Sunday, March 31, 2013

April's Super Healthy Meal Plan

Years and years ago I decided I was going to get in shape. Now, I will say exercise has never been an issue for me. I love to walk, I love to run (have done several half marathons), I've completed P90X and Insanity and recently took up learning to pole dance. However, eating healthy, truly healthy, has always been my downfall. I love things that are bad for me. I love greasy hot dogs, greasy burgers, ooey gooey chocolate treats. You name it if it is bad for me it is probably on my list of favorite foods.

However, as of late, these foods don’t like me. I have a ton of belly fat building up. Most people don’t notice but I know it is there and it is bothering me. Not to mention the headaches I get from refined sugar and all that icky crap. Plus the lethargy, stomach aches, etc. So, starting today I dove into my Insanity & P90X nutrition books and I put together a meal plan for April that consists of five meals a day. It says that my calorie intake should be somewhere around 1700 calories. However, I will be doing Insanity and training for a half marathon, so I think I may need to up what I eat, but we will see. For now I have ten pounds I gained over the winter sadly (that is what happens when you have the amazing Blenz Coffee shop two blocks from your apartment). So, once I lose that & have my body fat percentage back to where it was when we left for vacation over the summer I will up my calorie intake as needed to maintain.

So, here is my very healthy monthly Dinner meal plan (there are variations for picky hubby & daughter):


M&C Regular w/ Corn (C: GB)
K: Turkey
& Green Beans
Brown Rice Bowl
(M: Chicken & Rice w/ Corn)
Lean Steak with broccoli/Corn
Citrus baked chicken and glazed carrots
M&C: Regular
K: Cauliflower
All: Salad
M&C: Regular
Kate: Seafood Marinara &WW Pasta
All: Salad
Teriyaki chicken with glazed carrots
Tacos/turkey rice bowl
Omelets with English muffin and diced fruit
Beef/turkey sliders and green beans/corn
Smorgasboard of leftovers
Dinner at black & blue with friends: Kate-salmon & steamed broccoli (is the plan this place has an amazing wellington so I may forego all food just to get it that day LOL)
Out to eat with friends in town: get white fish or sides of veggies and a sweet potato
Steak and broccoli/corn
Crockpot rotisserie chicken/salad/apple slices
Chicken Quesadillas (with WW tortillas)/black beans/salad
Island Pork Tenderloin with salad
Chicken Sliders with salad and pear slices
WW Pasta and Veggies/chicken alfredo
Steak & veggies (whatever is leftover could be warm veg’s or salad)
Citrus baked chicken with glazed carrots
Mango/ginger pork tenderloin with rice/green beans
Honey-chile chicken breasts with snap peas/corn
Tacos/veggie tacos with salad/corn
Turkey breast and gravy/green beans/soup
Pizza burgers and salad (reg/turkey)
Steak with any leftover veggies
Rotisserie crockpot chicken with salad/apple
Soup & pulled chicken sliders and apple
Chicken and cheese Omelets with English muffin

Grocery List:
Ground Beef (comes in a 5 lb package)
Ground Turkey (I hope they have this)
Pork Tenderloin (comes with 3 in a package)
Chicken Breasts (2 bags comes with giant breasts [that sounds so wrong lol])
Whole chicken (they come 3 to a pack there)
Bananas (2 big bunches, one really ripe and freeze for smoothies
Carrots (they have a giant bag that makes them nice for juicing)
Top round steak (4)
Skirt Steak (2)
Red leaf lettuce
Bag of spinach (I know I shouldn’t buy the bags but I despise washing & drying the lettuce lol)
White rice
Tomatos (a few bunches to juice for juice & making marinara sauce)
Urban Fare
Meyer Lemons (juice two as soon as I get home to brush on sliced apples)
So, that is my dinner menu. Breakfasts, lunches and snacks I plan by the week but I typically pick 2-3 things I want for breakfasts/snacks and will cook those up ahead of time so I can just sort of grab and go. When I do my meal plan for each week you will see. This is going to be a very, very healthy month for us and I don’t plan on deviating. As I am calling this “slim month” all around. We are going to eat well and we are going to spend as little as possible. That means there will be no money for hot chocolates, donuts, etc. Every Sunday we sort of celebrate the day by having donuts I plan on making my super healthy vegan pumpkin donuts holes for our Sunday treat that way we don’t spend the money on crap, yet we still have a bit of a “treat”. I may even make my healthy chocolate syrup or strawberry syrup so hubby & daughter can have their flavoured milks. We will see though.  
As the month goes on when I post my weekly meal plan complete with breakfasts, lunches and dinners I will post recipes as well. Most of my meals will be around 200-300 calories but I eat every 2-3 hours so it works well. J

