Saturday, July 26, 2014

My 1 Week Clean & Healthy Eating Plan

Today I'm going to be sharing week 1 of a 4 week eating plan for myself.  I wanted to try and focus mainly on eating mostly clean and healthy without any processed foods and stick to whole natural foods.  Every one's opinion on "clean eating" differs.  Clean eating to me means no processed foods.  Foods that are in their original state.  Natural foods.  Foods that don't have any additives and foods that have fewer than 5 ingredients in their ingredient list.  But I'm going to be honest.  Some days I do use wheat or whole grain bread, wraps, and I even eat dairy (such as cottage cheese and greek yogurt.)  I don't want to cut things out of my life completely because lets be honest, what is a world without cheese?! How can you not ever eat a sandwich again? And I'm sorry, but I will never eat a burger that has no bun.  Lettuce, to me, is a burger TOPPING.  I don't want it to replace my bun. Does that mean I'm less dedicated than someone that would make those sacrifices? No, it doesn't.  It just means that it's my personal preference.  It means I am trying my best to be healthy and I feel like I make enough sacrifices that I don't need to cut everything out of my diet completely.  With making the change, for example, that I no longer will eat white bread and instead I will eat whole grain or whole wheat or high fiber flax bread, I think that small changes like that make a huge difference.  While wheat or whole grain isn't as healthy as choosing NO bread, it's my way of eating what I want but making a healthier choice than I used to. I don't feel deprived that I "can't" eat something.
When you feel deprived is usually when most people throw in the towel.  They feel as if they can't eat what they want so they'd rather not do it.  At least that's how I used to feel. But I can eat whatever I want, in moderation.  You'll notice two out of the seven days I went out to dinner.  I have kids.  I have a husband who likes to go out.  I can't always be home and follow a strict meal plan.  And frankly, I don't want to live my life confined to my home because I can't eat certain foods. That's not the way I want to live.  I allow myself takeout sometimes.  Maybe not Mcdonalds or Burger King, but I do like to eat Chinese take-out or Subway at times.  I mean, who the heck doesn't?!  Small changes to those certain foods make all the difference though.

Believe me.  I know that eating a certain way or staying on track with a strict eating plan takes hard work and dedication.  We all have our slip ups.  We all fail at times.  We all come to a point where we eat so well during the day and then BOOM, after dinner we're looking in the cabinet and stuffing our face with crackers or chips.  Oh lord.  Please tell me you do this too and it's not just me.  Okay fine, then lie to me and say I'm not alone!
Lets be honest.  We were intended to eat from this world.  We are supposed to eat from the foods life itself produces for us.  Anything from a bush, plant, or tree is the way we were intended to eat.  And I would have no problem eating that way.  If I was, lets say, Eve!  In the biblical days, I would have gladly eaten that way. Because that's the way we were made to eat.  No one knew of anything else.  But in the days where there are Goldfish crackers, kettle cooked potato chips, and brownie sundaes…who's really still eating from plants and bushes? Anyone?  Anyone? Let me see some hands...

I wanted to start this one month "challenge", I guess you could call it, because I wanted to not only prove something to myself but I wanted to show others that you can lose weight and be healthy without a giant budget.  The foods I have been eating are normal foods.  By normal foods I mean there was no expensive organic foods. (Which is probably the way to go, but grocery shopping for a family of 5, I like to stretch my money where I can).  There wasn't any meal replacement shakes, no pills, and certainly I was not eating a salad at every meal like most people think "dieters" do.  These were real meals that I cooked for myself and most of the time for my family.  (I usually cook a little different for them at times). Some of these meals are higher in protein, low in fat, maybe some might be higher in sugar. It all depends on that specific meal.  I try my best to not be a slave to numbers.  For me, I find it almost impossible to have the right balance of fat, carbs, protein, sugar, fiber, and everything else we think we have to keep track of on a daily basis.  Your day is not going to be perfect.  You will have days that you are super hungry.  You'll have days where you don't really feel like eating at all.  I just try to eat as healthy as possible without driving myself completely insane. Oh, and the food has to be delicious or I am NOT eating it!  I know, I'm like a bratty kid aren't I?

I'm going to be breaking down each day to show everyone exactly what I ate.  I thought it would maybe offer a little inspiration or give someone ideas on what you CAN eat when trying to change your body.  The food you fuel your body with doesn't have to be boring or bland.  It can be completely delicious without breaking the bank.  And you can have plenty of variety without being confined to salads and plain baked chicken.

