Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Favorite New Gluten Free Product Finds

With the DC Gluten Free Expo approaching, it got me thinking about all of the new gluten free products that have popped up with the diet's popularity (which can be both a blessing, and a curse).

Although I try to eat foods that are naturally gluten free, since so many gluten free substitute items are filled with butter, sugar and other additives, there are some things, you have to find gluten free versions of, and here are some that I recently have been loving.

Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Snacks

Eighty Calories (two Weight Watchers points) and seriously sharp. These pack a flavor kick most little cheese snacks don't and are delicious. We go through a bag of these pretty quickly, as both Ben and I pack one in our lunch each day.
Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza

Finally!! The best gluten free frozen pizza EVERRRRRRRR. It beats pizza I've had at many restaurants. The price may make someone's eyes bulge ($9.99 at Target and Wegmans), but you would pay more at a restaurant, and now if we need a quick meal, everyone else can have their gluten filled pizza, while I make this gluten free one. They also offer a personal size pizza as well. I also bake it on a cookie sheet to avoid cross contamination. Austin has eaten this pizza too and loves it! Right now, it comes in two varieties: Cheese and Pepperoni.

Chex Gluten Free Granola 

Delicious, Delicious, Delicious. I love this stuff. Like most granolas, you have to limit your serving size, but sprinkling this in a little yogurt is absolutely wonderful, and then the bag goes a long way. I am always impressed with General Mill's gluten free offerings, including this one. Between the Chex cereals, oatmeals, and Nature Valley bars, I love a main stream company that has embraced gluten free. They make being celiac a little bit easier!

Stonyfield Organic Greek and Chia Yogurt

This yogurt is sooooo good! I've found it at Whole Foods and Target, and I love the Red Berries flavor (especially love it topped with a little GF Chex Granola noted above). It tastes great and fills you up, and I'm trying not to buy TOO much of it so I over eat it and get sick of it, but I've been eating it a lot lately!

Yasso Sea Salt Caramel Greek Yogurt Candy Bars

I've been looking for these since I saw the new variety of flavors on Yasso's website, and recently found them at Target. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint! Completely delicious, four Weight Watchers Points, and are an awesome treat. It's hard to not eat one every night!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nine Months In vs. Nine Months Out: Baby Weight Loss Update

Today marks nine months since Everett came into our lives. Nine months old is always seen as significant in my eyes, because that's how long it takes for your baby to grow inside of you and your body to change in preparation for their birth, so how does your baby grow and your body adapt to "normal" life after their birth?

On Everett's side of things, he is growing beautifully. He loves table food, and is an eating machine.

He wants to crawl very badly, and babbles a lot.


He is still not the best sleeper, but a vast improvement from a few months ago before he had ear tubes (Long story short: he had constant fluid on his ears and was in pain while laying down, thus making sleep in his crib very difficult. Thank goodness for the Rock and Play Sleeper!!)

He has the sweetest laugh and we are so fortunate to have such a loving and strong little boy!

On my end, dare I say it, that I'm below my pre-baby weight?! I started out right at 150 pounds even when I got pregnant, I topped out at 198 pounds at delivery and now sit at around 146 pounds depending on the day. I felt so great this pregnancy, being more active and eating better, but still packed on nearly as much weight as last time.

34+ Weeks and Getting In a Workout

I am very happy with where my body stands today, but I am for sure still not perfect by any means. As I've said before, there are parts of my body that will never be the same. EVER. Stretch marks that no cream during or after pregnancy can fix, and the way things lay is just not the same as pre-children.

I give credit for helping me be healthy to a lot of food planning and Weight Watchers.

I try to pack my lunches for work on Sunday, so that I can have an easy grab and go during the week and no excuse to eat out. I also really don't have time to eat out while I'm in the office, so I need to pack a lunch out of that necessity as well.
Recent Lunch Packing, but no, this is not all I ate at work that day or I would be starving!
I also try to cook ahead when I can, browning meat and chopping veggies, or using a freezer meal I've made ahead of time.

I love being active, so that really helps. Although I constantly remind myself that you can't out run a bad diet, and that it's 80% food, 20% workouts.

I workout two days a week during my lunch break at work (kudos for office wellness programs that offer a free gym and free classes, it makes me love coming to the office). I also run two-three days a week. The workouts are the best endorphin high, and give me a chance to catch up with friends, so that makes them even more motivating to complete.