Happy Spring Y’all!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Meal & Fitness Planning

So, I've already talked to everyone about monthly meal planning. This is key to fitness, I think. Since after all abs are made in the kitchen! So, here is my monthly meal plan for April:

So, in my house my husband is a very, very, very picky eater! So, I often have to cook the same meal but a "regular" version for hubby and a "healthy" version for me and our daughter. I'll break that down a bit more on Sunday when I do my weekly meal plan with recipes.

Now, meal planning isn't the only important planning you should do for a month. It is important to plan your workouts. Whether you do it for a week at a time or a month at a time you should have a plan! I learned this when doing P90X and Insanity. Here is my workout schedule for the month of April:

Now, it just so happens I am actually restarting Insanity this week along with training for a half marathon. A workout schedule this rigorous is not for everyone. Please consult a physician before starting any sort of workout regimen. I have one down day during the week where I will be doing cardio recovery (which is a yoga-ish workout, not very intense) and running a fast hill run by our house. Sunday's are my off day. I can choose to do nothing on this day but, I typically don't because I usually need a good stretch after six days of hardcore workouts. So, Sunday's I will either go to the local Lulu Lemon to take them up on their free yoga offerings or I will get out the P90X stretch DVD and stretch my little heart out. There are also a lot of stretching video's on YouTube, just remember to stretch to keep your joints limber!

How to fit in a workout? Do you often find yourself saying you can't workout because you don't have time? Well, it is time to put the excuses to bed. Think about how many hours you spend watching TV a night, how many hours do you spend reading a night, how many hours do you spend having your evening wine? Well, if you took just one of those hours you could get in a workout. Or how many hours do you wake up before having to go to school/work/get the kids ready for the day and just whittle the time away drinking coffee and talking on the phone??? That is the time you could fit in a workout. The bottom line is if it means a lot to you you will figure out how to fit it in. For me it is extremely important. I took this last week off and I have been exhausted and not feeling well. But, when I do workout I have tons of energy, I get more done during the day, and am overall much more alert. 

So, what is your favorite workout? Mine is a run on a hot, hot day!!! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Farewell. Yes, farewell. Farewell to junk. I figure while I am getting rid of junk in my house and making it the wonderful, glorious home we want I figure I will get rid of the junk in my fridge and pantry too! So, years ago we cut out processed foods and started eating a healthier diet. At the beginning of 2012, when hubby was finally on board we cut out the junk of eating out too. We literally almost didn't eat out at all unless we could go somewhere that had local, healthy options. Well, when we moved in July of 2012 somehow we lost track of what we wanted in our health and have been trying lots of new, delicious restaurants near us and have been late night snacking on our favorite desserts! Not good people, not good. Five nights a week of oat fudge bars, nanaimo bars, the best Belgian hot chocolate you will ever drink, poutine, etc., is not good for us. So, after gaining some unnecessary weight we just finished up all the junk in the house (yes, I know most people would toss it but I cannot waste food, I just can't), and are ready to start back on our delicious food journey.

When we first went on our food journey we cut out all sugar and sugar substitutes and we are doing the same again. Normally we only use stevia, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raw honey, and agave. However, for the next 30 days we won't be eating any extra sugar aside from that which comes in fruit and veggies. This is very, very hard to do but it can be done (and should) be done for your health. 

So, over the next 30 days my family will be following a high protein, low sugar diet. Now what can we eat you ask yourself??? LOTS of things! Tomorrow I will post my April dinner meal plan. Thirty days of clean, dinners. 

