Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogging Woes

I really need to get better at this whole blogging thing. I think it hurts that I don't have a really good computer at home. To clarify, I don't mean one that is super fancy and what-not. What I mean is one that you don't have to hook up to your TV just to be able to see the screen. A new laptop or desktop is totally on my Christmas list this year.

I'm not quite sure how this blog is turning out. I wanted to make things easier on myself by combining all my interests, but it just seems like all my posts are long winded and just kind of muddled. I'm also not a huge fan of the title. I dunno, just reminds me of a domesticated animal or something like that.

So, here's my proposal: I've been doing a lot of work and real hard thinking of a blog over at WordPress. It will be called "Big Hearts, Little Hands". This will be all my crafty and mommy related stuff. For the recipes that I post, I will re-open Cafe Strawn. I really liked the layout and I think it's nice that you don't have to shuffle through a bunch of personal posts just to find something good to eat.

What do ya'll think? Do you think this is a good idea, or something destined to fail? I really want to get on a schedule for the BHLH blog, probably once a week on Mondays or something like that. Maybe I'll do Cafe Strawn posts on another day of the week (perhaps Friday).

Anywho, I think I'll set up a poll for you to easily answer, but feel free to leave your opinion in the comments. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables

It's been one wild and crazy ride here in my house. Lots of long distance traveling (which is made even longer by having a 6 month old with ya) and just lots of events going on. All this while, I'm trying desperatly to stay on my life change plan. didn't go so well while we were traveling, but now that I'm back and our traveling is pretty much done for awhile (save for an anniversary get away this weekend) I've gotten back into the habit of things.

After doing some thinking and looking over some stuff, I've decided that I needed to bump my calorie count down from 1480 a day to 1200. I'm not going to freak out if I go a little bit over, but I think this will really help me lose weight. My goal is to lose 2 pounds a week, but if I'm over, that's awesome; if I'm under, oh well, a loss is a loss.

So, while I'm dealing with all this craziness, I'm also trying to find fast foods I can cook which are (somewhat) healthy for me. I came across this recipe in one of my cookbooks and thought I would give it a try. I'm usually not a huge ramen fan, but this tasted really good. More after the recipe!

  • 1 lb uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen and tails peeled.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 package (3 oz) Oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
  • 1 bag (1 lb) fresh stir-fry vegetables
  • 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce
  • Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp in skillet 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pink and firm. Remove shrimp from skillet; keep warm.
  • Heat water to boiling in same skillet. Break up noodles from soup mix into water; stir until slightly softened. Stir in vegetables.
  • Heat to boiling. Boil 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in seasoning packet from soup mix and stir-fry sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot. Stir in shrimp.

Soon after this picture was taken, this bowl was empty

My Take

All in all, I loved this recipe. It's quick and easy to do, and, maybe for the shrimp, you may have everything on hand. There were a few things I changed, but they were very minor, and probably didn't change the taste of it too much.

First of all, I didn't read the ingredients carefully when I went shopping so I bought pre-cooked shrimp. It wasn't that big of a deal, though. I just heated them up in the skillet and took off the tails. It might make it a bit quicker, but just make sure you don't cook them for too long.

Secondly, I already had some frozen asparagus stir-fry in the freezer, so I used that and just cooked it the same. It had some little noodles in it as well, but I didn't mind as I felt that there was a lot of shrimp and it needed more noodles any ways. I think it had to cook for a little bit longer, but it wasn't terribly long.

Also, I didn't have any stir-fry sauce (didn't even know there was such a thing) so instead I added a little bit of soy sauce and a few sprinkles of sesame seed oil. I didn't want to add too much, because I didn't want to overpower the taste from the seasoning packet. 

This recipe makes 4 servings, but since it was all I was eating, I ate 2 servings at a time. Each serving is 210 calories with 4 grams of fat. Pretty cook for a quick, yummy, Asian meal. This will definitely be on my "make again" list.

Until next time, kiddos: Eat healthy, Exercise, and Have Fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Late Night Musings

I know, I know. I should be in bed since I have to get up early tomorrow for a doctor's appointment, but I just couldn't sleep and I just felt the need to blog. So, here I am. Blogging on a laptop which it's screen is broken, so I have to use our TV as the screen. Oh how ingenious we can be!

First of all, it has been over 5 months since Lucy was born. Can you believe it!? Time has gone by crazy fast. Just within the past few weeks she's started to become mobile and is now, for the most part, sitting up all by herself. Sometimes I catch myself thinking back to the "good ol' days" when we first brought her home from the hospital. She's just gotten so big!

