Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Menu Plan

The blog's been pretty quiet as life has been really busy lately. First of all, we moved! More about that in another post. Summer is flying by, and we are trying to take advantage of it by going to the beach and lake every chance we get. We moved from the flat, treeless prairies to an area surrounded by forests and clear lakes with sandy beaches. We absolutely love the community we are in and have found a great church and have felt beyond welcomed by the people here. I would be happy to settle here, but if there's one thing I've hopefully learned, it's to hold all my plans with an open hand. In the meantime, I appreciate Jim Elliot's quote,

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

 My health has been not-so-great lately, and I finally decided to head to the doctor about it. Turns out some of the test results were a little wonky, and so I'm in the middle of going through a few more tests while waiting for a few more results to come in. It's doesn't look too serious, per say, but it will definitely mean lifestyle changes will have to be made.

Monday: Grilled Steak, Blueberry Balsamic Salad, Potatoes for everyone else

Tuesday: Grilled Salmon, Salad, Potatoes for everyone else

Wednesday: Baked Meatless Ziti

Thursday: Tandoori Chicken (on the grill), Cucumber Raita Salad, Rice

Friday: Leftvovers

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Something Simple

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Menu Plan

Embarrassingly, I fell off the Trim Healthy Mama wagon after Week 1. I really should have known better. I simply like cooking (and eating) all types of food far too much for me to succeed long-term on such a plan. I do like and use some of their ideas, but I'm back to good old strict calorie counting, portion control, and intense exercising. Though I don't love it, and I know the results will likely take longer than I hope, it's probably my best shot at long-term, sustainable success. Time will tell.

Here are my meal ideas for the next couple of weeks based on what I have on hand:

This Last Week
Monday: Swedish Meatballs, Noodles, Veggies
Tuesday: Leftovers and Pizza Bread (using sourdough bread in fridge)
Wednesday Tuna Stroganoff over Rice, Veggies
Thursday: Stuffed Pepper Casserole (modified a bit), Salad
Friday:  Pizza (using sourdough bread in fridge) & Salad
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers

Next Week (a very busy week for us)
Monday: Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata over Penne, Asparagus, Salad
Tuesday: Crockpot Beef Burgundy, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Easy Crockpot Roast (makes its own gravy), Mashed Potatoes, Veggies
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: TBD

Other Meal Ideas (Based on What I have on Hand)
Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts stuffed with Smoked Gouda, Asparagus, Baked Potatoes

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Menu Plan & Starting THM (again!)

I can hardly believe where we are in life right now. It is so interesting how God works and leads us. I can truly say that I never would have expected us to be where we are right now, but nearly 3 weeks in, and the journey has been wonderful so far. Over 2 years of praying for God's clear direction and seeing so many of our prayers answered with no and then finally a clear yes while other doors that we pursued were closed. (One door we had been pursuing was closed literally 10 minutes before our yes answer.). Details about what we are currently up to will likely follow on the blog in the future, but for now, those who know me in person are welcome to call or message me to find out more.

Also, you will likely notice Trim Health Mama (THM) friendly meals this week. I have wavered back and forth and back and forth about this. I have tried the THM way of eating before, had success, fell of the train. I had previously decided it just wasn't for me. Last summer I had a small amount of success losing a few pounds with calorie counting, low carbing, and pretty restricted portion control. However, I ended up gaining all the weight back plus ten pounds more. The reality is I'm currently at my heaviest non-pregnant weight, and I just don't feel good about where I'm at. I want to be fit and healthy and have just really struggled to figure this all out and have lasting success. I am going to try THM again, but I am making no promises for a lasting commitment or for this to be "it".

Here are my reasons for trying it again:

1) Lower-carb seems to work better for me than calorie-counting at this point in my life.  After my first was born, I had great success with strict calorie counting and exercise. I lost a lot of weight and kept it off for quite awhile (even after my 2nd was born, I lost most of my baby weight that way). After my third baby, calorie counting just hasn't seemed to work well for me anymore. Perhaps I am insulin-resistant or something... Several months ago I again tried calorie counting and lots of exercise, had minimal success, but I felt like I was very hungry all the time. When I eat the THM way, I am not terribly hungry all the time. THM is actually not low-carb, but I would consider it lower-carb as it does cut out pretty much all processed sugar, grains, and flour. Brown rice, sprouted or sourdough bread is allowed, though, in the right setting, so it is not an extreme low-carb eating plan.