Our goal for the month is to concentrate on fueling our bodies to get us through the day, not eat to just eat to eat. 

(Img credit:

Remember fueling is good, junk is bad! I will see you all tomorrow with an amazing dinner menu!!! 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nurse, dietician, etc I am just an everyday person looking to get healthy and share my ideas with the world. Before changing your diet make sure to consult with your doctor first to make sure you find the right eating plan for you!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easy Saturday Lunch

Campbell's Vegetarian Veggie Soup (my absolute favorite soup of all time!), and English muffin pizzas! Just toast up an English muffin top it with some tomato paste & mozzarella cheese & put back under the broiler until melted!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Spring

I know I am about two days late but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Spring! I know we are exited to get some beautiful weather up here!! It's been sunny until very late the last couple of days, then today when out running errands we saw these beautiful daffodils blooming! I can't wait for warmer weather! Until then I am still enjoying the comfort of my Uggs! ;)

How is spring coming along where you are? What are you most looking forward to doing when the weather warms up?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Organizing the house: Master Bathroom

So, many, many months ago I joined an awesome organizing challenge on A Bowl Full of Lemons. It was the Home Organization 101.  Winter was busy for us and I was adjusting to all the rain up here in Vancouver and just couldn't get motivated. So I didn't do a whole lot. But, in January they decided to "revisit" the organizing so I jumped right in. However, before I go into my Master Bathroom let me give you some background....

Now, growing up I was a very, very organized person. Heck, my best friend and I when we would get bored would reorganize my drawers! How lame right?! Well, I got married at 18, had a baby at 19. Hubby was working full time as was I, and we were both going to school full time! That left the house typically neglected. It was never a pig sty, (well, okay, sometimes it was lol), but eventually it would get picked up. It was organized somewhat, never to my full standards though and it was always clean "enough". Well, slowly but surely as this hectic schedule became the norm we fell into a routine with cleaning and organizing. Well, about two years ago when we were on our, I think, 7th move across country I finally told hubby that I would find a job if after a year we decided to stay where we were, well that didn't happen so we moved again. So, I am on my second year of staying home and I am more and more perfecting my home. I am planning on going back to work soon but want my home to be "perfect" before I do and have a full on system in place so the house practically takes care of itself. This is where the Home Organization 101 comes in. I am a procrastinator by nature, but, if someone gives me a schedule or I get sick of it I'll take care of it. So, Toni, over at A Bowl Full of Lemons gave me a schedule. I have adjusted the schedule to my needs as I have areas that I felt were more needy at the beginning than at the end. I chose to showcase my master bathroom today because I just did it yesterday and I felt it was a beautiful transformation. Plus, I have a super fun tutorial!

So, I started with my tub. I made a paste of baking soda and vinegar and I scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed my grout. It is now a beautiful off white and matches the tile again, no mold or mildew to be found! Second, I took a little (maybe an inch or so) of rubbing alcohol and water (maybe 4 or 5 inches of water) and scrubbed the really scummy areas of tile to get the soap scum off. It worked like a charm, then I scrubbed the tub and got rid of any old razors and bottles. Then, I moved on and emptied and cleaned the trashcan (using the alcohol and water mixture here to disinfect). Then, I sprinkled some baking soda in the toilet with about 20 drops of tea tree oil and then sprayed it with some vinegar, let it bubble and scrubbed. Then, I sprayed down the toilet with my homemade all purpose spray (equal parts vinegar, water, 10 drop of lavender essential oil and 4 drops of tea tree oil). Then I moved over to the sink and put away all the toiletries organizing under the sink as I went (wiping down all the bottles and making sure all the first aid stuff was together). I then wiped that down with my homemade grout cleaner (1/4 teaspoon Dr Bronner's, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol and 2.5 cups of water, I also added a few drops of lavender essential oil).
Then, it was time to organize the make up. I love make up. It is fun for me to play with it so I have quite a bit. I went through it all and took out my brushes and set them aside (you do this too because I have an awesome fast and easy tutorial at the end here). Then I wiped down all my make up getting rid of really old stuff and stuff I didn't like (if you use a lot of MAC then save those pods because you can turn them in for a free lipstick or a free eye shadow when you have 6). I then put it back in the storage container I use grouped by like items.