5 months!
Sitting up like a big girl

Secondly, my diet/lifestyle change has gotten off to a pretty interesting start. Due to personal issues, I started but then stopped last week and started anew this week. Tomorrow will my fourth day in, and I'm doing okay.

I try to weigh myself every Monday. Just lets me know if I'm headed in the right direction. Interesting story about this Monday, however. My cheap little bathroom scale is currently about 5 pounds less than 0. I can't find the little doo-hickey to zero it out (I think it might have broken off) so I just do the subtraction. Anyways, I step on the scale on Monday and it slowly moves to 5 above 0. I'm just so happy. One week of not really trying and I already weigh 0 pounds! Sweet! (Actually, I think I need another scale).....

One major step that I've taken to head towards my goal is doing daily exercises. Now, the ones I'm doing currently aren't terribly strenious (although they feel like it to me since I didn't do anything previous to this) but they are getting me into the habit of doing them daily.

The set of exercises I'm doing originally came from This is called the Starter's Exercise Plan. This is how it goes (JJs = Jumping Jacks):

Day One: 30 JJs, 10 crunches
Day Two: 35 JJs, 15 crunches
Day Three: 40 JJs, 20 crunches
Day Four: 45 JJs, 10 sit-ups
Day Five: Rest
Day Six: 50 JJs, 15 sit-ups
Day Seven: 30 crunches, 10 leg lifts
Day Eight: 55 JJs, 10 leg lifts
Day Nine: 60 JJs
Day Ten: 10 lunges (each leg)
Day Eleven: Rest
Day Twelve: 15 crunches, 10 leg lifts
Day Thirteen: 20 leg lifts, 20 sit-ups
Day Fourteen: 15 minutes jogging in place
Day Fifteen: 10 lunges (each leg), 60 JJs
Day Sixteen: Rest
Day Seventeen: 20 leg lifts, 10 toe-touches
Day Eighteen: 5 minute jog, 15 toe-touches, 10 lunges
Day Nineteen: 20 lunges, 10 toe-touches
Day Twenty: 10 lunges, 10 sit-ups, 20 JJs

If you would like a prettier version of this to print out for yourself, feel free to visit my "Getting in Shape" board on Pinterest, or visit the original poster in the link mentioned above.

Sure, to you veteran work-outers, this may not seem very hard, but man my shoulders were sore after the first day of doing those jumping jacks. I sometimes wonder if I'm doing my crunches right because I haven't felt really any pain in my core, but maybe that's a good thing...? After I get done with this plan, I'm going to take a day of rest, and then move onto her Level One Exercise Plan. I like these because they're fairly simple and I don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to do them. I can actually do all of them in the comfort of my own living room. Yay!

And here is the embarassing part, my "Before" pictures. I hate taking body pictures of myself, and even more, I hate putting them up on the Internet. But, I think that if I do this, then it will really show me how much of an improvement I'm making, even when I feel like I'm not making any. So...without further ado....Shiloh's

Before Pictures:

Front shot
Side shot

Sorry for the bad shots. I don't have a full length mirror so I kinda had to work with what I had. But you get the jist of it, I hope. Main problem areas for me are my upper arms and the whole tummy area. But, hopefully, those will be blasted away in the future.

I think I have babbled on enough about me, so, my loyal readers, what about you? Are you on your own weight loss journey, or are you thinking of starting one up? I hope that by me sharing mine with you (all the ups and downs included) that it will make you think about starting one yourself, if the need is there.

Until next time!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Healthy Eating

I need to get into shape. Okay, so I've made this statement several times before, but I really need to get on the ball of this. Not only because it would be awesome to have a hott rockin' bod, but it's a major health reason for me as well. On one side of my family, heart disease is the main issue, while on both sides, diabetes is a problem. It's not just for me anymore, I have a kid I have to watch out for. Soon she'll be cooking with me, and I want to teach her healthy eating habits, not just eat whatever you want whenever. Maybe she'll get lucky and have Dylan's energy and metabolism.

My overall goal is to drop from 192 lbs to 135 pounds. That sounds like a ton, and it is, but if I just do it 10 lbs at a time, then it may be easier. I've been on diets before, but I really need to do a whole life change. There are some things which I have been doing for awhile which have helped me be a tad bit healthier, such as using low-fat margarine instead of butter (I don't ever remember buying butter since, like, ever), eating whole wheat bread, using ground turkey instead of ground beef in recipes, and trying to get as much low-fat stuff as possible.

