16 Spring 2016 outfits for normal people! :)

When the new season arrives it’s always a little challenging to know where to start.  Well, with spring weather here I thought I’d post some of my favorite looks I’ve been rocking.

Here are some tips for what’s hot this year:

  • Edgy girl: Distressed jeans of all colors and shapes and lengths!  Fabric textures like suede and faux leather. Wrap bracelets.
  • Classic gals: get your stripes on!!
  • Romantic ladies: lace, scalloped hemlines and cut out detailing.
  • Preppy sisters: floral and colored Blazers and hats!
  • Bohemian chics: kimonos, wrap bracelets, gauzy fabrics, WHITE!, beads, distressed jeans, wide leg pants, maxi skirts
  • Casual femmes: distressed jeans, lightweight drapey cardigans, slub tees half tucked, denim jackets, maxi dresses!

Remember, be you, dress for the weather, and confidence is your best accessory. (No but seriously, it really is!).

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Holiday Cheer skinny Peppermint Merengue Puffs


I simply love these merengues!!  And, so does everyone I make them for.  In fact, just last night, my friend was asking me (or rather placing a polite demand) that I make them!  My kids are crazy about them too!!  Now normally that wouldn’t be a surprise, because after all, these ARE cookies.  But, I don’t actually mind my kids enjoying these delicious delights because they are made of just egg whites and sugar basically.  Here’s the magic in that!:  The protein pairs with the sugar and they bind together molecularly, causing your body to regulate and NOT spike your blood sugar, so you don’t store fat like you would if you ate sugar alone.  It also prevents the sugar crash later.  With four active boys, I love any treat that keeps my kids from getting wound up and crazy.

Another reason you will love making these,  they are extremely low calorie cookies!    If you pipe about 100 cookies from this recipe, they are each only 6.5 calories!!  Aside from their festive look, that alone is a great excuse to eat them!!! I originally found this recipe online at SkinnyTaste, and have enjoyed it for a few years now!

These little Merengues are an impressive bring-along for that office work party, your family gathering, or just for at home enjoyment.  For a little fun, throw one or two in your cup of cocoa and make Christmas just a little more playful!  Enjoy!!

Skinny Peppermint Striped Merengue Puffs

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 drops peppermint essential oil (or 1 tsp. extract flavoring)
  • For decorating: red gel food coloring, paint brush, piping bag

Directions:

Prep: Line a couple cookie sheets with wax paper  Set oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Throw eggs  in a glass mixing bowl, and set it over a pot of boiling water so the steam can gradually warm your bowl and thus warm your eggs Without cooking them.
  2. Mix sugar and vanilla into eggs mixture and store continually until sugar is melted and dissolved (not gritty) and slightly foamy.
  3. Remove from heat (carefully) and turn on your beater or transfer to your kitchen aid mixer, and beat until mixture forms stiff white peaks. (Basically, they hold their shape when you lift and fold the mixture with a spoon)
  4. DONT FORGET TO ADD YOUR PEPPERMINT!!  I save this till the end so the oil of the peppermint doesn’t disturb the ability of the merengue to fluff up.  Oil of any kind will keep it heavy and flat.

Piping:

  1. With your brush, draw three evenly spaced GENEROUS stripes with the gel food coloring, starting deep inside near the icing tip, and draw upward to the top of the bag.  Make these lines distinct but generous because it has to last for the entire bagful.
  2. Fill the icing bag with merengue
  3. Pipe cookies about the size of a half dollar or slightly smaller in a beautiful twisted shape onto your lined pans.    Using a star shaped icing tip will help give this effect.

Bake:

  1. Bake in a preheated oven at 200f, for 1 hr. 15 min, to 1 hr 30 min.
  2. Take them out when they are crisp on the outside but slightly soft inside.
  3. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle with decorative sugar to add a wintery effect.
  4. LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY!!!  About 15-20 min.

Store in an airtight container.  Humidity will ruin these delights!

Enjoy all your hard work!!!


  
  

hCG Diet: Hot Cocoa, Apple Pie, and an Egg omelet!

If you are doing or are interested in doing the hCG diet, the food can feel limited quickly, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes with you thus far.  Here are three of my favorites so far…

HOT COCOA!!