Here are a few pictures:

Now, here is the amazing brush cleaning tutorial.

Small bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (you can use any kind here I had the unscented one on hand so it is what I used)
Your dirty brushes

Fill your up about an inch or two from the bottom with warmish water, then add about 20-30 drops of Dr. Bronners. Take the back of one of your longer brushes and stir it to get the soap really mixed up in the water. Then, wet one of your brush a bit with warmish water then dip in the soapy water. Trace it back and forth on your palm. Do this until the water runs clear. You may have to do this a couple of times if you have a pretty dirty brush or if you haven't cleaned your brushes in a long time. Now, if you have a brush that has never been cleaned, fear not I have a short cut for you! Simply squeeze some Dr. Bronner's directly on your palm. Wet the brush a bit then rub directly in the liquid soap. Your palm will turn colors simply run your palm under the water, do the same with the brush and repeat until it is completely clean. (The single picture on the right, if you look on the left was completely pink it hadn't been washed in YEARS, it took 3 passes through the straight Dr. Bronner's, but it is 100% white again!) My brushes and my daughter's brushes look brand new! Just check out the pictures:
So, that is all I have for you today! Try the gentle brush cleaner and let me know how it works for you!!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mash up!

Howdy y'all!!!

So today's post will sort of be a mash up of several different things. Really not much rhyme or reason to any of it. At the end though I will post two recipes for the upcoming Easter festivities.

The first thing I wanted to say was why I stared this blog. I'm not much of a writer but as I get older I'm enjoying it more and more. Second, I have a lot of stuff to say and a lot of stuff to share but not many people to share it with in my real life since I live so far away from all my close family and friends. I annoy them daily with the stuff I am constantly working on (which I don't even share wall of it, just think how annoyed they'd be then! Ha!). So, I figured since I feel like I have a lot of good ideas and I'm always trying a lot of things out I'd take my rumblings to the good people of the Internet. :P

We are on Spring Break here is amazing Vancouver, BC. It is two weeks long! It's rare that a district has a break that long. Luckily we live in a great city so there is lots of fun stuff to do. The first thing we did last Friday was my daughter and I had a girls night. We did dinner at Red Robin:

A bit if shopping at Forever 21 (I'll post about my findings there later this week), then we went to see "Oz the Great and Powerful". The movie was great! I've never read the books but I Feel like it explained the beginnings of the Wizard quite well! The teen enjoyed it too so we were both happy at the end of the night!

Sunday consisted of our weekly donut ritual:

Tim Hortons is a great little donut place that truly gives us a tasty treat when we want it! It's very, very similar to Dunkin' Donuts in the states.

Monday was spent at Vancouver's largest indoor carnival. It's located at BC Place (Roger's Arena). For a spectator tickets were just $6 and for an all you can ride pass for a whole day was only $29. Not too bad. There were quite a few rides there (admittedly not as many as I thought there would be) but the teenager didn't seem to notice. Her and her little friend stayed from 10 am to 4:30pm. Around 11am there was a bit of a puking incident but she quickly recovered. Haha! They have tons of games there and quite a few things for the little ones to do as well. With your pass as long as you get a stamp you can come and go all day. I recommend taking lunch off site as it will most likely be healthier and cheaper. A hot dog runs about $5.50 so beware. It is totally worth checking out though!

Now, for the good stuff! I have two super yummy recipes to share with y'all!

The first is a delicious shell topping!

Soon I hope to make this even healthier by creating one with our chocolate chips but this was what I had on hand so it's what I used.

Shell Ice Cream Topping

1/2 cup coconut oil (make sure it's almost like a soft butter consistency; not hard but not liquid)
1.25 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet is best)

Combine both ingredients in a microwaveable safe dish

Microwave on high at 30 second intervals until smooth. I think mine only took 60 seconds. Pour in jar the top your favorite ice cream with it! It will create a great shell just like the stuff you buy!
<-----See!!! Shell!!! So fun!!!!

