Friday, April 30, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...why did you crack?

I woke up very sleepy and just wanted to stay in bed. It's been a busy week and Friday morning it's drizzling outside. Ahhh, this is the kind of morning where you just want to snuggle down. It's also the kind of morning where I am having trouble opening my eyes or crawling out of bed.

I opened up my computer and tried to focus on the words as my eyes were still half asleep. And I see that my friend (or I thought she was my friend LOL) Shelley has given me a blog award.

This blog award comes with a price. You'll see in a minute.
The rules of this award are:

1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER!

2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:
(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
(c) Write a “Soundtrack of your childhood” post.
(d) Make your next blog a ‘vlog’/video blog. Basically, you’re talking to the camera about whatever.
(e) Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, make up, etc) and post it.

3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers as yourself. Don’t forget to tell them.

Option 1 sounded like so much fun but, alas, the calories. Plus grammar, spelling and all inhibitions go out the window with drogging (drunk blogging). So I decided against it while I was still sober.

Option 2: honestly, I've had so many embarrassing moments that it's hard to choose. I've fallen on my face in public more times than I can count. It's just part of life for me. I wonder why my mother didn't name me Grace.

Let's see, I had a great childhood. I don't know how to do a vlog (video blog) though I do have a video camera.

So that leaves you, my lucky reader, a chance to see me first thing in the morning. I am so so sorry for this. It's not pretty. It's just what I look like first thing in the morning. No hair brushing, eyes still puffy, sitting in bed without a bra (TMI?), checking email, drinking a Rock Star.

Without further ado, I give you the ungroomed, still sleepy me.

Geez. Glad that's over. Is the image seared into your brain? LOL I asked hubby to take the picture and he gave me a strange look. Like, "Seriously? You want to share this with the world?"

Now to share the love:

1. Marissa at Loser for Life. She has always been so supportive and her sweet personality comes through in every post on her blog. Plus she always has the most drool-worthy pictures and recipes. It's a fun blog to visit.

2. Lori at Finding Radiance. I've gleaned so much information from her. She's such an inspiration and very supportive. I always love reading her blog.

3. Anne at Carb Tripper. Anne always shares her life through beautiful pictures. She's always been so encouraging to me and she seems like such a lovely person.


Thursday:

We had such a great time at the beach that we decided to go again. This time I picked up some low cal hot dogs and wheat buns and all of the fixins. I kidnapped Chuck from work and we headed out for a great day.

But the wind was much stronger today. Sand was being blown into the air, the waves were crashing and the water was muddy looking. Anything we tried to snack on had the grit of sand in it.

I brought 3 kites and only one survived, though badly injured. The wind beat the crap out of them. One took a pretty bad nose dive and broke into a couple of pieces.

Instead of cooking gritty hot dogs, we went out to Tortuga on the Seawall then headed home.
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Last day of April! Yeah!!! I am so ready for May and getting serious about this fitness and weight loss thing.

Have you thought about your goals? More importantly, have you planned on how to achieve those goals? The small steps? We can do it!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life's a Beach

Wednesday was such a beautiful day that I just got a wild hair and took the kids to the beach.

