Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weighing in Wednesday

I find that dieting is a very sensitive topic-most people have their minds made up of how a "diet" is supposed to go and are stuck in their ways.  
But I just love sharing, so you can always count on me to dish out plenty of assvice.  
Even though the pounds are not melting off like I had hoped they would, I've still had personal success.
I can see some muscle development, I've lost an inch in my waist, and I've dropped a pound.  
But my clothes are fitting so much better! I can wear skirts that I couldn't wear a month ago.  

Here are some things to keep in mind regarding IIFYM

1.  This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle.  What type of lifestyle is it if you can never have a donut?  To me, not a very good one!  That's why this is called flexible dieting, essentially there is a time and place for anything, you just have to fit it in.

2.  Counting calories is not enough, for a couple reasons.  First of all, it doesn't take into account the breakdown of your calories-how many carbs, protein and fat you consume.  When I was just counting for calories, I was way over on carbs, and way under on protein, but spot on with my caloric intake, and nothing happened.  Second, you can't rely on the nutrition label to count your calories.  Which leads me to number 3.

3.  You will always have to weigh your food, always.  I have seen it go both ways-the package contains more than the claim on an individual serving item, and I've had less than the serving size in my package.  Which means that the macro nutrients need to be altered.  Also, sometimes we make assumptions.  I bought these from Costco, and was loving them once I convinced myself that fat wasn't bad for me.  However, once I closely examined the package I discovered that this oh so tiny it should be an individual serving, actually had 1 1/4 servings.  I had to adjust accordingly.  Additionally, the nutritional information is not spot on, 100% accurate; the FDA allows for calories and nutritional information to be rounded so to speak.

4.  This is science.  There is a mathematical equation to determine your personal breakdown of macros.  You can calculate yours here, but it's known to be inaccurate-so you can either go for it and play around until you find something that works for you, or you can e-mail me and I'll put you in touch with a professional who did mine for $30.  
If you do chose to calculate through this website, read some more background info here first, it includes tips on how to appropriately customize your numbers. 

5.  This lifestyle is counterintuitive to any other diet.  Eating to lose?  What other diet follows this rule of thumb?  But it works!  I'm eating more, however I'm making sure I'm fueling my body properly and I'm losing.  Did I mention this is science?  I haven't figured most of it out yet myself, and I'll be sure to fill you in along the way.  Here's what I know so far: in order to build muscle, which most of us want because we don't want to be "skinny fat," you have to build the muscle.  Building muscle requires more carbs.  Then you reduce your intake and will lose fat to reveal muscle-but you have to build that muscle first.

6.  The number on the scale is just that-the number on the scale.  Unfortunately I can't post the pictures from this private group, but many people either weigh the same, or more once they've successfully "completed" their transformation.  Afterall, muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space.  


Look in the mirror, not the scale...muscle weighs more than fat! Fit girls look good!http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/3f/d5/46/3fd546aaa7a44dc9ed8eac1770c24123.jpg 
There's a -2 lb difference in this photo

 http://everydaypaleo.com/attention-scale-addicts-part-2/ 

Moral of the story: less focus on the scale, and more focus on determination and commitment.  

So, you want to get started on IIFYM?
Go calculate your macros, or e-mail me so I can get you in touch with a professional.  
Get a food scale-I'm looking to get one that's good for on the go-I'm not kidding.
Download a tracking app, I use My Fitness Pal, it's free, and here's how you can customize the settings to fit your macros. Plus she's another great documentation on how eating more helps you lose!
Ladies can join this great Facebook group.  There's over 16,000 members who are on the IIFYM journey too.  I've posted several questions to forum and always get a positive response.  This is such a treasured resource.
Lastly, be patient, it takes time to adjust-mentally and physically.

 It's Not The Destination But The Journey Inkadinkado Wood Mounted Rubber Stamp O STAMPO-90933

I just want to add that all my information came from resources in the IIFYM Women's Facebook group, as well as Skinny Meg, which has become one of my favorite daily reads.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Munchies...

With the scorching summer temperatures, I think we can all appreciate a nice cool treat.
And a pool-but I don't see much of that, thanks to working summer school.
And the fact that I don't have a pool, but that's a minor detail.

