Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ever Heard of MUFA Foods?

Yesterday I was cleaning out a drawer and stumbled across a copy of Prevention magazine from 2 years ago. On the front cover they were advertising a diet that claims I can lose 7 pounds in 4 days - so I had to read it. After reading the article, I was surprised to find that this is a diet I actually think I can do. Tomorrow I will post the instructions for the actual diet, but today I am going to tell you a little about this mysterious MUFA food.

MUFA is short for "Monounsaturated Fats." MUFAs are good fats that come from plant foods like nuts, avocados and olives. MUFAs have been found to help people lose small amounts of weight and overall body fat - all without exercising or lowering their calorie intake! Not only that, but MUFAs prevent the build up of that unsightly belly fat - which also lowers our heart disease risks and type 2 diabetes.

So, just what qualifies for a MUFA food? There are 5 different types of MUFAs. The first basically consists of any type of oil with a plant base. Examples are: Flaxseed oil, olive oil, walnut oil, canola oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil or peanut oil. This can easily be incorporated into a daily meal just by cooking with the oil. You can also drizzle it over salads and grilled meat. One serving is equivelant to 1 Tablespoon.

The second type of MUFAs are from Nuts and Seeds. These include, but are not limited to, Almonds, Peanuts, dry-roasted cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. You can even get this particular type of MUFA from chunky natural peanut butter and sunflower seed butter. One serving size is equal to 2 Tablespoons.

The thrid type of MUFAs come from Avocados. I am not a huge avocado fan, but thought it went pretty nicely with the Spicy Steak Taco recipe I posted on here a while back. Prevention magazine provided the idea of mashing it with lime juice, salt and pepper and serving with chips, or even chopping and folding in with store-bought salsa. One serving size is 1/4 cup.

The fourth type of MUFAs are Olives! This is probably my favorite type right here. I am a HUGE green olive nut. I go to the fridge regularly for a snack of green olives. It's nice to know that these are healthy for me. Both green olives and black olives are great. A serving size is 10 large olives or 2 Tablespoons of tapenade.

Finally, the last type of MUFA is found in - drumroll please - CHOCOLATE! Yep, you read that right - I did say chocolate! I imagine I have several of you on the other side of the screen smiling now while thinking this may be possible to do after all. The best types of chocolate are dark or semisweet chocolate chips, shavings or chunks. One serving size is 1/4 cup.

Be sure to check back tomorrow and find out how Prevention magazine claims you can "Lose 7 pounds in 4 days" by incorporating these MUFA foods in your daily diet.

* Information was found in the February 2008 issue of Prevention magazine.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quesadilla Casserole

I have stumbled upon another great recipe that I just have to share with you! Once again, this recipe came from Rachel Ray's magazine Every Day with Rachel Ray. I must say that if you have not read this magazine then you are missing out. It is FULL of amazing meal ideas that are worth trying! Last night I decided to try the Quesadilla Casserole and, to no one's surprise, it turned out great. The only change I made was that I added ground turkey to satisfy my meat-loving husband. It turned out great!


3 T. Vegetable Oil
3/4 C. Chopped Onion
1 29 oz. Can of Black Beans, drained with 1/2 C. liquid reserved
1/2 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 10 inch Flour Tortillas
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 C. Green Enchilada Sauce
For Meat-Lovers add:
1 lb. Ground Turkey, browned and drained

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of black beans and mash into a chunky paste. Stir in the reserved liquid.

2. Grease a heavy, ovenproof skillet. In a bowl, combine the corn, parsley and remaining black beans. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread with 1/3 cup mashed black bean mixture. Top with 2/3 cup corn-bean mixture. Top with a handful of shredded cheese. Top that with desired amount of ground turkey. Repeat this process with remaining tortillas. Press to compact the layers.

3. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve with enchilada sauce.

Like I stated above, I altered the reciped by adding meat but it was still wonderful regardless! To find the original recipe go to Rachel Ray's website at: and search for "Quesadilla Casserole."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Sad Farewell...

I was hoping that my freedom would last just a little longer. You know, like until Christmas. My son, however, had another idea. He learned how to crawl out of his play-pen yesterday morning. It has only been a day, but I have already learned that life has changed big time for me now!

Before, I could never understand why people talked about using naptime as a time to catch up on things. I would always do my to-do list while my little man was happily watching Noggin from his play-pen. At that time, I allowed myself to take a small nap on the couch during naptime. It was my small "reward" for getting my to-do list done. Oh, those were the days!

