Mondays are a “Restart” Button

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Since getting sick last weekend, I’ve been going a little overboard with junk food. What is it about being sick that makes you just want to eat anything and everything? It was fun while it lasted but last night I felt like a gross beast, so today I committed to getting back on the healthy train. 

I woke up and ate a big breakfast ready to take on the day. I had a goal of not eating any junk food or candy today and I was successful. I feel better already!

I went to the gym after work and I’m so exhausted now, but it was worth it. 

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My Monday workout. I created this myself last fall and have really been enjoying it so far.

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For dinner I made a new recipe: Emily Bites Bubble Up BBQ Chicken & Bean Bake. It was SO GOOD. To be honest, some of the “bubble up casseroles” are hit or miss for me, but this was b o m b. 

Goodbye Summer!

I realized I haven't posted a blog in a while... I definitely go through phases of wanting to blog all the time, and then being lazy about it. Plus, I don't think my life is that interesting a lot of the time... But I thought I would go ahead and do an "update" post about the summer! I always seem to get excited about blogging around fall and the holidays, so I'm sure I will get going again, soon. This summer was amazing. Last summer went by so fast, and I was SO BUSY all the time. This year, I forced myself to stay home, hang out with my friends and family, relax and really take summer one day at a time. I loved it so much more! Here are just a few of the highlights of Summer 2017...

Mission Trip 2017

This year's mission trip was different from years past, and did not go according to plan in any way, but it truly turned out to be my favorite Mission Trip since we started going each year. I felt like our group grew closer together, leaned in to their relationship with Jesus and learned what a life of service truly looks like. Also, we had "Jorts Day", so what could be better?

Fourth of July

I love any excuse to have or go to a party, and 4th of July was the perfect time to get together with friends! This year we watched the Milledgeville fireworks together... And then on the 4th, we spent the day at Taylor's parent's house on the lake. Definitely one of my favorite memories of Summer 2017.

MACK

Mack came to visit a lot this summer, which I loved. He is so busy and keeps all of us on our toes! He even helped B cut our grass one *hot* afternoon.

BaseCamp

Basecamp was different this year too! We changed locations to Rock Eagle in Eatonton. It was nicer to be closer to home, and the campus is BEAUTIFUL. But it was definitely a big change from our usual location. I love this camp and all the hearts who work hard to make it happen. Youth ministry is exhausting, frustrating and confusing, but the guys who run this camp are the best in the business and I'm so thankful to get to work alongside them!

Year 3

I started my 3rd year in Kindergarten-world this year! I'm grateful for my job, and I love my sweet co-workers, but this year has come with plenty of challenges! I just keep reminding myself that these babies are all sweet souls that the Lord put in my path for a reason, and I don't want to waste the time I have with them... It's easier said than done, but it's worth the work!

Doughnut 5K

We only did it for the doughnut.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Y'all. B is the most wonderful man and surprised me with tickets to Earth, Wind & Fire! Disco and funk music is my guilty pleasure. I love to jam around the house or on a long road trip. EW&F was a bucket list item, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the BEST show I've ever been to. They are freaking old and had so much energy, it was crazy! The whole amphitheater was just a big dance party. And B & I both said they sound better live than they did on the original recordings. It was such a fun night!

Weight Loss

It's not a secret that I've struggled with my weight for some time now. I've blogged about it before, and I've tried so many different things, but this summer I REALLY focused on my health and my habits. These photos are exactly 1 year apart and I've lost 20 pounds since last August! Yay me! I have some more to go, but I'm so proud of myself.

Labor Day 2017

For our last summer shebang, we went to Hilton Head for Labor Day weekend. Gosh, it was a perfect trip. The highs were in the 80's, there was a perfect breeze and we got to hang with our best palz. It was so much fun! These are literally 2 of the only photos I took, so obviously we were having too much fun... Ha! : )

Okay, so that's pretty much my summer in a nutshell since I last blogged... Like I said, it was one of my favorites and I'm sad to see it go! But I'm excited for fall to get here in just a few short weeks!

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce (Only 4PP Per Serving!)