Recent Pre-Run Group Photo, Courtesy of Deb Runs
So there you have it, the bottom line is, I feel good, and that's all that matters. And when I say I "feel good," I mean as good as a person who is constantly a couple hours short on sleep for the week, a few home projects behind and trying my best to not always be 15 minutes late...but talk to me about all that in about 20 years! ;)

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Monday, April 27, 2015

April in a Nutshell

April has gone by in a flash so far, can it really nearly be over? I feel like this month was full of busy weeks, and packed weekends, and May is looking pretty similar as well.

We started the month by traveling to North Carolina for Easter to spend the holiday with Ben's sister's family. We had a great time, and the boys loved spending time with their cousins. Austin enjoyed his treats and snacks from the Easter bunny for weeks, and both boys enjoyed the toys they received.

Little Traveler
A and E were troopers on the car ride, including when we ran out of water to make Everett formula and he got pretty hungry while we were stuck in a huge traffic jam on the way back. I ended up climbing in the back seat and feeding him puffs one by one to satisfy him, and then grabbed a bottle of water from our friend Glen who had Cooper for the weekend when we stopped to pick him up on the way home. He was much happier once I started feeding him his bottle.

Ben and I also ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in D.C. I've ran the Ten Mile two years ago (recap here) and walked the 5K in 2012 while pregnant with Austin. This was the first year the peak bloom lined up with the race though, and man was it beautiful. Luckily my allergies were not completely in full bloom as well during the race (they held off to really kick my butt until a few days after race day, thankfully), so I could truly enjoy the views.

The the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, along with the Marine Corp Marathon and 10K, are continuously hailed as DC's best road racers, and I think this race in particular should be on every runner's must do list.

Awesome Finishers Medal

I ran it with the friends I trained with, while Ben ran it solo.

Posing with "President Wilson" mid-race with Khairul and Keri

Although Ben and I didn't run it together since our paces just don't mesh well, it was still a fun goal to both be working towards. It was great to be together both before and after the race as well, doing something just us and other adults, something that doesn't happen very often these days.

Post Race Smiles on the Metro
This month has also been filled with home improvement projects, major spring cleaning, baby birthday parties, a few delicious meals out (La Sandia and Firefly) and some killer bootcamp and spin workouts.

I've also picked this up from America's Test Kitchen:

I'm looking forward to diving further into gluten free baking with their guidance, as I've never really been very good at it.

I'm loving the longer days, the increased heat and sunshine and looking forward to a fun summer ahead. I'm making a list of summer goals, much like I did a few years ago, for things I want to do, and things we want to do as a family, and will publish that in the next few weeks. If you have any suggestions for things we must do this summer--let me know!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

What We Ate for Dinner, Week of March 23

I'm taking a page from one of my favorite bloggers, Carrots 'n Cake, and going to randomly do a post on what we ate for dinner the week before. I love when she does hers, because it gives me new dinner ideas, and is a fun way to look at how you're balancing out your diet for the week.

Monday: Skinny Taste Turkey Chili Taco Soup and Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread
This recipe is easy, and delicious. The leftovers freeze well in individual containers for easy on the go lunches (as pictured below later in the week), its full of delicious flavor and keeps you full.
I am obsessed withe the Krusteaz Gluten Free Corn Bread. It's the best Gluten Free cornbread mix I've found (even better than my homemade gluten free cornbread, and obviously a lot faster), but it is SO hard to find in the DC area. I actually bought three boxes when I saw it in a store in Boise when we were there in January and brought them home. I'm down to my last box, please let a store around here start stocking it soon!!


Tuesday: Grilled Turkey and Cheese, Ore-Ida Waffle Fries and Alexia Frozen Corn with Sun Dried Tomato Mix
As I work on my baby weight (update coming soon!), I've realized I really need to control the carbs I eat for dinner (and not have dessert after dinner most nights, even something little, like a Skinny Cow) if I want to succeed in losing and/or maintaining. Therefore, I just had the cheese and turkey, with a little chipotle mayo and one serving fries along with the corn.
I am SO excited that Ore-Ida's Waffle fries are now gluten free. Many varieties of their fries are gluten free, and they clearly label which ones are, so it's easy to tell, and this was the first time I saw that the Waffle Fries were when I pulled them from the freezer at Target.
The corn was meh. I thought it looked fantastic when I saw it in the freezer at Harris Teeter, but it was just not a great mix. I usually love Alexia products, so too bad, so sad.