Now, my mornings are spent chasing little man around while trying to get some of my to-do list checked off. But, so far, I haven't mastered finishing an entire project with him up. So, sadly I have to part with my mid-day naps so I can get laundry done or the dishes or cleaning the bathroom or....the list goes on and on. Oh, how I will miss you my beloved naps!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tumbling for Toddlers

I decided, and then convinced, my husband a few months ago that we needed to enroll our son (3 weeks shy of 2) in a tumbling class. My husband was very skeptical, and I think the majority of it was because tumbling is not considered a "manly" sport. Nonetheless, he agreed that Dalen could learn a lot of necessary skills while participating in the class. And besides, 2 is a little young to be enrolling him in football. :)

So, the first class was the week before Memorial Day and it did not go that well. Naturally, this was the one class my husband has been able to attend. Dalen loved jumping on the trampoline, but couldn't understand that he had to wait his turn and that we also couldn't spend the entire class period on the trampoline. So, the majority of that class was spent crying and trying to get back to the trampoline.

Well, today was the 3rd class we've had and Dalen has already learned so much. He made it through the entire class without crying and he patiently waited his turn for the trampoline. Even better than that was that he did the other activities and seemed to enjoy them. I am so glad that we decided to sign him up and keep him in it. It is never to early to teach our children structure. I mean, I can only do so much at home where there aren't any other children. But I can already see the benefits of putting him in an environment with other children where he has to learn structure. It will save us a lot of headaches in the future if he learns these things now rather than when he is 5 and starting kindergarten.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BBQ Pork Chops

We are less than a week away from October! I love October and the cool weather that it brings. The cool weather lifts my spirits and I often find myself in a cooking frenzy - at least twice a week. I have to admit though, part of this is because I LOVE my crockpot and throughout the colder months I am in the mood to use it even more. I love the fact that I can just mix up all of the ingredients together in the morning, set the temperature setting, and 7-8 hours later (or sooner depending on what I'm cooking) dinner is ready! Not to mention the wonderful aromas that slowly begin to drift throughout my home all day as a result!

Well, today you are in for a treat. I am in the mood to share with you one of my favorite recipes: BBQ Pork Chops!

What you will need:
4-6 Pork Chops, trimmed of fat
1 C. Ketchup
1 C. Hot Water
2 T. Vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika

What you do with it:

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine ketchup, hot water, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, pepper, chili powder and paprika. Stir until well mixed.

2. Place pork chops in crockpot

3. Cover. Cok on high 5-6 hours.

4. If necessary, cut in half and serve. Most of the time the meat is so tender it will fall apart easily.

As with all the recipes I love, the best part about it is that it's EASY! The prep. time is only 5-10 minutes and then I'm done until dinnertime! Plus, it has an amazing flavor to it! Try it out - I promise you'll love it!

*I found this recipe in the Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly: Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow Cooker cookbook.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh Mixers by Healthy Choice

I have heard them advertised on television, but never made it a point to go and pick one up to try. But, the other day as I was cruising along the canned food aisle looking for some green beans, I noticed that directly across the aisle from me were these cute, little, and stackable green-lidded containers. I admit it was the "cute" factor that caught my attention, but regardless, I reached up and grabbed one. I was surprised to see that I had found the Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers.

These are the little things that you see on television where they just add water to it and pop it in the microwave and then the lid acts as a strainer. Then finally you just stir in the sauce mix. The selling point for me was that it contained almost 7 ounces of pasta and the pasta was made with whole grain wheat flour and it contained no partially-hydrogenated oils! As if that were not enough, there were only 300 calories total, 28g whole grain, 4g of fat, 11g of sugar and 10g of protein. Oh, and only 30 calories were from fat! Did I mention these are healthy?!

So, I decided to try one out that evening on my unsuspecting son, because his daddy was preparing chili and it is way to spicy for my little man. After I had steamed the pasta in the microwave, I stirred in the "marinara sauce," which consisted of fire roasted onions in tomato sauce. Then, took it over to my son and gave him his first bite, to which he responded, "More. Good." He ate the whole thing minus a bite or two from me!

If you have not tried these things, they are wonderful! They are healthy, taste great, and are filling...all for only $2.84 each! It is a great low-cost solution when you need a good meal, but don't have the time to cook.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Great Escape

As a woman, I am always trying to balance a million things in one hand while trying take care of all the things that "pop up" during my already hectic days in the other! I know I am not the only one out there who has experienced this sensation. After a long and stressful day, I look forward to that one moment where I am able to escape from it all. Some of you may be guessing that moment is when I finally drag my weary bones to bed, but surprise, that isn't it. It's MY bathtime!