I picked up some Little Caesar's pizza (I know..very healthy, right? It was cheap.) and we had a picnic at Galveston Island State Park. We also had some beggars watching us eat.
Galveston is not known for its beautiful beaches but it was very nice today. The beach was clean, the sand was whitish, and the water was blue green. I had also picked up a big bag of sand toys for the kids on the way. They got right to work building sand castles.
Charlie has always enjoyed building. He could spend hours doing this.
The water was still pretty cold. It took a while to get acclimated. Here Rachel and my niece try to decide if they want to stay in the water or get out.
Rachel had fun looking at shells and digging up little clams and watching them burrow back into the sand.
Rachel and Katelyn found some pretty shells and handfuls of clams.
The whole gang decided to go swimming. I put down my camera and its inferior camera, took off my bodybugg, and joined them. It was so cold at first but you get used to it. We rode the waves and splashed around and had a great time.
The park has rinse off showers now and very nice bathrooms. They are still recovering from hurricane Ike. The lady at the office told me that they are going to build a completely new park in a few years. They are working on the plans now. I'm glad because we have so many great memories of camping at this park.
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For my other camping friends who might be in the area, the park now has some sites with water and electric and they have bathrooms with showers now. The hurricane really did a number on this place. The back row of camping sites is now the front row. Ike has claimed a few yards of the Texas coast and the beach has moved forward.
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After rinsing off and getting changed into some dry clothes, we headed over to the bay side of the park across the highway. I took the kids on a short trail where Charlie caught a hermit crab for us to watch then release. We also got to see a blue crab.
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It was a great day. No one really wanted to head home but I insisted at 5pm that it was time to make our way back.
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Got home and made a healthy chicken teriyaki dish with lots of veggies over rice.
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And I'd like to share something that I spotted recently:
Dude! I want to drive like a Rock Star! Love the truck.
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Some sad news: I put it off as long as possible. Last night I got an email from an organizer of the Galloway Training Team in Houston. She was so upbeat and said to look for her and she wanted me on her team, etc. She sent me some postcard attachments of the big kickoff happening this weekend. I finally had to tell her that I can't join this season. Things are kind of dry where my hubby works. They are predicting a lean summer. I have to save money where I can. No big expenses for a while.
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I did tell her that I wanted to join in next season. And I'm also going to be training on my own. It's disappointing but I won't let it stop me. I'm going to be my own drill sergeant and push myself to run my first half marathon. I want to have my mini van proudly sport an oval 13.1 sticker. :)
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My friend Connie is going to be having a couple of giveaways this week. Be sure to check out her blog when you get a chance.
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One more day left in April. May 1st is this Saturday. Time to think about your goals for next month. What do you want to achieve? What is your plan to get to your goal? Please share in the comments. I know we can all glean motivation from each other. Whether you want to lose weight or you want to achieve a fitness goal, leave me a comment and share.
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I'll be posting my goals tomorrow. And I will be sticking to them. I'll be showing myself some tough love in May.
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Oh and I also turn 39 in May. But inside I'm still 17. :)







Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Queen of Maintaining

April has not been a glorious month of weight loss for me. I've been a slacker. There, I admit it. But I have maintained my 190 pounds quite nicely, thank you very much.

Monday I took the kids (including my niece who is spending the week with us) to Brazos Bend State Park for a little hike. It turned into a nice 5 mile hike where we saw all kinds of neat stuff: alligators, bullfrogs, birds, beautiful flowers, blackberries growing wild.

At one point there were three alligators in the path. I wasn't exactly sure what to do. Me, being the Miss Adventure that I am, shooed a gator away. It got up and moved a little out of the way then just layed down with his legs spread out. He made it clear that he didn't want anything to do with us.

There was another part where a very large alligator way trying to sleep on the trail and another was just coming out of the water behind it, which meant we had to walk between two very large gators. When I say very large I mean about 10 feet. That's pretty big to me. But they weren't interested in us either. One of them even closed his eyes and went to sleep. Awwww, cute scary lizard. I shot a video of the whole thing. It was like Walking with Dinosaurs home edition.

Also saw birds eating crawfish, bullfrogs hopping across a path and even one alligator bellowing. Very cool stuff.

At the end of it all, the kids were pretty tired. I think I heard someone snoring from the back seat on the way home.

Tuesday we did school most of the day and then it was time to take Rachel to her dance workshop. She is learning how to two step, jitterbug, and other fun stuff. Some of the girls like to dance barefoot so Rachel thought she would try that too. It probably works out well if your partner knows how to dance. If he doesn't, you end up with a bleeding toe and a crushed toenail. Poor Rachel.

While she was in dance class I took the kids to a scenic park and walked around. It was such a gorgeous day.

Tuesday I was feeling really low about weight loss, exercising....really everything. I even caught myself making negative comments. "I'll never lose this weight so why bother." I was feeling defeated and I'm not really sure why. Was it the scale that seems to go no lower than 190? Was it that I haven't exercised on a regular schedule? What was it? I had some sweet tea vodka and a piece of fudge.