Wednesday: Cottage Cheese Pancakes and Scrambled Eggs
Wednesday was nuts. Between terrible traffic for me getting home, forgetting to do the crock pot meal I had planned in the morning, and a sick little one that Ben had to take to the doctor, then drive back and pick up Austin for daycare, I was ready to phone it in Wednesday night. I stayed strong though and found a dinner to make based on what we had in the house, cottage cheese pancakes and scrambled eggs. Despite them being higher protein pancakes, I limited myself on them, and had two scrambled eggs with avocado, feta and ketchup to boot as well. Scrambled eggs are one of Austin's favorite foods. Random since he is such a carb addict.

Thursday: Fend for Yourself
I went running Thursday night, so the boys made a box of Annie's Mac and Cheese while I was out, and I came home and had a fruit, spinach and whey protein smoothie, and a rice cake with peanut butter. No picture of this super exciting dinner.

Friday:  The Pioneer Woman Mac and Four Cheeses, Feta and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breast and Spinach Salad
Ben's birthday dinner! I know that pasta and meat work as great fuel for me before a long run, and since I was planning to run nine miles Saturday morning, I was fine with having the extra carbs of this four cheese mac on Friday night. I lignten it up by using a mix of skim and 2% milk instead of heavy cream. It still doesn't make it healthy by any means, but its definitely not as heavy. I also made these easy chicken breasts with Hunts Diced Basil, Garlic and Oregano Tomato's and Feta. It's a copy of this Eat, Live, Run recipe, but an easier version.
I love spinach salads with Brianna's Raspberry Dressing, and Friday's had strawberries, feta, cashews and green onions mixed in as well.

We celebrated Ben's Birthday Friday night, even though it was the day before, and had a cake from Wegmans (the best grocery store everrrrrrrr). Ben had requested a white cake with buttercream frosting. His real favorite dessert is Key Lime Pie, but with me not being able to have any because of gluten, and knowing how much Austin loves cake, he went with cake.


Hope you enjoyed a typical week of eating dinner in our house; I would love to hear what you make for your dinners too!
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Things I'm Loving This Winter

Not going to lie, this winter has been ROUGH. Last winter there were some cold days and snow, but this one has been frigid. Didn't I leave the Midwest to escape this?! I'm hopeful for an early spring, as I've had to take too many runs to the treadmill recently, and taken my car to the car wash too many times to be de-salted, only to have it a white, ugly mess again within days. We've also had too many bouts with germs from kids being cooped up inside, and not enough outdoor fun. All that said, here are a few of my favorite things right now that have been helping me get through these winter months!

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

I can't use any soaps or laundry detergents with perfumes, and because of that, I've always been stuck using just bar soap, Dove Sensitive Skin being my bar of choice. Well now, Dove has an unscented free, sensitive skin body wash that I love. It's very moisturizing for winter skin and is also great for using as a shave cream.

Skinny Taste One Pot Cheesy Turkey Taco Chili Mac

This recipe is pretty easy (I use store bought taco seasoning to help with that, and only mild so it's not too spicy for little pallets) and makes a large portion for a lot of leftovers. Plus, it's an easy way to get more than just carbs into my little guys mouth, and still excite him with his favorite food, mac and cheese! The serving size is a generous cup full, so it leaves me feeling satisfied as well.

This Is Where I Leave You 

I had heard rave reviews about this book; I haven't heard as great of things about the movie (but after reading it, I know I'll see it once it's out on DVD). I just finished the book, and found it to be a great read. I loved the character development of this dysfunctional, yet loving, family. Highly recommend picking it up!

Halo Top Creamery 

This light ice cream is delicious, high in protein, and packs better nutrition facts than any other light ice cream I've tried. I like the vanilla bean a lot, either plain, or with a little nutella added on. =)

Under Armour Fly-By Headband
This headband is great for containing fly aways and staying in place. I got a questionable haircut in January with more layers than I counted on, and this headband holds them right in, without budging whether I'm running, spinning or doing bootcamp. I love the bright colors as well!

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Losing the Baby Weight, Part Two

I realized I have yet to update you guys on my work to lose the baby weight I gained during my pregnancy with Everett. The posts that I get the most "hits" on, and get e-mail responses in regards to are always about either Celiac, or baby weight loss, so I thought it only fair to keep them coming!

First, to look back, here's a recap of my weight loss after having Austin.

With my pregnancy with Everett I gained 48 pounds. So, two fewer pounds than I gained with Austin, small victories, yay! I felt so much better this pregnancy though, and moved more, ate better (but still not always great) and have felt the weight has in general come off easier. Even though I knew how long it took to feel more like "me" again weight wise after Austin, I've been harder on myself this time, wanting to lose every ounce of weight and get back into my old clothes NOW.