So, lets jump into it.  Some meals I have links that direct to a recipe of mine.  Some have pictures, and others don't.  (I didn't feel the need to take pictures of a bag of pistachios or an apple.  I'd say that's pretty self explanatory right?)  Also, I've listed my snacks together but they are eaten whenever I feel hungry between meals. I try to eat 5-6 times a day. I allow myself one "cheat" meal or dessert per week.  For me, it throws my body off track a little and it also helps me keep my sanity and gives me some variety with what I eat.  Also, it helps me keep a little wiggle room for things such as birthday celebrations, holidays, or family outings. I drink only water with every meal and every few hours.  I drink no coffee (gasp!), no tea, no fruit juices, and no soda.  I never eat pork and it's extremely rare that I eat red meat.  Unfortunately, I don't do any type of seafood.  Not only do I not like the taste but the idea of what it is doesn't sit well with me.  I know, I'm a strange, strange person!  I try my best to drink 8 glasses of water but sometimes I only drink 4.  Some days I might drink 10.  And other days I might drink a measly 2 glasses.  That's something that needs to be worked on.  But I just try my best everyday.  That's all we can do, right?

You'll probably notice below too, that not everyday is the same. Some days are higher in calories. Some days are higher in carbs, fat, or lower in protein.  Some day are lower in calories because I was either too busy and on the go or I just wasn't that hungry to eat very much.  I don't follow strict numbers.  I just try and always stay above 1200 calories so my body doesn't think it's starving and I like to have a protein intake of at least 50g of protein.  I do notice from keeping track of my food, that I think I eat a larger amount of fat than I probably should be eating.  But my fat does come from healthy fats (such as avocados, natural peanut butter, olive oil, and cashews).  My sugar content could be better as well, but my sugar comes from natural sugar such as fruits and even vegetables! Who knew nature produced such sweet food??  When I workout I do try and eat at least 1800-2100 calories a day and around 100g of protein to feed my muscles after intense workouts.  But this week I didn't workout.  Not once!  ( I know, tsk, tsk! ) But I want to see the affect of exercise and diet for a two week period and compare the results.  And I want to see if it's really true that "Abs are made in the kitchen".

Sunday, July 13

Day 1:


-Tomato, Poached Egg, & Avocado on Whole Grain Toast with Hot Sauce


    Raw Veggies on a Sundried Tomato Basil Wrap.

*Ingredients Included: 
lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, olives, tomato, broccoli slaw, cucumber, shredded pepper jack cheese, and a tsp. of olive oil and vinegar.  


-2 Steamed Artichokes
-Baked Potato with 1 Tbsp. Lite Sour Cream & 1 Tbsp. Fresh Salsa ( You can find the Salsa recipe HERE )


-1/4 Cup pistachios
-1 Cup slices strawberries

Macros for the day: 1,452 Calories / 51g Fat / 64g Protein / 151 Carbs

Monday, July 14

Day 2:


- Chobani Coconut Yogurt with Dark Chocolate & Coconut


- 2 Steamed Artichokes 


-Hard Boiled Egg, Turkey Bacon, and Tomato on High Fiber Toast with 1 Tbsp. Light Mayo
-1 Cup Grapes



Ingredients Included:
1/4 Cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese on Wrap with 1 Tbsp. Lite Sour Cream / 1 Tbsp. Salsa

Macros for the day: 1,276 Calories / 46g Fat / 159 Carbs / 57g Protein

Tuesday, July 15

Day 3:


Strawberry/Chocolate/Banana Smoothie ( You can find the recipe HERE )


Veggie Stuffed Baked Potato with Cheese

*Ingredients Included: 
1 Russet Potato with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, red peppers, yellow peppers, & onions.. sauteed with cooking spray.  
Top with 1/8 Cup shredded cheddar cheese / 2 Tbsp. Lite Sour Cream.


-Buffalo Turkey Burger with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw ( You can find the recipe HERE )
-Carrot Fries ( slice carrots, toss with 1 tsp. olive oil and salt, bake 400 degrees until crispy )


-1/2 Cup Sliced Cucumbers
-1/2 Cup Sliced Yellow Bell Peppers
-3 Hard boiled Egg Whites

Macros for the day: 1.415 Calories / 47g Fat / 147 Carbs / 105g Protein

Wednesday, July 16

Day 4:


-Cottage Cheese Eggs
-Sliced Bell Peppers
*Ingredients Included: 
1 Large Egg + 2 Egg Whites Scrambled with 1/8 Cup 1% Cottage Cheese.  Topped with ketchup.