2) With THM, I can eat most of my favourite foods with only a few adjustments: The biggest and hardest change for me is probably giving up sugar and taco chips. I need to get used to the sugar-substitutes again, which does take a bit of an adjustment. Truvia is my favourite on-plan substitute. I can still have pizza (just have to use reduced-fat cheese and sourdough bread). I can still make my favourite cream-based pasta sauces and will just use zucchini noodles or dreamfields low-carb pasta instead. I think if I toast a Joseph's pita, I could come up with a half-decent taco chip and salsa alternative. If that fails, there's always crispy cheese chips (literally, shredded cheese baked in mounds into a chip that is super tasty cause cheese is just awesome). A big part of THM is just rearranging the foods you eat so that the carbs and fats are separate and finding ways to make my favourite foods THM-friendly. This is doable for me....I think.

3) Buying some of the special THM items is much easier now than it used to be. THM has become so popular that they now carry their own products, which are now easily ordered online. I know they aren't necessary to have in order to follow the plan, but I'm busy and need convenience in order to have this actually work. I also now feel more at ease with spending a bit more on groceries in order to make this work and my health to improve. Sadly, simple carbs (bread, pasta, white sugar, white flour, & potatoes) are some of the cheapest groceries and dairy and vegetables (and sugar substitutes like Truvia) are more expensive. So, in my opinion, in order to make THM easy to follow, it requires more grocery money.

4) I can make nearly all our favourite meals THM-friendly for myself by simply avoiding some of the side dishes my family will enjoy and adding in a salad.

5) I'm going to allow myself some cheats once in a while. My summer will include roll kuchen. No other explanation necessary.

Here is our menu plan for the week:

Monday: Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry over Rice. I had mine over 2 packages of shiratake noodles.

Tuesday: BLT's and Potato Wedges. I will have mine in a Joseph's lavash bread wrap and have salad instead of potato wedges (I would have turnip wedges if I have them, but I don't).

Wednesday: Beef Burgundy, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, Salad (I will skip potatoes)\

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza (using sourdough bread that I will start fermenting on Tuesday)

Saturday: Tacos (I'll have mine on lavash bread wrap instead of white tortilla shell)

Friday, February 12, 2016

2015 Reflections (A Difficult Post to Write)

I've been working on this post since January, and even though it's long past the normal time to write New Years type posts, let's just say I'm normally behind on these types of things. haha. On-time birthday cards, Christmas letters/pictures, etc. has just not been my thing these past few years.
2015, especially the first half, was an extremely difficult year for me. Thankfully, the year ended much better than it began.

2015 was the year I hit rock bottom. During my last pregnancy (2013 & part of 2014), I started to feel very "off". I would sit on my bathroom floor in the dark and cry for a very long time, praying and fighting the emotions I was feeling. I just kept telling myself that this was a "normal" part of pregnancy and having 2 little kids and that once I wasn't pregnant, I would feel more normal again. I was not upfront about how dark I was truly feeling. I just kept telling myself to toughen up and stop overreacting because life with little kids is hard for everyone. I felt an incredible burden of guilt and frustration for not being "tough enough" for motherhood and figured I just needed to deal with it "like an adult." I say these things in quotations because I understand now how wrong I was in my thinking.

In a flurry of stomach-flu chaos, I gave birth in early 2014. Instead of bonding with my baby and recovering properly, I spent the first week after her birth cleaning up after the stomach flu. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life. I thought I'd feel better once i was no longer pregnant, but instead, I started to feel more off than ever before. Life changes, a baby who screamed for hours every night nearly all night for 18 months, the responsibilities that come with managing a home and caring for 3 small kids, and extreme sleep deprivation worsened the downward spiral that had begun when I was pregnant.  2014 was very, very hard, and the incredible "difficultness" worsened until I finally reached rock bottom in early summer 2015. The first half of 2015 being the worst days I have ever been through.