I discovered this wonderful thing years ago while I was still in high school. I quickly found that it was the only time when I was able to "escape" from homework, chores, and so much more. It is probably the one habit that I made all those years ago, that I have actually kept around. My husband will tell you that this time is the only time when it is forbidden to disturb me, and if you do, the house better be on fire. Consider yourself warned.

It is my time to put my head back and kick up my heals and to think about whatever I like...undisturbed! During this time, I will usually meditate on things that happened throughout the day, briefly think about my agenda for the next day, and then there are the nights when I just take a short cat-nap. The point is that it is my own personal time away from all things stressful. There is only one rule when I go into that bathroom: Relax! By the time I return from "The Great Escape," I feel like a completely different woman and amazingly, my shoulders feel so much lighter.

When is the last time you experienced this? Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually have to have perfect lighting, candles, bath oil or even bubbles. In fact, the majority of my baths consist of me and the steaming hot water. I think every woman, especially us mothers, need this time by ourselves just to unwind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Halloween Costumes Anyone?

I am still in shock that fall is knocking on our door so soon! I have to tell you though, that I absolutely LOVE this time of year. It is probably my most favorite season, because the Oklahoma heat cools off at the same time the leaves on the trees begin to change and eventually fall to the ground. Something about the weather lifts my mood and spirits as the holidays approach...and it all starts with Halloween.

I'm sure we all have memories of Halloween and the costumes we wore during our childhoods. I am no different. While I had many costumes throughout the years, the one I remember the most is from when I was in probably 3rd or 4th grade - my parents decided that I could have a Halloween party at our house and go trick-or-treating that evening with my friends. I was so upset because my mom insisted that I didn't need to go and buy a costume, because she had the "perfect" one for me. Her vision of perfect was me dressed in a HUGE stuffed pumpkin costume. If that wasn't bad enough, she made sure it was complete with green tights and even a green hat for the vine stump! Sure, I laugh about it now right along with my friends who were there to see me in it - I have made sure that all pictures associated with that night went MIA. However, as funny as we find it now, I assure you that at the time it was not a laughing matter!

Well, now I have a 2 year old and am starting to feel the excitment of picking out his know, before he can protest and be scarred for life from the memory. I have decided that this year I am going to try and save a little money while picking out his costume. There is a store in our town that is hosting the first annual Halloween Costume Exchange Sale. The concept is that you bring in your child's slightly used Halloween costumes between September 21st and October 9th and, in exchange, you receive a coupon if you come back on October 10th and purchase another costume from the store. There will be no new costumes there, just the ones that were brought in from parents during the specified dates.

I personally think this is a wonderful idea - especially for those of us with young children who we want to look cute, but have no desire to spend a lot of money to make it happen. Plus, my son's spider costume is still hanging in the closet from last year. As you can see from the picture above, it was just as big around on him as my pumpkin outfit was on me - and even was completed with a black hat with eyes...I decided to not make him wear tights though. This costume exhange and sale has provided me with the perfect way to free up that closet space and also see that it gets worn again. I don't know if any of your communities have something like this for parents, but if not, I am willing to bet - monopoly money of course - that it would be a pretty successful thing to get started!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Interested In Saving Some Money?

Well, in case you haven't checked the calendar lately it is now the middle of September. For me, that means not only is Halloween right around the corner, but so is Christmas! If you are like me, then you like to do your Christmas shopping in the fastest and most efficient way possible. A couple years ago, I discovered the online shopping market - and boy, has it helped me out a lot with my holiday shopping. Well, I have been contacted and asked to review a new website out there that is designed to help busy people like ourselves with our online shopping! This site provides us with amazing shopping deals and coupons!

This website is and it is an amazing tool for people like me! This site is a bargain hunting website that allows users to share any great online deals and coupons that they run across with other consumers! This helps you and I out because if we are in the market for say...a new camera, then we can go to and type in "Camera" in the Search box and it will pull up all the great deals that have been posted for cameras. I tried this out this morning, not only because I'm reviewing the site but because my digital camera got left outside one evening and the dog got a hold of it -oops! Anyways, I found several great cameras for even better prices from stores such as Newegg, Best Buy, and OfficeMax. Not only were the results giving me cameras, but also coupons that other stores were offering that could go towards a new camera.

The thing I love about this website is that not only does it provide consumers like you and I with one centralized place to search the internet for the best possible deals and coupons, it also gives us a great place to share deals that we stumble upon with other consumers. If you like to stay away from the crowds during the "Christmas Rush," then you must check out this site because it will save you time and money while you complete your online shopping!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marriage and Children

I just read an article off MSN that really got me thinking. After reading the title, "Couple get married at 7-Year-old son's funeral," I felt compelled to read it. And after reading it, I am overcome with sadness.