-Chicken Taco

*Ingredients Included: 
4oz chicken breast (sautéed and seasoned with Mrs. Dash Chipotle), olives, lettuce, avocado, tomato, lite sour cream, and salsa on a sundried tomato basil wrap.


-Homemade Sushi Topped With Homemade Yum Yum Sauce ( You can find the recipe HERE )


-No Bake Protein Squares ( I will be posting this recipe soon!)

Macros for the day: 1,491 Calories / 49g Fat / 127 Carbs / 70g Protein

Thursday, July 17

Day 5:


-Almond Joy Protein Shake ( You can find the recipe HERE )


-Salad with Skinny Blue Cheese Dressing ( You can find the recipe for blue cheese HERE )


-4 oz Chicken Breast Sauteed with Mushrooms and Onions
-1 Cup Sliced Apples with 1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
-1 Small Baked Potato with 1/2 Tbsp. Butter


-1 Small piece Carvel Ice Cream Cake ( it was my Mom's birthday )
-Honey Roasted Chickpeas ( You can find the recipe HERE )

Macros for the day: 1,336 Calories / 49g Fat / 128 Carbs / 87g Protein

Friday, July 18

Day 6:


-No Bake Protein Square


-Baked Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Ranch Dipping Sauce
Ingredients used: 4 oz cooked chicken breast (sautéed in hot sauce), 1/2 cup broccoli slaw, 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, drizzle of extra hot sauce.  Roll in a wrap then bake or grill until crispy.  Serve with lite ranch.


-Sauteed Broccoli (Chinese Takeout )
-1/2 Cup Rice


-1 Apple
-1/4 cup cashews

Macros for the day: 1,601 Calories / 47g Fat / 126 Carbs / 61g Protein

Saturday, July 19

Day 7:


-Oatmeal with Sliced Bananas


-Buffalo Turkey Meatballs ( You can find there recipe HERE )
-Sliced Celery & Carrots


-Italian Sandwich ( Out to dinner with my family )
-1 Mozzarella Stick
-Garlic Bread


-1 Kiwi
-1 Cup Grapes

Macros for the day: 1,368 Calories / 46g Fat / 102 Carbs / 75g Protein

Sunday, July 20

Day 8:


-1 Wheat Bagel w/ 1 Tbsp. almond butter
-1 Orange


-Garden Salad with Lite French Dressing
-1 Cup Steamed Broccoli


-4 oz Chicken Breast Roasted with Peppers & Onions
-2 Hard boiled Egg Whites
-1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese
-1 Cup. Boiled Brussel Sprouts


-1/2 Cup grapes
-1/2 Banana
-Chocolate Protein Shake

Macros for the day:  1,296 Calories / 21g Fat / 177 Carbs / 87g Protein

End of the Week Results:

Weight Lost: 2.2lbs
Inches Lost: 1

Now as you can see, the results weren't fantastic.  I certainly wasn't dancing around my house at these results.  But this was with no exercise at all.  This was strictly eating healthier and drinking as much water as I could handle. And also, weight is a factor.  I don't weigh that much to begin with, so my weight loss and progress might be a lot slower than some people. 

I'm curious to see how the next few weeks will turn out.  I'm wondering if I'm going to hit a plateau or if exercise will dramatically increase my weight loss and overall inches lost.  

Keep checking back where I will be posting my next week's eating plan and results.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Honey Roasted Chickpeas

My name is Tina.  And I'm addicted to snacking.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step.  And I certainly love to snack.  But what's worse is that I love to snack at night.  I stay up late and the hours after dinner until I finally lay my head on a darn pillow is just way too long to go without eating.  I try and make my snack choices as healthy as I possibly can.  But sometimes I just need something sweet, savory, or salty.  That's why these roasted chickpeas are awesome because they're all three rolled into one snack!

They're so simple to make and perfect for taking on the go.  And it gives me a healthy option so that I'm not reaching for the chips or anything sweet to undo all the hard work I did during the day.


  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with foil sprayed with non stick cooking spray.

