The diet update, one month on Noom

So, I have been using the Noom app for about a month now, and without modifying my eating habits, exercising habits, just keeping an eye on what I am eating so that I know how bad it really is for me, and keeping an eye on my daily life, seeing how many calories I burn in my day-to-day life without trying, I have actually lost five pounds.  I think now I will start actually watching what I eat, and trying to increase my daily step count so that I can lose even more, and quicker.  We have still been eating highly unhealthy foods, as my husband “isn’t motivated to diet since he can’t afford a gym membership.”  I was actually planning on talking to him tonight about what I blogged previously.  It isn’t about losing weight, it is about a healthier lifestyle all together, diet, activity, heart health, and living longer so we can have more time with our daughter.

Don’t get me wrong, we both aren’t the picture perfect specimen of whatever, but we aren’t rolling down the block like bowling balls either.  We both need to quit being lazy with our diet.  I know I have been blogging about this for a few weeks now, and since I didn’t change my lifestyle at all, I just kept an eye on what I do and my habits, so I know where I can make some changes, I feel I can try to lose  some weight, and not have to spend hours a day at the gym.  So here is my next goal.

For the next month, I want to lose another five pounds in the next month.  In order to do this, I will drink less coffee and soda, and more water and tea.  If coffee is a must, I want to skip the latte and brew my own at home.   I will make at least three healthy dinners a week, versus our incredibly yummy and ever so cheesy nachos.  I know I have spouted all of this before, but now that I have just observed myself for a month, I think I will be more successful in the future.

Here goes nothing.

Chicken Soft What?

So today’s experiment in the slow cooker is chicken soft something.  The recipe is for chicken soft taco’s, but I am almost certain my husband will want chicken soft nacho’s.  The recipe is essentially the chicken itself, now what ever you decide to do with the chicken is up to you.  The recipe is simple, and great in a bind.  You don’t even have to defrost the chicken, and there are three easy ingredients.  Throw them all in the slow cooker, and cook on low for six to eight hours.

  • Four FROZEN Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (or approx 1 lb.)
  • 1 14.5 oz Can of Tomato’s (or tomato’s with peppers)
  • 1 Packet of Low Sodium taco seasoning.

Note: I put the can of tomato’s in and a little bit of salsa.  Also, instead of the seasoning packet, I put in some of my own seasonings that I know we like, therefore removing some of the seasonings that I don’t like.  I used paprika, chili powder, and dried onion flakes.

I have made this recipe previously, and it was amazing.  Now I am changing up the seasonings.  I am doing this because ever since I got pregnant, my heart burn doesn’t like too many crazy seasonings and spices.

The thing I like most about this recipe, is it is great in a bind.  I don’t know how many of you have a ton of chicken in the freezer to take out when you want it.  Well, this is the recipe for when you don’t want to risk the chicken de-frosting on time (like today when I remembered to take something out at noon!).  You can toss the frozen chicken in the slow cooker with a can of tomato’s some salsa and seasonings, turn it on, and you have a great meal that looks like it took all day to make.  This chicken can be used, like I said before, in so many different meals, like burritos, enchiladas, nachos, tacos, and change-up the seasonings for even more feasts.

Feel free to suggest seasoning alternative idea’s, and meal ideas for this simple easy main ingredient.  (And low sodium and diet friendly!)

Slow Cooker Parmesan Chicken

This recipe is from the Fix It and Forget It Lightly cook book, and is what I am making tonight for dinner.  The recipe says it makes 8 servings, however while shopping around today, I wasn’t able to find a package of chicken with four or eight chicken breasts, so I got a package with five monster breasts, chopped three in half, froze two, and so essentially I have six pieces of chicken in the slow cooker.  The prep time took about ten minutes, including cleaning up the chicken and chopping off the fat.   The recipe takes about four or four and a half hours to cook, and you should use a larger 4-5 quart slow cooker.

What you will need:

  • 8 Boneless Skinless Chicken breast (Like I said, I couldn’t find this, so I have three really really big chicken breasts cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated fat-free parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

First, of course, clean up the chicken, cut off the fat, remove any blood vessels if they are in there (cos that’s just nasty).  Then cover and cook on high for two hours.  (This is where I am now!) Then mix the remaining ingredients and spread over the chicken, then cover and cook on high for two to two and a half more hours.

I like my crock pot because it will cook for the specified time, then keep the product warm.  So I can prepare this meal and have it done and then just keep it warm for a few hours while I am at work.  My theory is, make it on days I am off and my husband works, so that I can still get my errands done, play with the baby, etc and have an amazing meal waiting for him when he get’s home.  alternately, when he is working, I can get the first two hours done, and add the additional ingredients just before I leave for work on a closing day, have the crock pot cook and keep warm after the second two hours, so he can eat when he gets home, and I can eat when I get home.  Since when I close I often don’t get home until after 9pm!  I can make my husband dinner and don’t even have to be home.