I just felt so poorly about myself and I have no idea why. Biggest Loser was a help. I felt so motivated after watching that. It kind of slapped me back into the right frame of mind. I needed that.

Wednesday: Today I am feeling optimistic again. I am looking forward to May so I can start with a clean slate and make a new start. A renewed dedication to keeping on schedule and watching every single thing that goes into my mouth and losing weight.

Is there anyone else out there that needs May to be a clean slate? A new start? A renewed dedication? You're free to join me and we can encourage each other along the way. Let's face it: weight loss has got to be one of the most difficult goals to achieve. But we can do it! It's not easy but it is worth it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Battle of San Jacinto and other fun stuff

Friday:

I knew it was going to be a busy day and the only way to get some exercise in would be to get up early and just do it. Since I had my less than stellar run on Thursday, I was just going to walk for 30-45 minutes. Somewhere after mile 1 I decided I really needed to run just to make sure I could still do it. I chose a landmark (a canal) in the neighborhood and ran all the way there. 1.26 miles! Yeah. I can still do it! And it felt great except that the morning was very hot and humid and I sweating even more than I usually do. Way to go, me! :)

My mom came to town with my niece and nephew. It was so good to see everyone again. As soon as they got here we had to leave to take Rachel to her 4H class. While she was in there, we browsed some gardens and just enjoyed the beautiful day.

Rachel's class lets out at 3pm and we are all starving! I stop by Domino's on the way home and pick up some medium cheese and pepperoni pizzas. I figure I'll have one to hold me off until dinner time. Nope. I ate 7 of the darn things. Fortunately for me I had burned quite a few calories throughout the day so in the end I still had a 600 calorie deficit. Still, I should not have had all of that pizza. I felt like a bottomless pit!

Saturday:

Saturday is my exercising day off but I still had an active rest day and burned a decent amount of calories.

After Chuck made a wonderful breakfast for us all, we went to the reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto. It was so crowded but the weather couldn't have been any more perfect.
The actors really played the crowd and got the kids involved. They had tents set up to show them how they lived and how to do different things. I think they had a lot of fun.
All of them were so friendly. We got to pet the horses too.
The cannons were my favorite. Here a replica of one of the Twin Sisters (two cannons that were gifts to Texas from Cincinnati, Ohio) is being fired. We had a blanket spread out on the ground and got a great view of the whole thing. These cannons would shake the ground. It was amazing.
We were seated closer to the Mexican side of the battle so we saw their part of the battle more clearly. Once some pyrotechnics went off and the hay near their cannons caught on fire. Not part of the plan. They got the fire put out though.
Chuck took so many great pictures. I wish I could share them all.
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We did a lot of walking to see the sights and also because we had to park so far away. We bought some street food to share with each other for lunch. Did you know that they don't sell any healthy options at these places?! Chuck and I shared some fajita nachos and some shrimp po boy. I didn't have a whole lot so I think I did decently.
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It was a lot of fun and we were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day.
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Sunday:
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Chuck cooks another great breakfast for us all. I had planned to go running but standing up all day on Saturday made my legs hurt pretty bad. Mostly behind my knees. I didn't feel like getting out there and making it worse.
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Mom has to go home and I have to take Rachel to a teen meet up at the mall. Drop her off and head to Cost Plus World Market. I love that store! So many cool things. I got some wine and this little guy:
Bacon and chocolate together? I was sceptical but I couldn't leave without it. You know what? It's really good! You don't get a bacon taste with it. Mostly just a little smoky salty flavor every now and then. You know it's good. Think about when you've had pancakes and some of the bacon gets in the syrup. That sweet and salty go so well together. I'd love to have a giveaway of some of this stuff. Just so you can say you've tried it. Bacon is, after all, the candy bar of meat. :)
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Sunday was my worst day as far as eating and calories go. I was just terrible. The rest of the weekend I made sure that I stayed within my calorie range but not on Sunday. So I need to work hard this week.
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It's Monday now. Back to reality and exercising and counting calories and doing school with the kids. It's going to be another busy week. My niece is staying the week with us. I'll post as often as I can.
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Hope you all have a terrific week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Overdue Post: Dow Live Earth Run For Water 5K Recap

I am so late on posting my little 6K recap. Better late than never, right? :)

April 18, 2010
Got the kids up before the crack o' dawn. Every one looked like walking zombies around the house. I had every one set out their clothes the night before so all they would have to do is slip them on. No thinking required.