Tonight we had spaghetti for dinner which is one of our favorites! But, I decided to switch it up a little and make my sauce with a little more heat. I based my recipe off of my Mick Mack's spaghetti sauce recipe, but of course I have tweaked it and made it my own! The best part of this sauce is that it is only 4 Weight Watcher Points Plus per 1/2 cup! : )

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Small Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 1/4 lb 90/10 Ground Beef
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Tbs Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Tbs Sugar

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First I sauteed half an onion and a few garlic cloves in some olive oil on medium heat. Once everything was soft and I could smell the garlic, I added my ground beef and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Once the beef was browned and I broke it up with my spoon, I added the tomatoes:

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*I like my meat sauce thick, but if you like it thinner, you can use less paste or leave it out all together!

Once you've stirred all these together, it's time to add the seasoning.

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*You can totally leave out the red pepper flakes if you don't like it spicy! This sauce is so good even without it!

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Quick Tip: I love this little tool. It's called the Mix 'N Chop and you can order it through Pampered Chef here. There are also similar ones at WalMart! Anyway, I love using this to break up my ground beef when I really want it small. I use this after everything is mixed together to break up the beef and to crush the diced tomatoes a little bit more. You could also use a potato masher or even a wooden spoon.

I usually let the sauce simmer on low for about 30 minutes before we eat it!

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Tonight I had mine with Spaghetti Squash instead of Pasta. (Don't worry, I made really spaghetti noodles for B : ))

I love the crunch of spaghetti squash! And they are so easy to cook.

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Cut the squash in half (be careful because they can be tough to break through!), and remove all pulp and seeds. Brush olive oil on and place on baking sheet, pulp side down. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool and scrape out the inside of the squash. The texture really is like spaghetti!

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Quick Tip: I like to top my spaghetti with this seasoning. Soooo good! and ZERO POINTS : )

My Weight Loss Journey: Low Carb?

Ok, so for the past week I have stepped into a new world: Low Carb Dieting. I have used Weight Watchers for years, and recently rejoined the program in January. I have been doing really great (15lbs lost!) but I had an event coming at the end of the month that I really wanted to look my best for. So, I dabbled in the world of Low Carb Dieting. This post will be my reflections on the past week!

Pros:

  • I like the food!

Low Carb is a lot of protein, fat and some vegetables, so it was easy to find foods that were low carb that I liked.

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My breakfasts usually consisted of eggs and bacon or sausage, or these Atkins shakes if I was on-the-go.

  • The weight loss is FAST

With Weight Watchers, I usually lost 1-2 pounds a week. With Low Carb, I was losing about a pound a day. I was never bloated, and I felt really lean throughout the 7 days I was on it.

  • I got to eat foods that are typically "off limits" for me.

Butter, mayonnaise and cheese are all things that I usually either stay away from OR use in moderation. Not with low carb! The more fat the better actually, because when your body doesn't have carbs to burn for energy, it will use this fat! This is a bodily process called Ketosis and can read more about it here.

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One thing I loved about Low Carb is that I could just snack all day. Beef Jerky was a good gas station pick, and this buffalo wing dip was crazy good on celery and cucumber slices.

Cons:

  • No fruit!

This was a really big deal for me, I'm not going to lie. You can't have anything sweet, but honestly I am not a dessert person, so I didn't really care about that. But not being able to have fruit in the morning or for a snack was soooo hard for me. Especially now since it's summer and all the fruit is beautiful and all around!

  • Eating the same foods over and over

If I never see deli meat or another hamburger again, it will be too soon. Deli Turkey or Ham rolled up with some cheese was a great on-the-go meal for me, and hamburgers were easy to grab from a drive-thru and just throw out the bun... But, I am just sick and tired of them! Ha. I never thought I would be tired of meat, but I seriously need a meat-detox.

  •  NO CHEATING OR YOU RUIN EVERYTHING

Obviously, if you're on any diet, you're not supposed to "cheat". But, usually if you have a slip up you can just jump right back on the next meal or the next day... With Low Carb, if you decide to eat a piece of cake or a handful of chips, the next day will basically be like Day 1, all over again.

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The steak and lobster were treats while eating at Outback with my family... Salads were part of my lunch every single day.

So, what were my results?

My results were: 5 pounds lost in a week, which I'm so happy about!

Was it worth it? Yes.

Would I do it again? Yes.

I could never do this long term, but it was a good shock to my system. I usually eat very carb-heavy, so this was definitely different for my body as well as for my brain. I had to think outside the box!

I would definitely recommend Low Carb for fast weight loss, but just know you will gain it back quickly once you start eating carbs again!

Back to Weight Watchers I go : ) Fruit and bread, I have missed you so.........