As much as I love icecream, besides being bad for the diet, it's not so friendly to the wallet either.  
Plus,  my kids indulge enough as it is, they don't need any extra treats enticing them around the house.
That's why making your own popsicles are the perfect answer!
You can control you own ingredients and it's much more cost effective.  
I had forgotten all about the novelty that is homemade popsicles until I saw a small article giving healthy versions in the most recent edition of Shape Magazine. 

There are all sorts of variations.

Fruit
http://www.generationyfoodie.com/2011/05/raspberry-pineapple-chia-popsicles.html




Fruit and Yogurt 


Novelty



And you don't even need popsicle molds

Want to sneak some veggies in?

Now I really don't have any excuses! I better get to adding these ingredients to my grocery list.
What kind of popsicle is your ideal at-home treat?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Weigh-in

Alright, let's see where this journey takes us.
Let me start at the beginning.  

Before marriage I was thicker-a flat stomach, but thicker.  
I exercised, ate what I wanted and in general did not care because I was happy with how I looked.
 After I had Moshe, 10 pesky pounds stuck around and although with the 10 pounds I was at my wedding weight, I was experiencing the dreaded everything has changed.  My friend convinced me to join Weight Watchers, and it was a raging success and I ended up skinnier than I had ever been. You can read about that here. 
I want to include pictures but my computer is being temperamental right now.  Sorry to direct  you to another page.

After two months on WW, I had lost not only the 10 pounds I was aiming for, but another 10 which put me at -20!!!  
And then I got pregnant with Dovy, and gained 45 pounds.  I started WW about 6 weeks after he was born, and by the 6 month park, I was back to my skinniest.  
At this point I had started experimenting with more "clean eating" as oppose to a diet. I had started gaining weight because I had lost sight of portion control but, I found myself pregnant and I therefore had the eat anything you want card.  
And eat I did!  I gained 55 pounds with Hannah.  However, I did not exercise more than two times.  

At 6 weeks post partum I began following weight watchers and eventually talked myself into finally adding some exercise.  
I was losing weight, I was exercising and things were looking good.  
But then in February I hit a major plateau.  I didn't lose weight for months.  
One of my friends shared a thought with me:  if WW has "free" fruits and vegetables, maybe it was possible I was going over my calorie amount that would still leave me in a deficit for losing weight.  
So I put pen to paper.  
And I was shocked.  
Weight Watchers recommends (not for everyone, but many) that a daily point amount is 26-29 and everyone should play around with what works for them.  
Hitting between those numbers was my daily goal.  
However, sometimes my calorie count was as low as 768 some days, but my average caloric intake for the amount of time I tracked was 1,273.  I was also running a couple times a week.  
I know right off the bat one of my problems was that I wasn't eating enough fruit and vegetables.  My caloric intake would have been higher if I would have been eating more of the "free" food items, yet still maintaining my points.  
Honestly, I just wasn't hungry.
But the scale did not move-for over two months.

At this point, my goal of losing all the baby weight by 6 months was out the window, and then so was by the end of the school year.  

I downloaded the Livestrong app and set it at losing one pound per week.  
The first week  I lost 1.5 lbs, but after that the progress was minimal.  
The Livestrong app has you eat back your exercise calories because their belief is the baseline, chosen by you, is supposed to allow you to lose the amount of weight you chose per week.
Because your body needs a certain amount of "fuel" to perform and you are take even more from it when you exercise, they tell you to maintain your baseline.  There are other benefits to exercise than just to speed up weight loss. 
It is still a concept I'm trying to understand.  But I can tell you that I was already pretty deficient in my caloric intake, and we all know the only way to lose weight is to continue decreasing your calories in.  However, if weight loss is achieved a certain (unhealthy) way, you eventually can no longer reduce your caloric intake.  

One day I was reading Skinny Meg  and she also mentioned her weight loss struggles after having recently had a baby.  
I could relate to the cycle of trying so hard and not seeing results.  
And it was this post that changed my life.  
If If Fits Your Macros, IIFYM is a new movement in the health industry.  
In my opinion, it emphasizes a healthy lifestyle. 
What's a healthy lifestyle?  A healthy lifestyle includes exercise and everything in moderation.  