The biggest question I had before actually reading the article was, "Why?" Of course when I clicked to view the full story, the answer became clear very quickly. The little boy had been asking his parents to get married for a while before his tragic death. So, his parents decided to honor his request by marrying at his funeral. It is so sad to me that the little boy was unable to witness his parents exchanging those sacred vows.

I am happy that the couple has finally married, but it grieves me to read that their little boy had been asking them to get married for some time now - and that it took his death before they felt compelled to do it. I know that not all people will agree with me on this, but as a mother to a little boy myself, I just cannot imagine trying to explain to him why his daddy and I aren't married. I know that cohabitation is quickly becoming the new "norm," but in my opinion it is so sad. I honestly feel that parents are not thinking about their children's best interests when making the decision not to marry, but to just live together instead.

The people at have compiled a list of the many benefits of having a healthy marriage. Although marriage has it's benefits for both men and women, my heart cries out for all of the children out there because the benefits are far greater for them. Just some of the ways children benefit from being raised in a family whose parents are married are that: they are more likely to attend college, more likely to succeed academically, physically healthier, emotionally healthier, less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, have a better relationship with their mothers and fathers, less likely to become pregnant or to impregnate someone as a teenager, and so many more.

The reason marriage is so benefical to children is that it gives them a sense of stability in such an unstable world. I was fortunate to have been raised by a mother and father who did not believe in divorce. I grew up with that sense of stability. No matter what issues I was facing at school, work or with my friends I knew that I was coming home to a loving mother and father who would always be there for me.

The key though is that parents are in a HEALTHY marriage. An unhealthy marriage is just as unstable as not being married at all, in my opinion. Children are so much more intelligent then we adults give them credit for. They pick up on everything and their behaviors often reflect our own. So, if you are in a marriage that is unhealthy - more then likely your children will be attracted to the same type of relationship down the road. On the other hand, if you and your spouse have a marriage that fosters love, understanding and compromising then your children will learn those behaviors and probably seek out the same relationship for themselves when they are older.

It is vitally important that we take this marriage business seriously - especially when children are involved. If you are single, regardless of if you have children or not, and are looking for that special someone, please consider how marriage, or the lack of it, will affect your children and/or future children. Children are the most precious gift that God gives us and all they want is to be loved and to feel secure. Why should we not provide them with that?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My New Recycling Venture!

This morning I woke up and was so excited to go to our first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting for the year! I absolutely LOVE the 2.5 hours I am able to spend in fellowship with other moms going through the same stage in their lives as I am. The one thing I look forward to the most, other than the fellowship of course, is the speaker. At every meeting we have a speaker come and talk to us about a specific topic. Well, our theme for the year is "Life on Planet Mom," so we thought that it would be a great idea to start out the year talking about how we can be more enviornmentally friendly by recycling. This is one meeting that I needed to hear because as horrible as it sounds, I am not a recycler. But, after today's speaker I have decided that I am going to get my family on a recycling system! We are going to recycle aluminum cans, paper, and plastic bottles. Plus, we are going to start to become more conscious about the amount of energy we are using just in water.

For instance, did you know that the average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute? This means that if we would just turn off the water while we brush our teeth in the morning and at night, we would save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month? Or, how about the fact that by letting your faucet run for 5 minutes, you will be using about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours! My husband will just be tickled pink to find out that I have finally crossed over to his way of thinking in this area.

One of the bad habits I have is that I love a nice cold can of Pepsi. Some people have chocolate...I have Pepsi! I don't care how healthy you claim to be, we all have a secret indulgence. Some are just unhealthier than others. Anyways...back to the subject...recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV fo 2 hours! Did you know that Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our ENTIRE commercial air fleet! Now come on people, seriously? Our ENTIRE commercial air fleet?! Wow. Now consider this, the energy saved from recycling 1 ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years!! Now do you see why I'm going to start recycling those pop cans? Also, in most communities there is a place where you can take aluminum cans and get paid for them - so you will be getting some money back. I think I may just conduct my own little experiment and save all of the aluminum cans my family goes through for a year and see how much money we get back for recycling them!

Before I became a stay-at-home-mommy, I worked as a paralegal for 3 years. Any of you out there who are familiar with the legal field know that there is an extraordinary amount of paper involved in it. Even though I stay home now, I still feel the need to have a paper trail for everything so I end up printing off a lot of unnecessary stuff. I also like to shred anything and everything that has any of my information on it - even if it is just my name and address. This is something else I acquired from working in the legal field. Probably once a month or so I empty the shredder and toss it in with the rest of the trash. I knew that you could recycle newspapers, but I really didn't think about all the other paper we can recycle, such as books, magazines, junk mail, and even shredded paper. I know all of you professional recyclers out there are just shaking your head at me in disbelief. I'm sorry - I really just had no idea!