****Note: I am storing mine in the fridge. When we need to use it we just reheat it at 30 second intervals with the lid off the jar until it is pourable.

The second recipe is a decadent one! It came from a YouTube video my daughter found. We tweaked the recipe for what we had on hand though.

Robin's Egg Milkshake
Yields one ver thick large shake or two smaller shakes.

2 cups of your favorite chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup of milk
A handful of Robin's Eggs Easter Candy (we couldn't find Robins Eggs up here in Canada so we used Hershey's brand Candy eggs they have a colored candy coating on the outside and milk chocolate inside).
Handful of ice
Whipped cream
Extra eggs for garnishing
Spring themed sprinkles

In a blender combine ice cream, milk, handful of robins eggs, and ice. Blend on high until combined. Pour into one large glass or two smaller glasses. Top with whipped cream. In bag add about 4 robins eggs, using a rolling pin lightly squish them. Pour atop the whipped cream. Add sprinkles. Drink up!

We are loving the coming of spring! What is your favorite part of spring?

Also, et me know if you try these two treats!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Getting the house together: Meal Planning, part 2

     So, it has come to my attention that I am a horrendous blogger. I have told myself for years that I really want to blog and write about my everyday life, experiences, projects, etc., yet I don’t really take action on it. So, my goal for this week is to write a blog post every single day. My secondary goal is to get that blog post up in the morning!  But, we’ll take that one in stride; so far it isn’t going so well. ;)
Anyhow, I am continuing to focus on becoming increasingly more organized around the house. Baby steps I tell myself. So, the last post I did was about my monthly meal planning. I do the big one for dinners so I can make sure that when I do my monthly Costco trip I get enough protein for all my meals. I try to go to Costco just once a month as you can rarely get out of that place for less than $100 and if I go more than once I can easily blow my whole grocery budget!

     So, quickly, go print off one of the weekly meal planning sheets from my last post, or simply grab a sheet of notebook paper & label it “Meals: Week of March 18-24, 2013”. Then, come right back….

     ….WELCOME BACK! Ok, so I like to write down each date, then label the lines B, L (this gets 3 separate lines labeled K, M, C for each one of us as we don’t often all eat the same thing for this meal), D (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner…duh.) I fill in breakfasts first. My method for this is to decide on two rotatable things to make ahead so there is little work to be done in the morning.  Then, I fill in my dinner from my monthly menu (changing things around where needed as when I made that menu I wasn’t sure what my come up, so be flexible people, it’s just foodJ). Once I fill in the dinners I then evaluate how much leftovers 

     I will have and I assign those as lunches for one or more of the three of us, sometimes using those leftovers to make a completely new meal as hubby is a slight bit opposed to leftovers.
So, here it goes, my step-by-step (does anyone else here New Kids on the Block here) instructions:

  •   Paper  and pen
  •  Monthly dinner menu (if you made one)
  •   Evaluate what is in your freezer and pantry
  • Write down those meals!
  • Go to the grocery store if need be
  • Prep/portion out that food so most of the work is already done for you!
  • Freeze anything that you are afraid may go bad before you can use it.

So, here is my menu for the week:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip pancakes (tripled & ones we won’t use this week frozen in freezer bags).
Tuesday, Thursday: English muffin breakfast sandwiches (premade, wrapped in foil, frozen).
Saturday: Omlette’s , bacon
Sunday: Donuts, coffee

*This week is a bit different for us as my daughter is on Spring Break

Monday: K, C: Leftover smorgasbord; use up all leftovers so nothing is wasted; M: Sausage coins, corn, apple
Tuesday: K,C: Shredded tofu and black bean salad with tortilla chips; M: Blackened chicken breast with bacon & cheese potato coins.
Wednesday: K, C: Teriyaki tofu ramen; M: Lunch out
Thursday: K, C: Picnic lunch at Capilano Suspension Bridge: almond butter and jelly sandwiches on homemade flax bread, apples, grapes, water; M: Leftover spaghetti and salad
Friday: K, C: Leftover smorgasbord; M: Lunch Out
Saturday: Mini Pizzas and salad
Sunday:Snack on leftovers, breakfast will be big and late so make it light.

