Friday, September 30, 2011

Sour Cream Enchiladas

2 lbs hamburger (I like to substitute chicken)
1 large can enchilada sauce

Brown hamburger; add sauce.  Fry 2 dozen corn tortillas 30 seconds each side.  Put mixture in tortilla and roll.  Place in 9X13" pan (takes 2 pans).  May add cheese.  Pour sauce (recipe follows) over top.  

2 cans cream of chicken soup 
1 small carton sour cream

Spread additional cheese over the top and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  May add black olives, if desired.  

Lazy Enchilada Casserole

12 corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1-15 oz can tomato sauce
2 small cans enchilada sauce
1 lb longhorn cheese

Break tortillas into bite size pieces; brown meat and onions; add tortillas, sauces, and 2 cups grated cheese.  Pour into casserole and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

This really is the lazy way to do enchiladas and tastes just the same! 

Pantry Make-Over

So my OCD has been pretty acute lately and although I have longed for an organized, neat pantry - I have never been able to achieve that dream for lack of understanding how to attack it.  Don't get me wrong, I have cleaned and reorganized my pantry countless times over the years - it just never stays that way!  So I was searching a bunch of blogs and ran across an idea that totally rocked my socks off!  It was to use large lazy susans in the corner of the pantry so that you could not only expand your space, but actually see what you have!  Totally fell in love with it and emailed the blogger to see if I could order some (her dad was making them).  I got a response stating that he was not currently able to do them due to his real work demands.  Not to be undaunted I immediately began to search the internet (really is there ANYthing that is not available there?).  I found a website thru - and ordered 5 of them.  By the time they arrived I had already gone through and organized (the best that I could) my entire pantry.  I was surprised at how many duplicate, partially used items I had - guess when something got "lost" in there I assumed I was out and bought it again (stupid).  My husband was out of town and I was rather anxious, so I installed them myself - yes they really are that easy!  I am so excited about the new look and ease of finding things I was beside myself!  I labeled the containers and organized it them by the way we use things.  Check out my results below.  BTW - the other blog had everything really cutesy - I would love to go there someday, but for now just being able to find things and knowing what I have is wonderful!  Paint etc will have to wait for another day, maybe even another year......  :))

BEFORE - does this look like yours?

BEFORE - you know you wish yours looked this good!

BEFORE - lovely, right?!

Check out these lazy susans!

They more than double my space!

Don't you want some?

Bought the bins on the bottom from Target - they hold 25 pounds of flour, sugar, etc.  Work much better than the old 5 gallon containers I was using.  I LOVE to cook so having less than a 25 pound capacity is not an option for me.  

The over the door spice rack is from Wal Mart - I can cook with ease now!

The red-lidded containers are from Wal Mart and they are super nice.

These are the best!

Again, here is a close-up of the large containers.  

Hope this inspires you.  Watch for my painting, etc to follow someday.  Thanks for checking in.  Unfortunately I cannot remember the original blog post, but I LOVE her for the idea!

Plantation Shutters At Last!

As a realtor, I see lots of homes in every price range and THE ONE thing that always sets a home apart is plantation shutters.  The home could be a small bungalow and if it has plantation shutters I am sold!  I have worked hard all year and saved like crazy so I could get them installed in my own home.  Here is the happy result!  (Hoping to get the upstairs done by early next year - there are a lot fewer windows and therefore not nearly as expensive).

Kitchen sink

Door to deck

Kitchen dining area

Family room 

Entry way

Master bedroom

Living room

The best part for my neighbors is that I will now actually CLOSE my blinds at night so I am not "center stage" anymore.  We live on a pretty steep hill and sit above most of our neighbors so when I say "STAGE" I am truly not exaggerating!  :))  Pretty sure they are gonna love me for that!

Wood Floors!

Okay, so you have to picture in your mind navy blue carpet on the stairs and upper level, since I was too lame to take pics of the "Before".  Hideous actually.  After my husband knocked an entire gallon of white paint all over the carpet, followed the same week by a visit from my grandkids with one of them getting the stomach flu and throwing up EVERYwhere - we were long past due for a change.  I never did get the smell from my cute granddaughter getting sick completely out of the carpet, in spite of my best efforts to do so.  Fortunately we do not use the upstairs much (mostly for guests) - so it has not been a huge problem, BUT I was anxious to get it done anyhow.  We have been in our home 9 years now and I have wanted to do it since we moved in.  I am not much of a photographer (I really don't need to tell YOU that!) but did the best I could to show you how much better it looks.  I LOVE it!!!!

This is my youngest son's old bedroom.

This is our "guest room"  My other two boys were pretty much out of the house by the time we made the move to Utah.

This is the "loft" area.  It is really hard to get the coloring of this floor - the color varies from a deep red, to more of a brown, and shades of black running thru-out.

This is the "girls" (I have a grandson now, so we will have to call it something else now) room.