  • 6-8 oz water in mug
  • 1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened Baking cocoa powder (Hersheys is awesome!)
  • Splash of Pure Vanilla extract
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 Tbs Fat free half and half

Warm up your water first, then add everything.  Its not as rich and creamy as regular cocoa maybe, but on this diet, it still feels like a splurge!!  Enjoy the coziness!

APPLE PIE!!

  • Honey Crisp apple chopped (or two small Gala apples)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon powder
  • 2 spoonfuls baking Stevia, or use your liquid Stevia.
  • (Nutmeg, Ginger, Allspice are optional.  Use to taste. )
  • Splash of water

Coat the apple pieces well with the other ingredients.  Place in a covered bowl, microwave for 90 seconds, remove and enjoy.  Be careful as it is piping hot!  Enjoy your dellcious dessert!

Egg Omelet

This would be your whole meal in phase 2.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 8 grape tomatoes, halved (or 1 roma tomato, diced)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients, cook in your saute pan and enjoy this delicious omelet.  Here, the tomatoes serve as your fruit for the meal.  Eat up and Enjoy!

HCG diet journey… finally losing that post-baby weight! (Part 1)

Have you ever struggled with your weightloss like me?  For some its a struggle of 75+ pounds, for others, the last 20 that just won’t come off is equally frustrating.  For new (or seasoned) mommas, the babyweight is always a daunting chore.  Well, you are in good company!  Welcome to my post-baby-weight weightloss journey on the hCG diet!!!  This entry and a few entries following with be carefully following my weightloss journey with the HCG diet.  First, I am not aiming to lose astronomical amounts of weight.  Only about 20-25 lbs.  After having my fourth son almost four years ago, I was lazy during breastfeeding and did not work to get the baby weight off, and have struggled ever since to get back down to my pre-baby size.  I have tried a number of different approaches, all healthy options, but I don’t think I was motivated enough to do something strict.  Finally, it dawned on me, I have been whining and complaining about this struggle for nearly four years now, and have given a half-effort to about six different methods, and have seen no sustained progress.  Enough is enough!!  There is no excuse for whining.  If I have a goal, I will find a way to reach it.  So, as I was shopping last week I came across some HCG drops on sale and thought, “Hmm, these are cheap, I’ll just buy them, research and see if it’s worth trying.”  I got home, opened them up and read the diet plan and was like, “hah!  yeah right!” and put them away.  But as I did research and came across friends who had had great success on this diet, I saw that doctors were giving it the thumbs up (in fact it was designed by a doctor), and the food prescribed in the diet is very healthy, I thought, “Well, maybe I could just buckle down and work hard and see some results.”  So, that’s what I did.  I bought the necessary food, prayed for grace ;), and jumped in a week ago.  And I have been so excited by my results!  So excited in fact, I thought I’d share on here with ya’ll in case any of you have found yourself in a similar frustrating situation.  First, let me give you an overview of the diet.  (If you’re looking for a good book to really understand it, this cookbook is excellent.  It explains the diet AND gives you recipes.  Two for one!)

 

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!  Keep reading to see a summary of the diet.  

 

Phase 1: Loading phase.  Two days.  

  • Take HCG drops three times per day before meals; don’t drink or eat within 15 minutes of taking the drops so as not to dilute them in your system.
  • This phase is two days of eating as much FATTY foods as possible.  These fat stores help your body more gracefully adapt to the next phase which is the Very Low Calorie Diet phase (VLCD).  I didn’t take this phase very seriously and wish I would have.  My first three days, especially the third were tough.  Plus, who doesn’t like an excuse to eat every fatty food you ever wanted?  No food is off limits.

Phase 2: Very Low Calorie Diet with weightloss. Day 3-40

  • Again, you will be taking the HCG drops three times daily, not within 15 minutes of water or food.
  • This phase of the diet focuses on putting your body into Ketosis state, which is where your body is living off your own fat stores.  You can lose 1-2 lbs of fat per DAY.
  • The calorie goal these days is to stay within 500 calories.
  • On these days you typically skip breakfast but spend the morning drinking herbal teas, black coffee or water.  At least 32 Oz of liquids is your goal.  It is good to go the way of decaffeinated drinks so you don’t get jittery.  Lunch and Dinner is created from the selected foods in the lists below.
  • No exercising for these days.  Activity should be kept to a gentle stroll.  You need all the calories you are taking in!