What I love about this movement, is that it follows the basic science of calories in calories out.  
There's really no such thing as needing to "diet" from certain food items, because at the end of the day, your body doesn't know a doughnut from an apple.  You're body responds to calories in vs. calories out, but more specifically, the ratios to carbs/protein/fat.  
 On WW, your caloric intake could vary so much depending on the fruits and vegetables.  
I also did not like that WW emphasizes low/no fat and sugar free products as staples to allow you to eat as much as you can and stay within your daily points. 
I felt like I had to be on a completely different diet than my family because I had to stay clear of so many foods because they were high in points.  
Rice, potatoes, avocados, bread, pasta just to name a few.  
I have a specific breakdown of fat, protein and carbs I'm supposed to hit daily.  
If I know my dinner will be carb heavy, I'll make sure to reduce my carb intake during lunch.  
IIFYM also takes into account your goals: lose weight, maintain, bulk (gain muscle)
There is also the idea that your metabolism is like a muscle and it can slowly be increased to work more efficiently allowing you to eat more.  

I started this journey almost 3 weeks ago and although I have maintained my weight, I'm fitting into skirts that I haven't been able to fit into since having Hannah.
Sure, I still have a slight muffin top, but it won't be gone overnight.  
And I'm finally enjoying foods I haven't allowed myself to have in years.
And I finally feel like my family and I are on a healthy path together.  
I'm back to lifting weights three times a week and it's my fave part of my week so far. 

I'll be adding recipes to my IIFYM Pinterest board, you can follow along too!
Next week I'll explain the basic principals and give you some tips to get started!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Munchies...

This week we'll affectionately call it Monday Meal Plan...
I don't have any new recipes to share, so this week you'll have to settle for my weekly meal plan!
I'm actually kind of liking this idea-thinking of maybe alternating?  

The first thing I do when meal planning is assess the meals that will be sans one parent.  That usually is at least one meal a week.  
If my husband is absent due to work, which is usually what happens-I can get away with making kid friendly meals like pasta, an egg and toast, oatmeal, pancakes, maybe a pizza bagel or fish sticks.  
If it's me that's out for dinner, which happens sometimes, I feel bad leaving my husband with a kid dinner.  

So, what's on the menu this week.

Monday: husband on-call
The kids had their left over hot dog and french fries from last night.  I didn't feel bad because it let me be flexible with my dinner and I could fit anything that fit into my "count."  
We'll talk about that more on Wednesday!!!

Tuesday
 Because I spent all day out fulfilling an obligation (more on that in a few weeks) I didn't have a chance to go grocery shopping.  Today, was my weight lifting day and after I did that I had a quiet early evening at home.  Tomorrow I'll do some quick grocery shopping and whip up something quick and easy.  We'll be having meat on Wednesday, and I don't like to have meat two days in a row.  Normally, I would probably opt for salmon, but there's no time for a Costco run tomorrow, I found this exciting recipe.
 Spinach-Bean-Burrito-Wrap


Wednesday
   http://honeywerehealthy.blogspot.com/ 
I can't wait to try this-it reminds me of the steak salad I get from a particular Mexican restaurant near me, which is one of my go-to meals when I'm out.  

Thursday: I'll have a late afternoon
Because I'll have a late afternoon, I won't have the chance to cook during the day like I normally would.  I'll most likely take out my famous baked spaghetti from the freezer, let it defrost during the day and whoever gets home first will pop it in the oven!  It's just not worth it for me to eat it on my diet, but everyone else will enjoy it while I'll enjoy my own flexible eating.  It's a win-win.  

Friday: Shabbos
Friday night is the Sabbath for me, and those meals get planned either Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon after work and on my way to grocery shop.  We've been keeping it really low key, so it's nothing too exciting.  

What new meals are you trying this week?

Friday, July 18, 2014

High 5 for Friday

1.  Everyone is talking about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I only ordered one item, so far.

BP. 'Train' Wrap Belted Bootie (Women)

I'm debating about keeping them because they pretty much look black in person.

