious. I think I have figured out why the wine was a turn off the first week. I had several bouts of an intense bitter taste in my mouth the first week.  Sometimes it would come & go, other times it lasted for about half an hour or so. The research I found online (from several different sources) said if you are doing a cleanse, you will have periods of a bitter taste in your mouth. Apparently these are the toxins leaving your body. Makes sense to me!

Happy NowRuz 2013!

Happy NowRuz! Happy Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Shred: Two Week Weigh In

This week I am starting what the book says is the hardest week. Apparently, most people quit the Shred at this time. I am going to try my best to stick with it. I figure at the end of this week, the Shred will be half over & I only have three weeks left to go. Why quit?

I had my two week weigh in this morning and I am down 5 pounds exactly! Amazing what cutting back on sugar can do to a waistline!

That is motivation enough to stick with it.☺

I borrowed this poster off a friend's Facebook page. More motivation to keep going!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Shred Diet - Update

How I am doing on the Shred? Actually, I am doing great!
I am doing better than I thought I would!  When I first started this cleanse, I was sure I would cheat & have more than 3 glasses of wine a week and still be eating all my sugary treats. Guess what? I am on day 12 of the Shred and have only had 3 glasses of wine. I can do hard things. 
My sugar cravings have gone way down.  I am down to one big mug of coffee a day. Before the Shred, I used to start my day with 3 to 4 cups of coffee.

My sugar bowl would be refilled once or twice a week (it holds 1 1/4 cups). Today was the first day I refilled my sugar bowl in 12 days. The caffeine cut back was very hard the first week, but now I am okay with just the one cup coffee per day.

Thanks to all the water and fresh fruits & vegetables I've been consuming all day, by the time my final meal rolls around; I am no longer hungry. I opt for the veggies (usually roasted broccoli or butternut squash) and feel like I will be sick if I even look at a piece of chicken. At times, it's even hard to finish the veggies. I just don't want to eat. It's taking me 30-45 minutes to eat my meals, where before, I would wolf down my food.

I also found a tasty 'spa' water recipe on Pinterest that we have all been drinking. Take half a cuke (skin on) and slice it very thin. Do the same with a lemon and add a handful of fresh mint. Add water & place in the fridge overnight. The next morning you have delicious spa water. Try it!☺

My next weigh in is on Monday. I'm curious to see if I have lost any more weight. After the first 7 days, I was down 1.6 lbs. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Make This!!

Succulent Butternut Squash Soup!
I decided to try this recipe in the back of The Shred Diet book. DELISH! It's similar to the butternut squash soup that I usually make, the only exceptions being this recipe is missing the can of coconut milk & it also uses an apple where my recipe does not.
This soup is 'souper' good.  A little bit sweet, a little bit savory and a whole lotta delicious! Make this soup! It's good for you!☺
Succulent Butternut Squash Soup via The Shred Diet

2 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeded, cubed)
*Costco sells 4 cups of butternut squash already to go for $4.99 (totally worth it!!).
1 Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored, diced)
1 cup carrots (peeled, diced)
1 cup apple cider
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add squash & apple and saute for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften.

Add carrots, cider, broth, thyme and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover & cook until squash & carrots are tender (approximately 15-20 minutes).

Carefully puree the soup in small batches in a blender (I used an immersion blender). Once soup is pureed, return to pot and stir in the cream. Season with nutmeg, salt & pepper. Let simmer for 5 minutes more, then serve.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sugar Scrub - Update!

I made another batch of the sugar scrub 'eggs' this morning. I switched the soap & coconut oil amounts to see if they would stay together better at room temperature. This proved to be the secret & they stay together perfectly. No crumbling!
New batch.
These 'eggs' are much smoother (due to the increased coconut oil) than the last batch, but once you add water & start scrubbing; the sugar comes through & does it's job.