Foods For The HCG Diet Phase 2

This is a list of foods you can eat while doing Phase 2 of the HCG Diet.
Use this list as a quick reference when shopping and preparing meals.

VEGETABLES
– Any kind of lettuce, spinach, beet greens, chard, cabbage
– Any kind of onions
– Any kind of tomatoes
– Fennel
– Cucumber
– Radishes
– Celery
– Asparagus


PROTEINS
Your meats/poultry cannot be cooked on the bone. All meats should be trimmed of all fat (and skin)
– White Fish
– Lobster
– Crab
– Shrimp
– Extra Lean Beef (steak, 96% premium lean ground beef, pot roast)
– Chicken


FRUIT


– Apples
– Blue Berries, Blackberries or Strawberries
– Lemons


DRINK & OTHERS
– Herbal Tea
– Bottled Water
– Melba Toast
– Sugarless Gum
– Steevia (natural sweetener, any flavor)
– Braggs Liquid Amino (this is a soy sauce type of product)
– Mustard
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Any natural herb or spice, salt and pepper, garlic

Vegetables Portion Calories
Asparagus 4 ounces 20
Beet Greens 1 cup 25
Broccoli 4 ounces 30
Brussel Sprouts 1 cup 50
Raw Cabbage 1 cup 25
Raw Cauliflower 1 cup 30
Celery 1 stalk 5
Collard Greens 1 cup 25
Cucumber 8″ 15
Dandelion 4 ounces 50
Endive/Escarole 1 cup 10
Green Beans 4 ounces 40
Raw Kale 1 cup 40
Leeks 1/2 cup 16
Lettuce 1 cup 15
Romaine Lettuce 4 ounces 25
Green Onions 6 small 25
Raw White Onions 4 ounces 40
Green Sweet Peppers 1 medium 20
Red Sweet Peppers 1medium 25
Radishes 4 small 8
Spinach 1 cup 10
Squash/Zucchini 1 cup 40
Tomato 1 medium 20
Turnips 1 cup 55
Turnip Greens 1 cup 45
Watercress 4 ounces 25

Fruit Portion Calories
Apple 1 medium 80
Grapefruit 1/2 40
Strawberries 1 cup 55
Black Berries 1 cup 62
Blue Berries 1 cup 83
Lemon 1 medium 17

Phase 3: Stabilization phase.  3 Weeks.  CRUCIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS!!

  • The first three days of this phase you keep eating the VLCD but withOUT HCG drops so that you can give your body time to get the hormone out of your body before introducing new foods.
  • On the fourth day you can begin introducing new foods SLOWLY back into your diet.  The reason for this is because your body has trained itself to such limited calories and types of foods that to go back to regular eating straight away would shock your system and put the weight right back on.
  • In this phase you bring your caloric intake up to 800-1000 calories, gradually working your way up to 1500 calories.
  • Go to this page for a detailed food list.  http://www.hcgdietdrops.com/hcg-phase-3-other-food-list.html
  • This phase is characterized by three daily habits:
    • you must weigh yourself every day
    • you must remain within 2 pounds of your last injection weight (over *OR* under) and,
    • you cannot eat sugars and starches (which is carbohydrates minus the fiber)
  • Exercise: You can re-introduce exercise in this phase.  Your goal should be 30min-1 hour 3-4 times per week.
  • For more details on this phase, go here.
  • For success tips and menu samples, go here.

Phase 4: Maintenance phase. The rest of your life!

  • This phase you can bring your calorie intake up to 1800-2000.
  • In phase 4 when your weight has become consistent and stable you will start to re-introduce sugars and starches back into your diet. Starting off slow is always good. Don’t go binging!
  • To maintain your weight, you will have learned a lot of healthy alternatives, so use them in this phase!
  • For the first three weeks you are watching very carefully and very slowly working sugars, like chocolate or bread, into your diet.  But do only one per day to see how your body responds.  As your body gets used to this foreign object and learns how to metabolize it, you can settle into a nice little routine.
  • Use your natural sugar subsitutes and develop a habit of having a splurge meal only once or twice a week.  Be careful still though, as you can rack up on calories if you’re not mindful of how much is going in.
  • Focus eating still on fruits vegetables and proteins, and let grains and sugars be the smaller portions of your meals.  Keep sugar in moderation.