2.  My husband will be home this weekend, so Saturday I get to sleep in while he takes the boys to synagogue, and I'll relax with Hannah.  I have some big plans with the zucchini bread and a chai tea latte.

IMG_3836

3.  Sunday I have a pretty fun and interesting gig on the books, can't wait to report back!

4.  I am really proud of myself because I planned out all of my food for my biggest trap day: Saturday.  Everything is weighed and bagged and I'm ready to go.  I even made it to the gym today, which rarely happens on a Friday.

5.  Freshly pedicured toes...divine.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Indulging your hobbies...


I know, I missed my Wednesday Weigh-in...but I was indulging in (one of) my hobbies late into the night last night.
Sometimes, the reality of being an adult sucks. 
The mundane tasks we have to take care of-dishes, laundry, cleaning up, packing lunches-those tasks that are daily offenders, yet everyday I still manage to actually write it down on my "to-do" list, like I somehow might miss the overflowing sink of dishes.
Or as I step on a floor covered in cheerios from dinner, I might somehow forget that it requires sweeping.  
We all have the requirements, but without indulging the things that make you happy, it will be hard to survive what is day to day life.  
The day to day to-do list causes me anxiety, but when I know I have a project on the to-do list, my outlook is so much brighter.  
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, when it comes to projects I enjoy, I have no problem staying up all night-because it's something I enjoy.
So it's no wonder I stayed out until almost midnight taking a class on buttercream frosting and gum paste decorations for cookies and cupcakes.  
The week before I took my first class on fondant.  

I have never worked with many of these materials, and I'm seriously surprised at how easy some of these techniques are-yet the product they create is beyond imaginable.  
Someone asked me if what I learned at the class was something I thought I could do on my own.
And the answer is yes!!!

I have some serious plans for honing my cupcake and cookie decorating skills.
My new motto might as well be:
When there's a reason, there's a cupcake, cookie or cake!
I'm looking for any excuse to make a cupcake or a cookie.
Some ideas I have are to give as baby gifts, apple cookies for the first day of school, martini cookies for a happy hour, and of course cupcakes and cookies for birthdays and birthday parties.  

Here are the cupcakes that I made at the most recent classes





I have plans to make a big shopping tip to stock up on all the supplies! 
I can't wait to show you what I've come up with!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Manicure

It wasn't until I came to NYC and fell in love with the $5 manicure that I realized why everyone loves manis.  
For me, my nails can make or break my day.
Call me superficial, but nice looking nails definitely are the final touch on looking put together.
A bad habit I have is picking at my nails, and having polished nails stops me from picking them. 
If I go to work with unpolished nails, or chipping nail polish, I know I'm setting myself up for a day of nail picking, nail breaking, and nail biting.

Manicures can be expensive, and it becomes another task to take care of-and I definitely don't have time for another task!
Plus, since I've gotten decent at painting my nails, I realized that I don't need to always be getting my nails done.  
And it seems that no matter what, that mani chips almost instantly, so is it really worth it if you can do it yourself?  

I found a great youtube video that teachers the "three swipe" method.  The first time I tried this, it worked like a charm! 


The other great thing about doing your own manicure is that it's an excuse to buy nail polish-it pays for itself in one use! 

Manicure Products 
Acetone nail polish remover 
Crystal nail file 
Choice of nail polish color 

I wouldn't necessarily call the Sally Hansen product a "remover" but it definitely helped the cuticles be pushed back.
The Chip Skip base coat had good reviews, so I went with it.  I like it because it is fast drying and doesn't go on like a coat of nail polish so you can quickly put the real polish on top.
But, the Seche Vite takes the cake!!!  I was first let in on this secret a couple of weeks ago-this is a game changer.  I was using Qutica fast drying drops but for a quarter of the price, you get a much better product.  Seche Vite is an actual top coat polish as oppose to the Qutica drops-so no dripping of an oily substance.  And I can't tell you how many times my nails were "dry" after the Qutica fast drying drops, only to wake up with the sheets imprinted on my nails-now that is a real bummer.  That will not be happening anymore-this product is the be all end all!  