I was expecting parking to be a nightmare downtown but it wasn't bad at all! We parked right around the corner from the starting line. Shelley had been there for a while already. I think she was expecting some parking hazards as well. She and her hubby came in the night before and stayed in a hotel. It was so good to see her again!

We got our race "packet" which turned out to be our shirt and a number. What? No goodie bag? I know this may seem a little childish but part of the fun of a race is getting to dig through the goodie bag. I look forward to it. I only pouted for a little while though.

Visited the restrooms before the race. No port-o-potties here. We're talking real bathrooms!

Then it was time to line up at the start line. As you can see we were pretty far in the back.

I had signed us up to walk the race, therefore we weren't being timed. So we walked some and ran some. Shelley, being the runner that she is, took off with the crowd. I stayed behind with the family. Not really so sure I could have kept up with her anyway.
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We just took our time and enjoyed the race. Charlie and Rachel weren't too thrilled with it at first. Rachel's pants are obviously too loose now and they kept slipping down. Charlie decided somewhere along the way that the race was actually a lot of fun! Rachel never reached the same conclusion.
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This was Chuck's first time to be involved in a road race. This was a 6k. Why a 6K?? Because this race was to raise money for people in Haiti who typically have to walk 6K just to get fresh water.
I took pictures and just had a good time with the family. We even stopped to get a pose under a bridge.Chuck got Rachel running from one light post to another and then walking from one light post to another. She was not a happy runner.
Somewhere along the way Shelley passed us on the way back to the finish line. Go, Shelley!!! Look at that girl run!
We did get to see some lovely views of the city. I waved at people sitting at traffic lights below us on the overpasses. Waved at some cops. Yeah, I was really enjoying myself and feeling great.
Chuck and Rachel running again.
Here we were coming around a bend and I was telling Charlie that the finish line was just up ahead. He had been acting like he was dying until this point. All of a sudden he was ready to go. I told him to go ahead and give it all he's got.
And he did. (Thanks to Shelley's husband, Jeff, for taking the picture)
And then Chuck, Rachel and I were almost to the finish line. (thanks again to Jeff)
Crossing the finish line with a last burst of energy. And be sure to take a gander at that time! Woohoo! How's that for a lightning fast 6K? LOL Hey, at least I had fun with the family and got to see my blogger buddy.
Post race picture with red faces.
We sat around listening to door prizes being given away. I swear they called out every number around Shelley's bib number but missed her every time. It was kind of comical.
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We missed the post race fruit but they did have some lukewarm Pepsi cans in a wading pool available and some cold Jack in the Box greasy tacos and cold chicken sandwiches. Gross!!! I know there is a lot that goes into planning an event like this. I get that. But a goodie bag and some post race refreshments would have been nice.
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We went home to get showered and cleaned up then met Shelley and Jeff at Pappasito's Mexican Cantina for some victuals.
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The cleaned up blogger buddies.
I had an awesome fajita burrito. It was huge! I had maybe half.
After we left the restaurant Chuck realized that he left the expensive Canon camera at the table hanging on the back of his chair. We rushed back to the restaurant as quick as my mini van would take us. I think we were on two wheels turning a corner once. Fortunately, the camera was still there. Heart attack avoided.
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It was great to see Shelley and Jeff again and to spend a morning with my family on the streets. I hope the running bug catches on with Chuck, Charlie and Rachel. It would be fun to run more races together.
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This week has been on track with food and exercise again. Yeah!
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I'm trying to burn 2500 calories per day and eat 1500. So far, so good.
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Wednesday I did 52 minutes of Just Dance on the Wii. Love that game! And you really do burn a decent amount of calories.
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Thursday (today) I went for a run before the kids even woke up. This was one of those runs where I question why I even do this. You know what I mean? It was just sucky from the very beginning. I was gasping for air like I just started running again. I hated the entire time. But I did it. That's what matters. 30 minutes of running 2:1 intervals took me to 2.32 miles. When I ran I was at 6.4 mph each time! I know I'll get to where I want to be. Just have to keep working at it.
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On an unrelated note, there was a huge cottonmouth snake in our back yard today. I thought it might just be a non-venomous water snake at first but it wasn't. Cottonmouths stink and this one was putting off a smell to try to get my collie to leave it alone. I stuck a board up to it to make it strike to see if it were indeed a cottonmouth and when it struck I knew. Not sure where it is now. Sure hope it left and won't come back. They give me the creeps.
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This weekend is going to be a fun and busy one. My mom comes tomorrow to spend the weekend. Then I take Rachel to 4H. Saturday we are planning on going to see the reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto where Texas won her freedom. Should be fun. Sunday Rachel has a teen gathering at the mall and I have my long run. My niece is going to spend next week with us.
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So if you don't hear from me for a couple of days you know why.
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And I'd like to close by saying that my bathroom scale is a dirty, rotten liar! Hate it. That's all. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Catching Up: Galveston & High Island Trip