I think one thing I really need to do is eat more fruits and veggies. As it is now, I barely eat any, so that's one thing I really need to change. I just went grocery shopping today and bought some yellow squash, frozen blueberries, and some red potatoes. Not a whole lot, granted, but in my opinion, it's a step in the right direction.

Another thing I really need to work on is doing some sort of exercise. I hate exercise, so I think this will be the hardest thing for me. I think running/jogging will be out of the picture for awhile, because 1) I hate running for anything and 2) because of my weight, it puts a lot of strain on my joints and I think it's doing more harm than good. There's some exercises I've found on Pinterest which I think I may try and start off with in addition with maybe walking a bit with Lucy. She seems to enjoy them, but we may hold off until this extreme heat wave passes us.

I'll still be posting recipes and the like, but I'm going to try and post healthy ones or ones that I've adapted as healthy. I need to stick to serving sizes, as that's another down-fall for me. Hopefully some of you readers will find this helpful and maybe we can walk on this journey together. Feel free to contact me by either commenting or by e-mailing me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Long Time No See

It's been awhile since I've been on here, but I have good reasons! First I've been busy with Lu. Every time I sat down at the computer and tried to put in an entry, she would whine or get me distracted somehow.

Secondly, my laptop power cord died, so we had to get another one. When we finally got it, it wouldn't work. I wasn't sure if it was the cord or my computer. I had been getting blue screens and I was going to get it checked out but kept putting it off. So I finally brought in yesterday only to find out the cord worked just fine, it was my motherboard that died. *le sigh*

So here I am on the Blogger app on my phone updating ya'll on my somewhat boring life. I'm going to try to post from here more often, but I would much prefer to do it on a computer. Oh well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

From time to time, I get a craving for chicken tacos. Usually when we have taco night at my house, I cook up a pound of ground beef (for Dylan) and a pound of ground turkey (for me). That's good and all, but sometimes what I really want is a chicken taco. For some reason, I love fresh ingredients on my chicken tacos, so that's even more of a plus. But, alas, I have never really found a really good way to make taco-seasoned chicken. I did it really well once, but I used canned chicken, and found it more difficult to do with fresh chicken breasts.

So, imagine my amazement when, one day, I was surfing on Pinterest and found a recipe for chicken tacos. It only used three ingredients and was cooked in the crockpot. I followed the link and it lead me here. I decided to put it on my constantly-growing "cook this" list. Let, lemme give you the recipe and then I'll talk more about it. :)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 16 oz jar of salsa
Dump everything into a crock pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.

My Take
Oh. My. Goodness. These were soooo easy and soooo amazing. I actually eyeballed everything as I only had 3 (albeit quite large) chicken breasts. That and I have one of those large taco seasoning jars, so I never buy the packets. I cooked it on low for 5 hours and then shredded the chicken and let it cook for another hour, letting the flavoring get in the chicken really well.

I actually just finished off 2 tacos and am thinking of going back for seconds. I may also make some tortilla soup with the leftovers or maybe make my Mexican casserole again but this time with chicken! Oh the possibilities! I haven't used my crockpot that much in the past, but that is totally going to change. :)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stuff my face with more of this wonderful stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tie-Dye Fruity Cupcakes

This year for Easter, I decided that I wanted to make some kind of dessert, but I didn't want to do something huge and difficult, but I wanted it to look "springy".That's when I came across these cute little cupcakes. They were yummy looking, and they didn't seem too hard to make. I was a little bit curious as to how they would taste.

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup dry lemon Jell-o (about half a package)
  • 1/4 cup dry lime Jell-o
  • 1/4 cup dry strawberry Jell-o
  • 1 container (16 oz) ready to spread vanilla frosting

  • Prepare cake batter as directed on package; divide evenly into 3 bowls. 
  • Stir different flavor dry gelatin mix into batter in each bowl. Alternately spoon batters into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, adding about 2 Tbsp. of each batter to each cup. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool completely.
  • Frost cupcakes with frosting.

Do you know how hard it is to cut a cupcake
to make it look pretty?

My Take

These turned out even better than I expected. The flavors went really well together, although the lime seemed to overwhelm the other flavors. I put whipped vanilla frosting on top and dyed some coconut flakes green to make it look like grass. Yay for simple decorations!

I will definitely make these again in the future. I'm kind of curious to try other flavors, such as a triple berry with strawberry, rapsberry, and that blue one.  One other variation they say to do is to top the cupcakes with Cool Whip and sprinkle the remaining Jell-o. I'm going to have to try that one sometime as well.

So, lemme know if you try this, or if you try it with other flavors. Feel free to leave a comment! :)