The new carpet on the stairs - beats the H%&& out of navy blue, don't ya think?!

It is always surprising to me how much of a change flooring makes in the overall look and feel of a home.  LOVE the way this looks and feels now.  Still working on updates up there - I am painting the shelf in the bathroom and a dresser in the girls room an antiques turquoise blue color - can't wait to get that finished.  Hopefully this weekend.  Thanks for stopping by....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lime Rice

4 cups calrose rice
1/2 cup sugar
lime zest from 3-4 fresh limes
lime juice from 3-4 fresh limes

Place rice in rice cooker along with water required (we usually add a bit of extra water - just go a bit above the line on the cooker), then add zest and lime juice.  Stir and cook according to rice cooker instructions.  Yummy with the barbacoa and shredded pork recipes.  

Pumpkin Creme

1 scoop protein powder
1/4 cup plain canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

Blend all ingredients with ice and water to desired consistency.  Very good flavor!  

This is my favorite recipe from Week 4 of Phase 2 of Live the Life

Week 4 Phase Two Update

They say better late than never right?!  I actually had a really hard week last week for the first time in the last 16 weeks.  I think it was more hormonal than anything and I didn't stray too far, but I did feel the effects.  I gained 2 pounds last week - I did a ton of baking and lots of licking fingers, but no eating of the goodies.  Still, with my crappy thyroid and adrenals and hormones, I simply cannot afford to stray at all!  I keep thinking about the importance of little things and how each and every choice we make contributes to our success or our failure.  Feeling VERY motivated to stay the course this week and feel confident I will reap those rewards (you will have to check in next week to see how I did - obviously I am half-way thru the week already and know how I am doing thus far....).  On a positive note, feeling better overall than ever and excited about the things to come.  Hope your week last week was better than mine!  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grape Chicken Salad

2 oz canned or cooked chicken
2 T fat free Greek yogurt
2 T onion (I like the red onion in this one)
1/4 cup grapes
1 small low carb whole grain tortilla

In bowl mix chicken, yogurt, onions and grapes.  Add chicken mixture to tortilla.  Really nice blend of flavors and textures.

Week Three Phase Two Results

I FINALLY hit -20 pounds!!!!!  I am pretty excited about that!  It seems like hitting the 20 pound mark always takes forever.  I would like to lose another 15 pounds, but am fitting into my old clothes nicely now and am really happy with the way I am feeling overall.  We are in the process of having wood floors put in the 3 bedrooms upstairs and travertine tile in the bathroom (watch for a future post on this) - this has meant literally moving all furniture out of each room and then moving it back when the room is completed.  Hopefully this will be done today.  I am amazed that I have been able to help my husband move all pieces of furniture - with minimal assistance with one piece from our son.  I have never had much upper body strength and this was no small feat for me!  David is down 25 pounds and looking great!  His "skinny jeans" are getting a bit loose on him now.  LOVING this way of life!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shredded Pork

3 lb boneless pork roast
2 lg onions
4 cloves garlic
16 oz can tomatoes
3 jalepenos or 1 can diced jalepenos with juice
3 bay leaves
2 T chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in slow cooker on medium low for 8 hours (I do mine overnight).  Shred and serve on tortillas.  NOTE:  Since I always cook mine overnight, I shred in the morning and then cook on low all day to allow flavors to blend.  SUPER yummy!  Goes a long way.  Great for family dinners and other large groups.  I serve with lime or Spanish rice, sour cream, salsa, grated cheese, lime wedges, guacamole or fresh avocado, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, lettuce and Cafe' Rio type dressing.  Enjoy!  See my Barbacoa recipe for a spicier beef version.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

I found this on and made it this morning for a realtor tour for one of my own listings.  Got rave reviews all around!  

Egg Sandwich and Island Smoothie

1/2 egg yolk
4 egg whites
1 low carb whole grain pita pocket (I like the Greek Pita Flat Bread 100% whole wheat best)

Cook egg like a pancake - flipping when bubbles are forming on the top.  Crisp pita in a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Place egg on top of pita and fold in half to eat.


1/2 orange
2 strawberries
2 T skim milk
1 tsp Crystal Light

Place all ingredients in blender or Bullet and blend until smooth.  Can also add vanilla, almond, or coconut extract.  Yummy!!!!

Week Two of Phase Two Update

This week was mostly a holding steady week - no real advances in either weight loss or inches.  The thing I am finding interesting is that I am back into my size 8 pants although I am 10 pounds heavier than last year when I was wearing that size.  I feel like they fit better and look much better too.  