Before I go back in time to Saturday's happenings, I guess I should do a quick review of yesterday.

Tuesday was one of the busiest days I've had in a long time. I actually had to make up a schedule so I knew where I'd be heading all day.
9-10:30: school with the kids
11:take Charlie to PE
11:30-12:30: While Charlie was in PE, Rachel and I ran for 30 minutes along with a 5 minute warm up and cool down.
1:20: home and eat lunch. quickly bathe and get cleaned up
2:20 stop by bank; take Rachel to dance workshop
3:10 stop by library to pick up books
3:30 stop by a park to check out a possible canoe launch site
4:00 get Rachel and head home
4:30 get home and throw clothes in the wash
5:20 go pick up dinner at Pei Wei
7:00 start watching Biggest Loser while folding clothes

Here is a great tip to burn extra calories: During the commercials of your favorite show, jog or walk in place. You can even do jumping jacks or jump rope with an imaginary rope.

I started jogging in place during the commercials and was able to get in 32 minutes of exercise and earn a decent amount of calories.

It was a long day yesterday and I slept hard when I got in bed. I'm so happy to be out exercising again.

My run wasn't stellar: 2.3 miles in 30 minutes. The track is gravel and winds all over the place with some sharp curves that make you slow down. Plus there were little bitty kids doing their PE exercises. They would run past me then stop right in front of me. They did it over and over again. I almost plowed over some of them. I felt heavy running. I guess I need to build back up since I took so much time off due to allergies and laziness. :)

Calorie Deficit: -1130 (yeah!!!)


Now we'll travel back in time. It's Saturday, April 17th. A time in the distant past. LOL
I know. I'm posting this late but I wanted to share my day with you. We had so much fun.

We met at Sims Bayou Nature Center at 8:30 then drove to Galveston to see the tree sculptures. As a result of Hurricane Ike a couple of years ago, the huge live oak trees died when the island flooded with saltwater. Many have been cut down but some were carved into beautiful sculptures by artists. The trees are still rooted in the ground where they stood. Some are in yards and some are along the street.
You can get a map of their locations here. You can see more pics and read more about it here.











After viewing some of the amazing sculptures, we took a ride on the ferry from Galveston to Bolivar. Along the way we got to feed the seagulls.

We met our guide at Bolivar Flats. He is a fascinating man who travels all over the world conducting bird watching tours through his company Tropical Birding.

Charlie enjoyed playing in the mud and finding critters like snails.
We went to Rollover Pass and got to see even more birds. These skimmers don't sleep like other birds. They lay down flat on the ground.
Pelicans were everywhere.