Drain the chick peas in a strainer and rinse for a few minutes with cold water.  You can choose to leave the skins on or remove them.  Pour the chickpeas into a towel or paper tower and pat dry.

In a small bowl combine oil, honey, and sugar.  It will become a crumbly paste. Add in chickpeas and toss until the sugar mixture has melted slightly and all the beans are coated.

Spread the chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and toss.  Place back in the oven for another ten minutes and repeat.  Cook and toss until your chickpeas start to brown.  Usually takes about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn on broiler.  Broil for 5 minutes until extra crispy.  (This step is optional).

Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt and mix.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Nutritional Info:
Makes: 3 servings
Serving size: 1/2 Cup
Calories: 181
Fat: 4g
Protein: 7g
Carbs: 32g

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese 'Slaw

Looking for a new way to spice up turkey burgers?  Look no more!  This buffalo turkey burger with blue cheese slaw is the perfect way to spice up that boring 'ol burger.  The little kick you get from the burger mixed with the cool creaminess of the slaw makes this burger the perfect summer time sandwich.

I wanted to grill mine (which I suggest to do) but surprise, surprise!  It was RAINING once again.  Seriously, why is Florida known as the Sunshine State?!  That is a complete false statement! Alright, I'm sorry.  Back on track.  I did grill mine on the George Forman grill but I would recommend grilling them to get that yummy, summer time taste to it.


For the slaw:
For the burgers:
  • 1 Package lean ground turkey ( I prefer extra lean )
  • 1 Tbsp. diced onion
  • 1/4 Cup hot sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 Tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5 Whole wheat hamburger buns


In a medium bowl combine broccoli slaw and the blue cheese dressing and mix until well combined.  Set in the fridge until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, diced onion, hot sauce, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Make 5 equal size patties.

Cook patties on the grill or in a skillet until cooked through.  Add 1/4 shredded cheddar to each burger and heat until melted.  

Place patty on a whole wheat bun and top with blue cheese slaw and drizzle with extra hot sauce for more of a kick.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Family's Fourth of July Celebration

Well, this certainly isn't my typical DIY or recipe post.  I thought I'd share all about our family's Fourth of July celebration.  I don't have any beautifully lit pictures.  I don't have staged photos.  This is just my real 4th of July pictures because I wanted to capture the true party.  It was such a nice time for all of my family to be together.  I had family here from New Jersey, my family, my husband's family, and of course my kiddos!  It was a joyous time to talk about the "old days", reminisce, and laugh.  And I guess writing this post, I want to remember all of the fun, the laughs, and the memories we all shared that day.

We did a typical BBQ but I wanted to make it a little more special for everyone.  I didn't want to make an overabundance of food (which I think we all do when having guests over) but I tried my best not to do that.  I failed miserably.  I was eating left overs for days.  I'm not kidding.

In the afternoon, around 1:30 I put out some snacks that would keep everyone satisfied until all the actual food was ready.  I don't know why I always do this.  Because I ended up getting full and didn't really WANT the actual food.  I wonder if I'll ever actually learn and not continue to do this.  I'm going to say no.  No I won't.

A simple "snack station" that included cheese and crackers, potato chips and dip, punch, and firecrackers.  ( You can find the recipe for FIRECRACKERS here )

Underneath the table I had a cooler full of soda, water, and beer as well.

The punch was just a simple recipe my mom has been making for years.  It's a liter of sprite, half of a bottle of Hawaiian punch, and orange sherbet on top.

I didn't overly decorate the tables because I wanted to have enough room for the things people actually cared about, which was the delicious food!  ( I have some FREE 4th of July Printables that you can print HERE )

After enough time went by, my husband went outside to grill up burgers, hot dogs, and ribs.  And oddly enough, I didn't get a picture of them!  Do you believe it? ME? Not take a picture of something?  I know, absurd.  I guess I was just too hungry,  I apologize.  It's sad to know you won't be able to drool over the photos.  Kidding.  Sort of.

After everything was almost done being grilled up, I set up the tables.  I decided to make a "Burger Station" and a "Hot Dog Station".  I figured it would give people more opportunity to try new things instead of the typical lettuce, tomato, and onion toppings.  I might have went slightly overboard but the possibilities of what people could make were endless.

For the Burger Station the toppings included:
  • Tomato
  • Raw Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Hot Peppers
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Big Mac Copycat Sauce
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Bbq Sauce

I made some labels (which you can find HERE ) and attached them to a wooden skewer that I had cut down and stuck the skewer into the styrofoam bowls.