I am waking up before my alarm clock most mornings and have so much energy!  LOVE that!!!!  I have been getting lots of comments from people (NOT about looking thinner) about how healthy I am looking.  Since that is my ultimate goal - I am happy about that.  When I have lost weight in the past I have not always done it in the healthiest manner and you really don't have that healthy glow about you when you lose weight the wrong way. I love the way this lifestyle has just become a way of life.  I really don't feel deprived or cheated in any way.  It seems easy to turn down poor food choices when you are working hard, eating right and feeling so amazing!  I keep thinking back to a year ago when I could hardly make myself get out of bed and dragged myself through each day.  Thank you Live the Life ( giving me my active life back!  Here's wishing you a healthy, happy week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marbled Cheesecake

32 round vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

6 oz sweet chocolate
3 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
4 eggs, room temperature
1 8 oz. container sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap outside of an 8 1/2 or 9" springform pan with foil.  Find a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the springform pan.  Set aside.

Crust:  Place cookie crumbs in a medium sized bowl.  Stir in butter until evenly combined.  Pat into bottom of prepared springform pan.  Place pan in roasting pan.

Filling:  Coarsely chop chocolate.  Place in a medium size microwave safe bowl; microwave on HIGH power for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat cheese, sugar, and cornstarch in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in sour cream and vanilla.  Blend 3 cups batter into the melted chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Dollop both kinds of batter over crust.  Using a knife, swirl the batters together to marbleize.  Transfer to 325 degree oven.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of springform.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 5 minutes until set.  Remove cheesecake from water; remove foil.  Run knife around edge of cake; cool on rack.  Refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 hours or overnight.

NOTE:  Can serve with chocolate sauce.  Delish!  Looks very elegant set on a cake pedestal.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mexican Chicken Taco

3 oz chicken, cooked
1 small low carb whole-grain tortilla
2 T corn
2 T black beans (I omit these and add 1 oz of chicken since I am allergic to beans)
2 T salsa
2 T fat free sour cream
1/2 yellow squash

Combine chicken, corn, beans,  yellow squash, salsa and sour cream together.  Put all on tortilla.  Yummy!  NOTE:  I modified the recipe adding the yellow squash - you are supposed to eat 1 cup broccoli on the side - but I like the texture and flavor of the yellow squash in the tortilla.  Yummy!  And quick to prepare.  From Phase Two, week one.  

Baby Izze Update 4

The kids went to court yesterday and were met with the birth mom and her attorney.  Unfortunately we are going to have a fight on our hands.  I cannot even begin to comprehend what is going through the birth mom's mind and where her heart is right now.  I feel an enormous amount of compassion towards her, but frustration at the same time (is that even possible?!).  When the kids started this process the birth mom was adamant that she wanted to do the best thing for baby Izze and she knew that she was not in a position to provide a stable, loving environment for her.  I don't think anything has changed on her end, but for some reason she is fighting now for custody.  

The court has decided that she can have weekly visitation until the next court date in October.  This must be supervised by a third party approved by the court and the cost split 50/50.  The visits will be 2 hours long.  The kids have never objected to visitation until the birth mom became threatening.  I am relieved that the visitations will be supervised.      

It is hard to wonder if Izze will be a permanent member of our family.  We have become so attached and love her so much.  We are praying that she will be able to be with us forever...  I believe the Lord has a hand in all of this and that we have to trust that the right thing will come to pass.  We are grateful for all of those who have prayed for us and provided love and support.  Here's hoping that we will find the answers we seek sooner rather than later.  Izze has touched us in ways impossible to describe.  No matter what the outcome - we will never be the same....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Update for Week 1 Phase Two

Just got back early this morning from our trip to Maine - I have been kind of apprehensive about my weigh-in since it has been about 10 days since I have seen a scale.  I am happy to report I am down another pound and a half.  This brings me to a total of 17.3 pounds lost in 13 weeks.  It was challenging to say the least to stick to the eating plan since we were eating out much of the time and trying to make the most intelligent choices from a menu.  We bought lots of greek-style yogurt and ate lots of bars - both granola and protein.  It seems to have worked out ok for both of us.  I was worried about weight-gain during our vacation.  I think our kids think we are nuts - constantly eating and always very specific foods, but we are pretty happy with our new life-style.

The working out was lots easier.  We packed our resistance bands and did our regular exercises every morning without fail.  The cardio was much different for us, as we did not have access to a stationary bike or elliptical.  We rode our kids bikes, with our granddaughters as our "guides" thru their beautiful little town on the extensive bike trails some mornings, walked others (I ended up with bad shin splints), and used machines in the hotels we stayed in.  Although my heart rate was not as elevated during those activities as it is when I am on the stationary bike and elliptical, I felt it was a good work-out and a bit more "fun" than usual.

It is good to be home and back in our routine!  Looking forward to this second phase and the challenges and progress to come.  On an funny note, I raided my "skinny" closet before we left and had to laugh at how baggy and silly my jeans looked while we were out of town.  Some of my pants could be pulled down without even unzipping them - ridiculous!  I was pleased to see that although the scales are not moving as quickly as I would like, that my body is clearly changing for the better and toning up and getting definition I have not seen for many years.  Thank you for such a life changing program and one that I am actually excited to stick with!  Here's to a healthy, happy week for all!