Friday, September 28, 2012

Figure Friendly Friday #6- Crispy Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa

Happy Friday everyone! Guess what? I was a guest poster over at High Heels and Grills yesterday! It was my first one, and it was a blast! You've all been over to that blog before right? If not, go over there immediately, they've got AWESOME recipes. (now including one from me!)  Sarah was my very first bloggy friend. Never met her in real life, but already love her. In case you missed it, HERE is the link to my guest post. But because this is a healthy and incredibly delicious recipe, I had to share it with all of you for Figure Friendly Friday too!

Hi, I'm Stacia, and I am a coconut addict. 
I seriously eat shredded coconut straight from the bag, with a spoon. So naturally, anything with "Coconut" in the title, catches my immediate and undivided attention. I saw this recipe on The Fit Cook blog while doing a search for coconut recipes. 
Coconut and mangoes? Shoot, I'm sold! Here is the slightly varied, recipe-

What you'll need-
-1 red bell pepper
-1 yellow bell pepper
-1 ripe mango
-1/4 red onion (can be omitted if you are not a fan of onions)
-1 large tomato
-1/2 cup cilantro
-1 egg
-1 bag ( 7oz.) sweetened shredded coconut
-1/2 tsp. cayenne peper
-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil (extra virgin olive oil would also work)
- salt and pepper to taste

What you do-
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk egg in shallow bowl. In separate bowl, combine coconut, (I'm a fiend, and went heavy on the coconut. Feel free to use less) cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Dip each chicken breast in the egg until coated, and let the excess run off. Then dip chicken in the coconut combo making sure it is thoroughly coated.
4. Heat the coconut (or olive) oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
5. Place chicken breasts on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 25 more minutes. Start checking at 20, to make sure they aren't being over cooked.
6. While the chicken is baking, prepare the salsa by dicing both peppers, mango, onion, tomato and cilantro. Season with S&P to taste. 
7. When the chicken is cooked, place on your fancy serving dish, (or in our case, our plates) and top with mango salsa. 
8. ENJOY!!!

The whole family loved it, including the kids, for which it was a colorful and tasty way to get their fruits and veggies in for the day. 

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unique DIY Wall art

I'm currently in the process of decorating our downstairs hallway. I know, I'm already in the process of a million other projects. Like many of you, I have project ADD. I still have stuff I wanna do in the boy room. I still need to do the big project in the laundry room. I'm in the middle of making the kids Halloween costumes. The list is never-ending. But the hallway walls were bare, and it bugged the heck out of me. I've been trying to think of something super cool to hang up down there and kept coming up empty handed. So I turned to my husband for some input. He really can be quite creative, even though he denies it. This project was all his idea.

I am so in love with it! It's a totally unique, specific to our family, piece of art. The kids especially love that it looks like a secret code.
Here's how I did it-
Lucky for me I had some extra MDF leftover from my Cheap Photo Display sitting in the garage that I could put to use. It measured 16x9, so I just made that work, but it could obviously be whatever size you wanted should you choose to make something similar.
So I spray painted that board Ocean Breeze by Krylon. Which might be my favorite color of all time. It makes the Top 3 easily.

I had to give it 3 good coats for enough coverage. Then gave it a quick sand. (that's 2 words, not like the quicksand, "Help! I'm sinking!") Just enough to take the shine off and distress the edges a bit.
After wiping it down with a damp paper towel to remove the blue sawdust, it was ready for my vinyl!
Each of us, (ok except for the baby- we chose for him) chose a symbol to represent ourselves and our interests.
Using my Silhouette, I cut out each of the images. That is what took the most time, choosing the image, (I just did a google search) and then making sure they would work in the Silhouette software.
Then I applied them to the painted board. Done!
Normally I would have hung it with Command Strips, but I was out of them and impatient, so I used a sawtooth hanger that I had in the toolbox. Doesn't it look cool? I love the fact that even if a million families made one for their house, they would all be different! Someday soon, I'll be done with the hallway, and I'll show the whole thing to you. But for now, just know that it looks awesome! (well, I think so at least)

linking to these parties-
Someday Crafts
House of Hepworths
Tatertots and Jello
Six Sisters Stuff
Classy Clutter
One Creative Mommy
Positively Splendid
Todays Creative Blog
One Artsy Mama
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Figure Friendly Friday #5 - Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bringing Sexy Back is tough. For me it means no Breyers Chocolate Oreo ice cream (oh my goodness, so delicious.) while I watch a show at night with my husband. None of my kids goldfish while we are out running errands. Swapping my sammie loaded with PB&J for a spinach wrap at lunch time. It also means no chocolate chip cookies. Or should I say, it USED to mean no chocolate chip cookies. I've been watching what I eat for over a month now, and I was having a major hankerin' for some baked goods. But I know that cookies and cakes are loaded with sugar, butter and white flour. NOT compatible with my goals. So what's a girl to do? Get creative!
My husband and I concocted a recipe that is a much healthier alternative to our normal cookie recipe.

What you need-
-1 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla
-2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 cups oats
-3/4 of a bag of Dark Chocolate Chips

What you do-
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the applesauce, both sugars, eggs and vanilla in your mixer.
3. Add the whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt. Mix.
4. In a blender, blend your oats to make an oat flour. You'll start out with 3 cups, but after blended it will be closer to 2 cups.