Monday:  Soup and Quesadillas
Tuesday: Spaghetti (double recipe to freeze for later meals), salad, homemade garlic cheese bread
Wednesday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice and mixed veggies (
Thursday: Honey apple pork loin with ‘taters  (
Friday: Cheese fondue with steak bites, leftover garlic bread, veggies, etc. (this is just a cheese from the local grocery store made for fondue.)
Saturday:  Chicken wings from Safeway with macaroni and cheese and broccoli
Sunday: Steak quesadillas with salad and corn (I just use steak meat meant for stir frying or slice up a skirt steak & cook until almost done then add 4T of homemade taco seasoning with 2/3 cup of water or a pack of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning and cook until done, then put in quesadilla with some cheese & cook in pan until quesadilla is brown on both sides.)

This is my menu for the week.  I’ve provided links where possible and recipes when used. Many times I don’t use recipes I just sort of “wing –it”.
What are some of your family’s favourite meals? Do you always use a recipe or do you “wing-it” like I do?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting the house together: Meal Planning

Happy March 1st, Everyone!!! Who can believe two months of 2013 have flown by already?! Not me, that is for sure! So, coming up this month is St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break for my (not so) little, and Easter; tons will be happening! So, I’d like to start the month with my meal plan.

Why meal plan? Meal planning helps you feel organized and like you have your crap together. Bottom line; when nothing else is going right, at least you have a plan, some kind of plan. This plan can bring your family together at the end of the day & bring peace & joy to your home.

I try to plan one month at a time. If you are new to meal planning this will be a huge undertaking, it’s a huge undertaking for me & I've been meal planning for 13 years now! So, if you are new to menu planning sit down right now & plan next week’s meals.  Try & include using up leftovers as a new meal or for lunches, & make sure to account for going out to eat if that is something your family enjoys once or twice a week. We try and eat out just once or twice a month, but those are for dietary reasons. Also, when planning your meals look at your schedule. What do you have going on this week? For us we do something easy on Mondays as my daughter has an evening activity. Friday I like for us to try and do a family movie night so I try and do something everyone can customize. Saturday’s are our typical date night, I try to do something light on those days so if we want to get a late night snack or dessert we feel like we have the calories left to do that!
So, the first thing I do is print off a month calendar (I just google whatever month & year it is then print off a free one); or you can print off a weekly menu planner. Here are some of my favorites:


Month: (this is the one I used)

So, now that you have found your ideal monthly calendar and/or  weekly calendar (I do print 4 weekly planners of the second one as I like to be able to plan out lunches & snacks as well, but I do that weekly not monthly) let’s see what my menu looks like!

So, what I did was took a look at Friday’s planned what movies we would watch and planned things that would be fairly easy & customizable. That way we are spending Friday after a long week at work as a family. They are also things that are easy to make a lot of in case the kid decides she wants to have a friend spend the night. I also planned for two dinner’s out the 9th (which now that I think about it will change to another day due to parent/teacher conferences). Also, I planned to eat out on Easter because I am trying to eat very healthy this month & I love to make ham as fattening as possible so I figure if we go to a nice brunch I can have some salmon. I have something special planned for St. Patty’s Day on the 17th . I also plan to make something cute & fun for Dr. Seuss’s birthday tomorrow!  Finally, the last two weeks of the month are Spring Break so we have easy things planned that can be prepared ahead then thrown in the oven or thrown in the crockpot. As after a long day of hiking, ropes courses, or looking at museum’s the last thing I want to do is hang out in the kitchen!

So, I hope this will get you started on your new menu planning adventure! On Sunday I will share with you my Menu for the upcoming week as well as my “Sunday Plan” for premaking snacks, breakfasts, as well as prepping vegetables and what not for the upcoming meals!

Have a great weekend!