Links to help: 

Phases 3 & 4:

So that’s the overview of the diet.  The first few days are the most challenging, but as your body adapts, it will become much easier.  Let your thinking about food change WITH the food, so that after you’re done, you don’t return to old habits.

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!

 

 

No-bake Homemade Almond Joys!!

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Christmas season. Coconut. Chocolate. Nuts. These are synonymous to my tastebuds, if Christmas had a taste, that is. I found myself craving homemade almond joys and realized I had all the ingredients laying around in the kitchen so I decided to whip up a batch…Last night….
…They are already all gone. 😳
They were so good. 😋
It was so spontaneous, though, I forgot to take pictures of the making process, so you’ll just have to go by description. But I was able to get a few pictures of some of the last remaining little goodies. I hope you can enjoy these and enjoy them even more knowing that they are virtually healthy. Without any processed junk in them you can eat them guilt free! Happy non-baking!!

Ingredients:
-1 bag coconut flakes- 14oz?? (I had sweetened ones, use unsweetened to boost the health factor and cut sugar)
-3/4 cup Coconut oil
-1/4 cup Honey
-3/4 cup Raw Almonds
-Bag chocolate chips for dipping (depending how many balls you may need a little more than one bag)
-1 Tbsp canola oil

Directions:
1. Mix the flakes, coconut oil, honey and almonds in a bowl. (Note: if too wet, add more flakes. Too dry? Add a little more honey or oil. Honey will make it sweeter.)
2. Squeeze the mixture into small balls in your hands and set on a wax lined pan. Be sure you get at least one almond in each ball!
3. Set pan in freezer for ten minutes to let the oil/balls harden. This makes for successful dipping.
4. Put chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish. Heat for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for 20 seconds. Stir. Heat 15 more seconds if needed. Stir well. To keep it softer longer, add a tablespoon of canola oil. (Don’t use water!!! It freaks out the chocolate).
5. Dip the balls in the chocolate by letting them swim 3 or 4 at a time, roll them in it, lift out w a fork back to the lined pan.
6. Once finished, let them sit till they setup, which only takes a few minutes. Then, enjoy!!

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Cake-on-your-face mask!!

So really, who doesn’t need an awesome facial mask recipe that they can make w stuff from their kitchen cabinet, and it make their skin look fabulous?! I call mine, “cake-on-your-face” mask. It’s easy, and leaves your skin so glowy, and totally adaptable. Most of these ingredients are in some or many ways: anti fungal, anti microbial, anti viral, anti inflammatory, soothing, and toning.Take your pick! If used at night, add a little lemon juice for pore shrinking!! Leave it on as long as you like, I’ve done 20 min and 3 hours. Now go whip it up and enjoy!! Your face will thank you. 😘. You’re welcome!!

Recipe:
– A spoonful of coconut oil
– Equal parts of each from your spice cabinet :
1. Cocoa powder
2. Cinnamon
3. Baking soda
4. Ginger
5. Cloves
6. Nutmeg
7. Honey
8. Lemon juice (at night only. Can make skin more sensitive to sun if outdoors immediately after)
-Mix into a nice paste
-Apply to warm dampened face
-Allow to sit for 15-?? Minutes. Watch a movie! Or if you’re busy and must multi task, curl your hair!!
-To rinse: just wet your hands and dampen face to loosen it, then gently exfoliate, massaging face w fingertips in circular motions.
-Rinse clean, pat dry, and quickly follow with a hydrating layer of coconut oil to moisturize!!

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Sharpie marker remover

It was one of those mornings, I was doing dishes and my toddler was quiet in the living room w the TV on. I felt a nudge to go check on him but put it off just long enough to find him creating a masterpiece with a sharpie on my laptop. Ahhhhhh!!!!! I didn’t know what to do, so I prayed desperately for a solution, and was reminded of my 91% rubbing alcohol I just bought, so I used that with a towel, and it worked!! No damage from moisture bc the alcohol evaporates so fast. Praise the living lord!! My laptop was recovered!!

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The Great Masterpiece

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The Christmas Miracle

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The tools of my demise (marker) and my Salvation!

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The Guilty

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Not wanting his guilt to be captured on camera.

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Evidence that he really is a perfect child. 🙂

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The chocolate I bribed him with to smile in the last photo, and the incriminating evidence on his hands of his crime. 🙂