One Week Postpartum. Yes, I still looked that pregnant then
I started counting calories using My Fitness Pal around ten weeks postpartum. I needed a way to remind myself that four handfuls of trailmix is not power food anymore, it's gluttony, and that cookies are not the only snacks. Like always, I need accountablity and porition control monitoring in order to lose weight since weight loss for me is like it is for a lot of people, 80% what I eat, 20% exercise.

My Fitness Pal was a really helpful tool, and I loved that it synced with my FitBit for activity tracking. I did see a dip in my breast milk supply when I started counting calories, but was okay with it, because I needed to put me first in this aspect of my life, and we had to start giving Everett a formula bottle before bed anyway to help him sleep longer stretches for my sanity in that realm as well.
The boys who inspire me to stay healthy, and were worth every pound of pregnancy weight
Recently, I've been struggling with that last 7-8 pounds--I swear it's stuck to me like glue! So, I decided to rejoin my old stand by, Weight Watchers. I felt I needed to carb/protein/fiber ratio for my tracking, rather than just calories, to really kick the extra pounds to the curb. The nice thing about Weight Watchers. is that is also adds extra points to your plan if you are nursing, where as My Fitness Pal does not, so I had to account about 300 extra calories a day when I was using My Fitness Pal.

Right now, I am SO close to fitting into my old pants. I can put on one pair of jeans that have stretch in them, but most of my other jeans I still feel like a stuffed sausage in, and I don't want to stretch them out either, and then have them look frumpy when I can wear them everyday.

I've also realized how much I need a good closet revamp after being pregnant so often lately. So, I did take the leap and join Stitch Fix, like I mentioned in my last post. I know it can be pricy, even at their cheapest option, but my hope is to try it for a few months and get a few good signature pieces (like work pants, I REALLY need black work pants, I finally donated the ones I had from senior year of college).

I'd also like to set up some time with someone at Nordstrom and have them help me pick out a good pair of jeans that fits with my body. I've decided once I lose all the weight, and have kept it off for six weeks, I'll be doing this for myself as a reward.

So, stay tuned as I test the waters of my sanity while working full time, raising two kids and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to be at a happy weight!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas List 2014!

Every year I do a list of things I'm loving for the holiday season in hopes it will help inspire your wish list as well. There are always things I think would be nice to haves, but then when I'm asked what I'd like for Christmas, I usually have to rack my brain for ideas. So here are a few things I love, in no particular order!

I could get a few pair of these every year and be happy. I love them for going out of the house in winter to keep my feet warm, or for the days I work from home and am in stocking feet they are perfect for keeping my toes warm under the desk. Plus, I love the designs Smart Wool have on their socks! I am also in real need of new running socks, so those are on my list as well. I love the FitSok brand.

Also looking towards my feet, I need new winter boots. I have cute boots, even warm boots, but nothing to hold up in sleet, ice and snow, and I need them. Last winter was a hard winter for Virginia (so an average Midwest winter) and this winter is looking tough as well. I need these to shovel, play outside with my kids, and feel okay if they get salt and grime on them, because they're not for fashion purposes. That said, I think these boots are cute too--so that helps!

With little time to do quality clothes shopping, most of my clothes are from Target recently. While that's okay, I'd love a few more nice key items, and am not the greatest stylist of myself. I'd love to try Stitch Fix, where you get a monthly package of clothes picked out for you by a stylist based on your tips to them, where you can keep what you like, and return what you don't. The price of the clothes (average piece is $55) holds me back, but I know you really get what you pay for in most clothing pieces, so I'd love a gift card in order to be able to do a few months of Stitch Fix.

I watched too much Food Network on maternity leave and saw these over and over again and thought one would be awesome. I make pasta often, and this would make life so much easier, not to mention, be able to handle big batches for when I'm making doubles of dishes for freezer meals.

The past few years I haven't been a huge fan of Crate and Barrel's Christmas decor, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what they stocked this year! An Ornament Tree would be great since I can't display my breakable ornaments on our real tree, but could still put this up on a mantle or shelf and enjoy them.

This lotion is on my list every year, and usually Ben comes through with a small bottle in my stocking. I love the way it smells, and it is the only lotion that truly gets my winter dry, overly washed hands, to soften up. If you've never tried it, add it to your list! It comes in a large, and trial size bottle.

So there you have it, things I love for Holiday Season 2014. What's on your list this year??

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