Then we went to a place on High Island called Smith Oaks where there is an amazing rookery.
There were cormorants, egrets and these spoonbills nesting all over the place!
These spoonbills were making a nest. It was fascinating.
I love the flowing feathers of the egrets. They look so elegant.
Check out the "hair" on this guy. LOL These guys were characters. One would get a stick and bring it to his/her mate and he/she would place it in the nest.
After all of the fun, we rode the ferry back to Galveston and ate at Fish Tales. It was a great day. I want to go back and do it all again. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Simply Delicious Strawberry Pie (only 158 calories)

I'm tired and I've had a long, busy day but there was no way I was heading off to Dreamland without sharing this awesome strawberry pie recipe.

Rachel made it with our abundance of strawberries that are all over the kitchen and are slowly making their way to the freezer.
Simply Delicious Strawberry Pie

1 (.3 oz) box sugar free strawberry Jell-O
1 (3 oz) box vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
2 cups water
2 cups slices strawberries (I used my boiled egg slicer to slice them quickly)
Reduced fat graham cracker crust
whipped cream, optional and not included in calorie count

Combine Jello, pudding and water. Cook until thickened. Add strawberries and gently blend. Turn into graham cracker crust. Chill 3-4 hours or overnight. Garnish with whipped cream.
Serves 8
Calories 158; Fat 3.7g; Carbs 28.4 g; Fiber 2; Protein 2.2g

This is so simple to make. Rachel needed no help from me. But the results are amazing. Make it. You won't be disappointed.

And now, I'm off to bed. I hope to share my pictures and experiences of Saturday tomorrow. Then the big Sunday recap but you can get a preview over at Shelley's blog.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

I have a lot of catching up to do. Seems like I've been busy from the time I wake up until the time I went to bed.

Good news: I think I've finally recovered from allergies. I had a couple more off days last week but I think the worst is over. It was tough this year!

OK, I tried a new recipe that was soooooo good. It doesn't look too pretty but the flavor is great. Trust me. Hey, even my kids ate it. That should tell you something. :)

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 can fat free cream mushroom soup (I used cream of celery)
1 can fat free cream chicken soup
1 can water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies (I blended it so there were no chunks)
1 1/2 c rice
1 pkg taco seasoning
cilantro and green onions chopped (optional)
frozen boneless,skinless chicken breasts (I used defrosted & chopped chicken into chunks)
shredded cheddar cheese

13x9 in glass casserole dish with cooking spray. whisk soups, water and taco seasoning in bowl then pour into bottom of dish. sprinkle rice over soups. place chicken breasts FROZEN over soup and rice. pour beans and tomatoes over chicken, cilantro and green onions sprinkled on top. Cover with foil, bake 350 degrees 1 hour,40 min. remove foil, sprinkle shredded cheese over to melt.

Servings: 12
Calories:240.5
Fat: 2.8g
Carbohydrates: 19.1g
Protein: 32.6g



Friday we took the kids to pick strawberries at Froberg's Vegetable Farm. There were strawberries everywhere! The pictures don't do it justice. I have never seen so many berries. Charlie got right to it.
Rachel is a strawberry fiend. She could have just sat there and eaten them all morning.
There were some really strange shaped ones and some enormous ones.
We picked way more than we had planned. It's kind of hard to stop once you start picking.
Now I have a kitchen counter overflowing with berries. We're going to make a strawberry pie and then freeze most of the rest for making smoothies.
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The farm had big flats of small strawberries already picked and on sale for $2 per box! We had enough berries to last us a while. :)
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I have so many pictures to share of Saturday and Sunday happenings but I'll space them out between posts so I don't overwhelm you. LOL
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Eating has been great up until Friday then it was not too terrific. Saturday was good until dinner time. Friday was not too great but not terrible. Sunday was busy nonstop. Had lunch with Shelley at Pappasitos. I had a few chips and some cheese dip and a bit of burrito. I'll tell you all about that in a post soon. And after grocery shopping and other errands we ended up at our favorite Chinese restaurant. But my calorie burn was fantastic on Sunday. :)
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Now that the allergies are out of the way I am happy to have my exercise groove back on. I've got to find some time to catch up with blogs!
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Hope you had a wonderful weekend.