Edit: Ok, so it is now 7:45pm, and dinner and dishes are done.  I didn’t take any pictures because, well, it didn’t look too pretty.  It did, however, taste amazing, and I am already looking forward to lunch tomorrow!  I was a little concerned because there is a lot of mayonnaise, but the majority of the ingredients added toward the end, stayed in the slow cooker, and went in the trash.  Someone else may choose to eat the sauce, but we are not big fans of mayo or miracle whip.  Enjoy!!!

Healthy Cooking Doesn’t Cost More

I keep hearing on the news that people on food stamps purchase crappy unhealthy food because it costs too much to eat healthier.  Ok, as one who just went to the grocery store for one meal, I am going to have to go ahead and call “Bull-Shit!” on that argument.  I purchased quite a bit of food, and spent about what one meal for my family at some sort of fast food joint like Taco Bell or Burger King.  The list of stuff I bought:

  • The stuff for just this meal: 
    • 3.73 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Eating Right Chicken Breast Boneless Skinless Extreme Value Pack)
    • A Baguette of Sourdough Bread (We need a side right?!?)
    • A bottle of Cabernet
  • The stuff for this and many meals in the future: 
    • Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (the small bottle)
    • A jar of paprika
    • A jar of dried oregano leaves

Ok, now just so you know, this meal cost me $25 (Not including the bottle of wine, that was $8.99).  The meal will feed us for three nights!  It costs us $20 to get through the drive through.  And now for the kicker…the chicken breasts were not from chickens, I think they were from Godzilla.  I used three of the five chicken breasts, froze the other two, and plan on making slow cooker chicken soft taco’s with them next week!  So really, from the $25, I am getting three meals for two, and then another meal for four (my parents are coming and I plan on making the chicken soft taco’s when they are here.)

Both recipes are from the Fix it and Forget it Lightly cookbook….both take about ten minutes to prepare before work, and at these prices, who needs the drive through?

Gourmet meals with time to spare.

So many evenings, so little time.  So many mom’s and dad’s work full-time and have to come home to spend another hour on a decent meal.  I have been trying to figure out ways to eat healthier, but not spend half my evening at home cooking.  After all, I hate cooking, and I hate cleaning up after it even more.

My solution, the Crock Pot!  I purchased a crock pot recipe book that was a combination of multiple books brought together.  It has everything from beverages to desserts, healthy eating to game day favorites. I am excited because there are several healthy eating recipes that are easy to make.

I was looking at just getting the healthy version of the book, but then I decided, sometimes a girl needs a good comfort food of chili, lasagna  or whatever comfort foods the bigger book had, for not much more money, so I got the full book. We are talking about 1400 slow cooker recipes, anything you can think of, it’s in this book.  I really like how the index is organized, and the Light recipes are clearly labeled and easy to distinguish.  

I will try out the recipes and share them here as I try them, and let you know what I think, any modifications I’ve made, and any tips and tricks I think you might want to know.  After all, recipes are not a law of cooking for the most part, we will all change it up to our own tastes.  Like for one, I am not too big on artificial seasonings, so I will probably exclude them, and try my own flavorings.

Note: I have decided to do this because hey, my most popular posts are all about food and recipes. And since I am not a big cooker, great meals that take minimal prep and baby sitting are just the right recipe for me and my lifestyle. 

Sick Baby = Sick Day

I have a sick baby at home, which means I have a sick day at work!  It is making me want to stay home with her forever.    She is acting totally normal, like her happy little self.  She is coughing quite a bit and sneezing with a runny little nose.  I want to stay home with her forever, because she is my little precious girl, and I want to keep her out of school where she also could have caught something not only this time, but in the future as well.

On a semi-side note, I have been battling postpartum, and it has turned into this feeling of not wanting to leave her.  It is so weird, and a change from my previous feelings of wanting time apart from her.  Now, especially since she is growing so much and so fast, that by leaving her at school, I am going to miss all of her milestones.  It makes me want to be with her every single day, so that I don’t miss any part of her life and her development.  I was so happy yesterday that she rolled over for the first time by herself, and I was home to be with her.  I am so happy I didn’t miss it.  My husband is a little bummed he missed it, but I took some pictures and sent them to him,  so that he could at least share the moment from work.

I don’t know how I would feel if I missed her first steps or her first stab at crawling, just because I had to work in order to keep our debt on a downward trend.  I know I could quit work, but I am working for a few reasons.  So we can keep with somewhat of a lifestyle that we are used to, and so we can pay off our debt quicker.  As much as I want to stay home with her and never return to work, I know the consequences is a much higher debt for a much longer time frame, and I would rather pay that down for another year.

I wish there was a way I could figure out how to make money with my many blogs, or even finish my book and get it published.  My career of choice is one I can easily do from home, the only bad thing is, with the economy in its current state doesn’t provide for the client pool that I would need in order to afford working from home.  For some reason, when the economy tanks, people are not spending as much money on Kitchen and Bath Designers, or Interior Designers for that matter.  So now, I am here, blogging away and not at work.