I also made the burger suggestion cards that you see in the picture above.  I thought it would be fun to suggest some toppings to put on the burgers to try something new.  I found the combinations on some restaurant websites and Google.

For the Hot Dog Station the toppings included:
  • Raw Chopped Onion
  • Sauteed Onions
  • Relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • A Special Hot Dog BBQ Sauce
You can find the hot dog labels HERE

For the side dishes I made:

  • Cowboy Beans ( Pinterest it, you will NOT be sorry )
  • Potato Salad ( Recipe HERE )
  • Coleslaw ( Recipe HERE )
  • Striped Deviled Eggs ( Recipe HERE )
  • Corn on the Cob ( which I boiled with a stick of butter in the water and it was the BEST corn I have ever had )

I picked up these inexpensive bottles and simply wrapped them with some labels I had made.  Typical BBQ essentials, I think!

After sitting around the table laughing, talking, and completely making pigs of ourselves we sat and digested a short time and then it was dessert time. The thought of eating anything else made me sick!  But what's a good party without dessert?  Do people even have parties without dessert?

I kept it pretty simple because I knew (from many, many times before ) that everyone would just be too full to enjoy anything.  So I kept it pretty small.

The dessert included:
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Donuts
  • Cheesecake
  • Oreo Trifle ( Recipe HERE )
  • Yellow Flag Cake
  • Watergate Salad ( made by my mother-in-law )

My Aunt brought the donuts and cheesecake and obviously they were store bought.  I'm pretty good at baking, but I'm not THAT good!

I hollowed out a piece of the watermelon to hold the cut pieces of fruit.  Using a star cookie cutter, I cut some shapes of pineapple.  You can't eat the middle of the fresh pineapple anyway, so I thought it would be a cute way to jazz it up.  I just stuck them on skewers to pretty it up, as well.

I had seen this idea on Pinterest a while back and thought it would be perfect for the kids.  Just slice up your watermelon and put them on popsicle sticks.  Made it so much easier for them to eat!

The eating was finally over! And I was thankful.  I couldn't breathe.  And I was glad I decided to wear pants that didn't have a button.  

We bought a whole bunch of fireworks, sparklers, and poppers and all just sat outside enjoying the warm weather and the fireworks. 

It was certainly a nice day.  And I felt blessed.  Not only to have people around me who I love, but to be able to enjoy the freedom of our day in a wonderful country.  It was certainly a HAPPY birthday for America.

Skinny Blue Cheese Dressing

I have to admit, when I was younger I HATED blue cheese.  Now, I can drink it out of the bottle.  Well, okay…maybe not.  But I do love it.  And I eat it with just about anything.  But if you ever read the back of the bottle ( or any salad dressing bottle for that matter ) it was full of unnecessary ingredients that I just wasn't happy with putting into my body.

Making your own salad dressing when possible is great because you can control the ingredients that go into it and you know exactly what you're eating.

This dressing isn't only great on salads.  It's really good with raw veggies, on buffalo chicken wraps, or anything else you'd like to add it to.


  • 1 container (5.3 oz) plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. light mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl, mash together blue cheese crumbles and yogurt with a fork.
Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving so flavors can blend together.

Makes: 1 Cup
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Fat: 3g
Calories: 47
Carbs: 3g

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Almond Joy Protein Shake

I love to experiment with protein shakes.  Start off with a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry protein powder base and the ingredients you can add in are endless.  I always try and recreate or make something that tastes somewhat similar to a food that I love to eat, but can only eat in moderation.  And candy, I think, is one of the biggest foods people try and recreate when eating healthier.  We all want the taste, but don't want everything else that comes with eating a piece of candy.

 I usually try to add in peanut butter to my shakes because, to me, it tastes like a peanut butter cup.  But when trying to make a shake that has fewer grams of fat, unfortunately, peanut butter is a big no no.  I know.  It makes me sad, too.

If there's one thing that I love just as much as I love peanut butter, it's coconut.  Mix coconut with chocolate and I'll forget all about my peanuty, creamy friend.  Please don't tell him.  I still do love him.

This protein shake contains 30g of protein and 310 calories, making it a GREAT breakfast if you're on the go or you're just not that hungry in the morning.


  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 5 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.