I felt disconnected from life in every way. A walking shell of a person is how I would describe myself. I could hardly be dragged out of the house to go anywhere. I didn't want to do anything or go anywhere and only wanted to be alone all the time. The spark was gone. I thought about my 20-year-old self and saw zero resemblance to the person I was now. My poor husband would come home for lunch and find his wife sobbing on the bed because I didn't want to pick the kids up from their activities or because I had to go to the grocery store. Just the thought of leaving the house for any reason, no matter how trivial, would literally make my legs feel ice cold, skin tingle, and make me feel like I couldn't breathe. I had anxiety attacks over the smallest of tasks. Going to the grocery store felt like I was dragging a thousand pound weight behind me. I would park in the parking lot, sit in my car, and cry for 10 minutes, then feel guilty over "what's the big deal. It's just a stupid grocery store" and then give myself a pep talk before forcing myself to go inside, heart-pounding, elephant sitting on my chest, so to speak. Any time I was around people, even my closest family, I felt like I was trapped inside a glass box and observing everyone else...feeling incredibly disconnected in every way. I felt so unlike myself, it is actually really hard to describe. I was really not doing well. I will not get into it all on here, but this blog post is a little glimpse of how I was feeling. Postpartum depression and anxiety. I had heard all about it, but I never thought I'd also be one to experience it.

I finally knew I needed to get help. Changes were made in summer 2015. Changes that were, and still are, hard. New habits and ways of doing life are never easy. I learned that self-care is not selfish. I'm not talking about weekends at the spa, pedicures, shopping trips, and things like that, though those things are not bad. I'm talking about even the very basics like 20 minutes alone to read a book a few times a week. Or, 15 minutes to jog around the neighbourhood alone while someone else watches the kids. The biggest thing I learned, and am still learning, was to be kind to myself. I also realized that I'm more of an introvert (an INTJ for those Meyers-Briggs geeks out there), an out-going introvert is how I would describe myself. Being around people all the time really burns me out. My husband is an extrovert, a quieter, more serious extrovert as I'm definitely the louder and goofier one of the two! :-). Being around people 24/7 energizes him. He could spend all day working around people and then still want to go out and do something or hang out with friends to relax.  It's not that I am shy or don't like to spend time with people, but if I don't have moments of quiet solitude completely alone, I find that I get absolutely exhausted in every way.

I am doing so much better these days, mentally. I praise the Lord for this. I can look at a sunrise and feel a sense of happiness. At Christmas I was visiting and playing games and felt I was finally inside my body and inside the room. I do not believe I ever felt the feeling "happy" during the past two years of depression until I finally got help. I could pretend and appear to be happy, but I never really "felt it". It is so very hard to explain. I am finally starting to feel like myself again. I can feel emotions...all of them....again. I am also grateful I finally got the help I needed and have gained a much better understanding of what others struggling with depressing/anxiety during and after pregnancy might be going through.

2016 is looking like it will be a year of change. Big changes are coming for our family, and I know I will need to rely on God (as I always do) to help me through what will be some incredibly difficult and emotional days ahead. We are starting 2016 with anticipation and excitement as to where the Lord is leading us. It is a smorgasborg of emotions, but I am grateful for God's clear direction and guiding hand in our life.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Menu Plan

Life has felt so busy lately, but it has been good. I'm going to make my best effort to enjoy the little things these days since life is likely to get much crazier in the near future.

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Crockpot Butter Chicken, Homemade Naan Bread, Rice, Broccoli (This meal is very quick to prepare and is a definite family favourite)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Bowtie Alfredo Pasta, Salad

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Pizza & Salad

Saturday: Chili & Cornbread, Salad

Sunday:  Leftovers

Monday, January 25, 2016

Menu Plan

Monday: Lasagna & Caesar Salad

Tuesday: Honey Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday: Leftover Lasagna

Thursday: Leftover Chicken

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers or Tuna Melts

Sunday: Going Out to Eat

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Menu Plan

Monday: Stuffed Peppers, Grilled Cheese

Tuesday: Crockpot Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Potatoes, Gravy, Veggies

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Tuna Melts & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers/Chicken Noodle Soup

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