5. Mix in oat flour.
6. Mix in dark chocolate chips.
7. Very lightly spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray, and drop cookie dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 
9. Scarf these bad boys and don't feel guilty about doing so!

Now keep in mind, these won't be quite as scrumptious as original recipe cookies. We omitted the butter altogether, cut the sugar and salt in half, and used whole wheat and oat flour instead of the white stuff. I'll be the first to admit, when it comes down to which tastes better, our normal recipe wins. But man oh man, will your body thank you for choosing these instead! Oh, and lets not forget that dark chocolate has antioxidants! 
Feeling like you can't go another second without some baked goods, but worried about derailing your healthy eating? Give these a whirl. 

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Wreath with Feathers and a Chalkboard

I finally made my fall wreath over the weekend! It seems like I might be a little late jumping on that bandwagon, but it hasn't really felt like fall in Nashville- its still hot as can be, and we still sweat like pigs when we go outside to play. But it IS the middle of September, so I guess its about that time! 
I loved how it turned out, and except for the wreath itself, I had all the embellishments on hand. 

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Figure Friendly Friday #4- Healthy kids and my Bringing Sexy Back Update!

It's been a whole month since I embarked on my "Bringing Sexy Back" journey. If you are interested, you can go back and read that initial post here. I know you're all chomping at the bit to see my newest pics (did you catch the sarcasm?) but before I get to my update about that whole progress, I wanted to talk for a quick minute about how we help our kids stay physically fit as well.

As we started to prepare for the homeschool journey, and were trying to work out the schedule we would follow each day, my husband and I both agreed that we needed to work exercise into the routine EVERYDAY.  Or as we call it, "P.T." If you're a military family, you probably know what that means- but for you civilians (aka non-military) out there, it stands for Physical Training.
My husband and I both grew up in active families and remember fondly going to the rec center as a family, or going for a long bike ride together. We want to carry on that same tradition with our own little family. And with childhood obesity on the rise, (I just looked and its over 17% nationwide!!) I think it's more important than ever to teach our kids how important it is to take care of our bodies and to be physically active. Not to mention how much fun it can be! I always get a chorus of "YES!"es when I announce it is time for P.T.  

3 days a week, we use a flip book that my husband drew for us.
It has different sports,

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Ruler Growth Chart- How do you measure up?

I've got a couple things for show and tell today. First I'll show you how I made this-

Then you'll be able to see the rest of my upstairs hallway.
Speaking of show and tell, my son has his first loose tooth. A kid in my Kindergarten class once showed the class his loose tooth and I was SO jealous.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Figure Friendly Friday #3- Tight Tummy Tips

Those of you who have had a baby know that getting that flat tummy back after pregnancy is no easy task. I've been doing a lot of research on how to whittle my middle, battle the bulge, say goodbye to the gut, banish the jelly belly. Whichever alliteration you prefer, it all means the same thing. Get a tight tummy.  I came up with some pretty good tips that I wanted to pass a long. These work for everybody, not just new mommas!

1- Eat oatmeal and apples
A study done a few years ago of 90,000 people found that those who eat at least 10 grams of fiber a day, (especially those found in whole grains), had waists 3 inches smaller than those who ate little fiber. For the most benefit, get 25-30 grams a day. I knew oatmeal was a good source, but did you know apples are also a good source of soluble fiber? I didn't! 

2- Drink Orange Juice
A recent Harvard study makes the case for Vitamin D and calcium as weight loss aids. Researchers gave one group 3 daily glasses of OJ containing calcium and vitamin D, while another group drank the same amount of unfortified OJ each day. After 4 weeks, vitamin D and calcium group  lost nearly 10 times as much belly fat as those who drank regular juice. If you don't want to consume all those calories from 3 glasses of OJ, take a daily supplement with 450 IU of vitamin D, and 1,500 milligrams of calcium. Of course your standard dairy products provide lots of calcium! (just make them low fat or fat free)

3-No trans fats 
Research shows that trans fats (found in margarine, and lots of baked goods and salty snacks) may prompt  the creation of particular fat cells that tend to migrate toward the middle. Avoid any food that has hydrogenated (even partially) oils.

4- Chill out
When you are stressed you produce more of the hormone cortisol. When you eat it triggers insulin. Dr. Claire Wheeler who is an instructor at Portland State University's School of Community Health (thats a mouthful!) says"When these hormones are elevated they work together to store extra calories consumed in the form of belly fat." So try relaxing for a few minutes before meal time. A trick I found super helpful? Put my gadgets away. Easier said then done, but checking emails, usually isn't very relaxing. Not only will it help you relax, but you won't be distracted, so you'll be able to focus on eating and know when you are feeling full, and when its time to stop, rather than just mindlessly shoveling food in your mouth.

Lets move on to making those abs stronger. There are thousands of different ab exercises out there. All of them are good, but why not get more bang for your buck? Many researches suggest that the Bicycle Crunch tops the list of the most effective core exercises. 

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cheap way to display photos

I just spent an amazing long weekend with a bunch of family. My mom, aunt and grandparents spent a few days with us unexpectedly, so I've just been visiting and haven't been on the computer since Friday! But now I'm back and wanted to share with you all another project I just finished, that my fam went crazy for. (maybe grandparents just love anything that has to do with the babies?) Remember how I was saying how I try to have a lot of my kids pics on display? Well, here's another way I found to do just that.

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