If you try this: one cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil & 1/4 cup grated soap is the perfect recipe.☺

The Shred - Update

I am on day 6 of the Shred diet & it's been going pretty good. Here are a few thoughts & observations so far:

The first day, I was hungry. I know this is because I was eating in a totally different pattern that what I was used to. The Shred is about spacing your meals every three to four hours to raise your metabolism. My previous pattern was to eat several snacks (not necessarily small) between meals, sample everything I baked that day AND eat a large meal for dinner. I haven't baked in over a week and I really miss it. BUT....I know that I need to cut down on the sugar intake; so it's going to be worth it.☺

Wine: I was totally looking forward to enjoying my 3 glasses of wine a week. What came as a total surprise to me was that when I allowed myself my first glass on Wednesday, it didn't taste that good to me and I didn't even finish it. What!? 100% true! I had a second glass last night with dinner and I felt the same as I did on Wednesday. Interesting! *Update: I am now on week 3 & wine tastes delicious again.☺

Protein shakes: This was another surprise. I am really liking the shakes a lot!☺ I make them with almond milk, which I have never tried before. It's really good. Costco sells a box of 6 for $8.99. That comes out to $1.49/carton. I've seen this same brand at other stores for $2.19/carton.

I have found that even though I was really hungry on the first day, I am getting used to the 3-4 hours between meals. I am usually not even hungry by the time my final meal rolls around at 7:00 p.m. I didn't even eat all my dinner last night. Another surprising thing: I ate all my veggies and just a few bites of the chicken.

This of course was just the first week. I know the longer I go, it will be more challenging. I am happy that this first week was successful and I rose to the challenge. Go ME!!☺

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Get Crafty!

I saw this great tutorial via The Idea Room (via where else? Pinterest!) on how to make homemade sugar scrub. I usually don't like the sugar scrub that comes in a jar as it's always too oily; which in turn makes the shower floor a slip hazard. This idea I liked as they are sugar scrub cubes/discs/whatever shape you want to make them. 

I made these early this morning (5:55 a.m.!) & they turned out great!

What you'll need: sugar, mild soap, essential oil, coconut oil, mold

Grate 1/2 cup soap & add 1/4 cup coconut oil.
Microwave in 10 second increments until it melts.
I had to microwave mine for about 45 seconds.
You can also use a double boiler if you prefer.

Add 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil. I used lavender.
Then, pour in 1 cup of sugar. Stir until it's all mixed.

Immediately scoop into a mold. I used a brownie pop mold.
Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Pop the sugar shapes out & store in an airtight container.

*Note: After these were finished, I immediately tried one in the shower. They worked great & weren't overwhelming with scent. The best part: no oily residue!☺
**UPDATE: Kept in the fridge, these sugar scrubs stay together perfectly. At room temperature: they are a crumbly mess. I plan to make these again but reverse the amounts of soap & coconut oil to see if they stay together better at room temp.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Shred Diet


Have you heard about The Shred Diet?  I just heard about it two weeks ago while waiting to use the copy machine at work. Several coworkers were talking about it & the finer points, such as how dieters can have up to 3 glasses of wine per week. What?! That got my attention. I asked a bunch of questions, did some research on my lunch hour, ordered a copy of the book & jumped on the coworker 'diet' band wagon.

In fact, today is my first day of the diet. I am not doing this diet to lose a bunch of weight. I am quite happy with how I look. I am doing it to cut out the massive amounts of sugar that are in my diet. Cancer & wrinkles thrive on sugar - I want to try to limit their access to my life. doesn't hurt to try to eat smarter too.☺

The Shred diet isn't about giving up food. It's about eating smartly, several times a day, hydrating to the max with water & exercising. I can do this. I want to do this. Dr. Oz even endorses it (so it must be good, right?!).

I even had my first ever protein shake today. Based on my own unscientific Facebook poll, I bought the whey protein from Costco. Much better value for the dollar than New Seasons or Whole Foods and I might add, downright tasty.

I'll update more about my success or failure with the diet. From what I've read & heard from coworkers, week 3 is the hardest. :/