I am sure I am not alone, I am sure there are other working mom’s who find that paying off debt is vital.  I want to be able to afford to give her things she wants, and needs, and not have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, and raid the couch for change, in order to afford diapers and stuff like that.  If I stayed home, that is all I could do, because we would have to sell my car to pay off some of the alleged debt, and avoid insurance gas and maintenance charges.  As much as I want to stay home with her, I think it will be better for her in the long run for me to work another year…and just hope she keeps doing her little milestones at home!

Me, on Parenting

Parenthood is a journey into the unknown.  It’s a journey into a world of brightly colored toys and not knowing what you are doing, and hoping you don’t hurt this little human being that for some unknown reason, they let you bring home from the hospital.  They say the first week is the hardest, and I am wanting to change that to the first year.  They are changing so much, and you really don’t know what to expect. You are terrified about being a good parent, you don’t want to hurt or harm them, and you don’t want anything to hurt or harm them.  It’s a time when Google is your best friend.  You will find yourself researching baby poop to see if everything is “coming out normal”. (By the way, this is the best “Diaper Decoder” out there!) You will be researching reasons why babies cry, because you have tried everything under the sun and she is still screaming at the top of her little lungs…for HOURS!

This job isn’t for everyone!  It’s a hard job, it’s a tedious job, and it’s not a job you can just go put in your two weeks notice when you realize it’s too hard.  Your life really is over.  I always got mad at people for warning me that my life was over, because I loved my old life before the baby.  However, now that she is here, on a Friday Night,  I would rather be sitting at home exploring the world through her eyes, than going out, eating an overpriced meal and going to a movie theater to see a mediocre movie with a hundred other people who insist on texting, talking, and generally smell bad.   (You know I am right, how many times have you had to sit through a movie next to a guy who took a bath in cheap cologne?  Or the old lady directly behind you with that signature old lady floral perfume that burns your nose as you breath it in?)

My brother and sister-in-law love their life, and refuse to have children because they love their toys and lifestyle of elaborate spending and activity filled weekends.  They think I am the crazy one for giving it all up to bring this little life into the world.  I sometimes wonder if they will change their mind and give my little girl a cousin to play with, but I am nearly certain they won’t.  I am glad they enjoy their activities and lifestyle, but to me, family is so important, and that includes bringing new life and generations into the family.

It’s not easy, and I know it is going to get harder, because she will keep growing, exploring, and learning about the world.  Life as I know it today is going to change again when she starts crawling, walking, and enters into school.  She is like a falling snowball, that is getting bigger and bigger every day, and soon she will be an adult, and I will miss these days when she is an infant.  She will be able to tell me all about her day in words instead of these little ooh’s and ahh’s she sings all day.  I am glad she is here, even though I can’t just pick up and go somewhere anymore, and my blogging schedule is all messed up and arranged around nap time.  It’s worth it to me. She is worth giving up all of it.

A Dietary Assistance Plan

I downloaded a Diet Coach app on my Android called Noom. It is a combination of many other apps including a calorie tracker, goal setting, work out mapping app. It has a pedometer built in so I can keep track of my steps each day, as well as setting daily walking goals. It schedules workouts, which is a nice reminder of the things I need to do to shrink this waist line.  The app is based on Artificial Intelligence, which helps to monitor your eating habits, workout habits, and more, and generate a plan that you will stick to, and helps to motivate you. Like their website says, it’s not just an App, it’s a diet coach.  For example, it has been setting pedometer step goals for me every day, and every day it increases the amount of steps I need to take.  It also schedules time for me to exercise.  When you enter in your food, it color codes the food with green (for healthy) yellow (semi healthy) and red (not healthy).  It suggest so much of each food type for the day, and sets eating goals for you also.  Everyday you have some goals, and it’s just that nice extra little bit of help that I think I need.  Noom tracks all sorts of activities, from simply shopping or driving, dancing and yoga, to more extreme work outs like P90x and Insanity.  This is great because it helps you record even the simplest of tasks, even simple house work. and add’s them to your calorie burning calculations for the day.

Noom has both a free and a paid version.  They say that users with the pro version burn about two times more pounds than users with the free version.  I am going to try a month with the free version then try the paid version for thirty days just to see how much different it is, and see if it is worth it.  It is only $9.99/month, which is way less than something like Weight Watchers Online, which I was looking into.  I can’t find a great compairison of the two, so I will report back and let you know if the money is worth it.  The best I can find is even more personalized goals, workout suggestions, and an overall better understanding of your own need through the built in AI computers.

We shall see how this thing starts working for me, and I will share the progress. My next step is to get a scale.  The app can’t track my weight loss without a scale.  If you are interested in downloading Noom as well, you can download it on Google Play.