But today I learned that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity - which is enough to power the average American home for 5 months!! Not only that, but recycling paper instead of making it from new materials generates 74% less air pollution and uses 50% less water! I am really getting excited about this recycling business - and am now embarrassed just looking into my shredder and trash can right here in the office, they are both overflowing with all kinds of paper! In fact, out of everything that I'm going to start recycling, I know that the majority recycled will be paper! It's exciting though, because recycled paper can be turned into so many other things such as paper towels, envelopes, notebook paper, boxes, molded packaging, compost and even kitty litter!!

The last thing I'm going to start recycling are our plastic bottles. Just the #1s and #2s. Again, I'm a newbie to all this and had no idea until today that there is a number on the bottom of all the plastic bottles identifying the specific grade of plastic it is. The #1s and #2s are just your basic juice bottles, water bottles, milk jugs, ketchup bottles, etc... I was absolutely shocked to learn that Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every YEAR! The upside is that if every American household would recycle 1 out of every 10 HDPE bottles they use, we would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year!

I honestly just cannot believe that I have been in the dark for so long about the benefits of recycling. One last fact for you guys, Americans make up 5% of the world's population, but we produce 40% of the world's trash! Isn't that sad? I encourage all of you to start recycling at your house. You don't have to go all out and start your own compost or anything, but maybe just start by keeping a bin to recycle all your paper in - or if you like pop like me, have a separate bin for your aluminum cans.

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do." ~Helen Keller
**While the above recycling facts were discussed at our meeting today, I found found them at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Action Scrubber To The Rescue!

Okay ladies I have to write to you about a wonderful product I have discovered. I actually discovered it several months ago before I started my blog - but every time I use it, I get all excited about it again. So, I'm going to put my excitement to rest here and now by informing all of you about it! Hopefully somebody out there will benefit from my discovery.

Okay, well as you know I am a stay at home mom and I am proud to be one! I couldn't ask for a better job to have. It would be even more perfect if I got paid for what I did. I'm pretty sure I just heard an "Amen!" coming from your side of the monitor. While I bring a lot of great qualities to this business of being a SAHM there is one quality that I just simply do not have. That is the love for organization - in my mind under that HUGE category falls cleaning. I just do not enjoy cleaning! And mom, if you are reading this I'm sorry, but I have to blame you for this one.

For those of you who don't know, my mother cleaned houses all throughout my youth so that she could have the flexibility to attend school events and be home for my brother and I when we got out of school. And, now that I am a mother, I appreciate that more and more every day! Of course, back in high school when everyone was able to go and hang out with friends and I had to come straight home to do chores and homework I didn't appreciate it...but, now I am so thankful that she made that sacrifice for us. But, back to the house cleaning business...during the summers my mom continued to clean houses and of course that meant that my brother and I had to come along with her and help. I was usually in charge of cleaning windows, bathrooms, vacuuming and occassionally dusting here and there. Nothing really bothered me that much - except for the bathrooms - I HATED the bathrooms.

Everyone has a household chore they dislike doing whether it be the dishes, laundry, taking out the trash - well for me it's STILL the bathrooms. So, naturally that is what gets put off the longest before getting cleaned. Once I get started, it's not a huge problem, but it's just getting motivated to get in there and get it done. And the thing I hate to clean the most is the shower. I just hate the routine of getting the sponge wet, wetting a section of the wall, sprinkling it with comet (or whatever it is at the time), scrubbing, rinsing and then repeating the whole process until finally I have finished the shower and tub. I'm sure I'm not the only woman out there who feels this way.

Okay, now enter my own personal miracle cleaner....drum roll please.....the Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber! Out of all the little cleaning gagets out there - this one is my favorite by far. This little thing is so easy to use that if it were a Geico commercial we could say "even a caveman can do it." Basically, it's just a foam handle that has a velcro bottom that attaches to a soap pad. Once attached, you get it wet and just start scrubbing - the pad provides all the soap. It literally has worked wonders for me. I don't feel like I am scrubbing nearly as hard trying to remove the dirt and soap scum off the shower. Once I'm done, I just peel off the wet soap pad and throw it away! It's as easy as that! The best part is that I don't have to store that yucky sponge!

I know it sounds pretty silly, but now when I decide to clean the bathroom I do not have a sense of dread about scrubbing the shower. The Action Scrubber has made that part of my bathroom cleaning a breeze. If you haven't tried this product out then next time you are in WalMart go to the cleaning aisle and pick one up. I promise you will not be disappointed! Happy Cleaning Ladies!