Doing my own manicures has made me a little nail polish obsessed, I'm constantly buying new colors-new seasons, new accent colors, you name it.
So let's take a look:
Essie summer colors

 Essie Summer 2014 ✅ #essienails #essie @essiepolish 

OPI summer colors 

 
I happen to prefer the texture of OPI nail polish, but I am drawn to Essie colors.
I have plenty of both!  
And when you do your own manicures, you can change the color as often as you'd like!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Munchies...

Someone I grew up with recently began a blog called Easy Healthy Kosher
Now you don't have to have a specific interest in eating kosher to want to check her out!
Every recipe she posts, I want to make for my family.  

I finally got the opportunity to make two of them for this past weekend.
An eggplant, and a zucchini bread. 

All pictures and recipe belong to the author of Easy Healthy Kosher, Ariella

IMG_4121 

 Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

 Preheat oven to 375 (if your oven has an optional setting for roasting, that would be best). 
My oven does not have this setting and cooking it worked out fine.  It took a little longer to get the eggplant as soft as I wanted it.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Gently score inside of eggplant with a knife, making a crisscross pattern. Blend olive oil, salt and pepper and “paint” over inside of eggplant. Lay eggplant flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet and pierce skin of eggplant 2 or 3 times on each half.
Roast about 40 minutes or until skin is very soft (this is a good time to prepare mushrooms and tahini). Remove from oven and let eggplant stand as is for 10 minutes.  Mash the inside of the eggplant gently before filling (only do this step immediately before serving).


Sautéed Mushrooms
Ingredients:
1 medium white onion diced
optional: 3 cloves chopped garlic
8 ounces fresh white mushrooms sliced thin
8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced thin
1.5 tablespoon oil (can use coconut or preferred oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions:
Sauté onions (and garlic if using) in oil on medium heat about 5 minutes, until soft. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes.


Tahini Dressing
Ingredients:
1 cup crushed sesame seeds

3/4 cup water
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lemon freshly squeezed (about 3-4 tablespoon)
Directions:
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy.

I did not use tahini because I could not find it and I didn't have time to make my own.  Instead, I used garlic hummus which worked well too!
 

 When I am not serving dish immediately, I keep all ingredients separate to re-heat. After heating, use a fork to gently mash the eggplant. Add mushrooms. Spread a dollop of dressing on top. If the tahini gets too thick in the fridge, you can thin with either water or lemon juice. Enjoy!

Head on over to Easy Healthy Kosher where you can find the zucchini bread and many other tasty recipes!

Friday, July 11, 2014

5 on Friday

Another week down.  Sometimes I can't believe how fast it goes.
This week was just like any other week-work, gym, multiple errands, just tons to do.  
I stayed up until 2am every night this week, so it shouldn't be any surprise that my first 5 on Friday is coffee related.

1.  
This cold brew coffee concentrate from Trader Joe's  is awesome.  I was shocked!  First of all, it's price makes it worth it considering how much use you can get out of it.  It's half the price of what I was paying for a Box of Joe from DD.  Plus, it's just plain excellent-and you can make it as strong or as light as you want it.  

2.  Oregon Chai: Sugar Free Original Chai Tea Latte Liquid Concentrate : Product Code SUGARFREE-ORIGINAL 
A couple years back I was introduced to Starbuck's vanilla chai tea latte.  The problem is, it's rather pricey.  At some point, I discovered you could buy the chai tea latte concentrate, and the price of one box was the same cost as one drink.  I used that for awhile, but the problem is the regular chai tea latte concentrate adds a hefty calorie load once  you add in milk.  I had never heard of this brad, but when I was in a local coffee establishment in Columbus they used this brand of chai tea latte.  I didn't buy it there, but took a picture and kept it in mind.  Today, I saw Target carries the regular concentrate, so it reminded me to go home and promptly order the sugar free ones.  
Also interesting-the local coffee shop that was selling this, makes this as a blended drink, which I can't wait to try!

3.  One of my co-workers has a pool and has invited us for an afternoon of swimming.  The boys are thrilled and I decided we'll turn it into a whole day event and do a BBQ.  I just made myself at home!

4.  I recently discovered a blog that is written by a childhood acquaintance.  It's a healthy food blog-that's actually wholesome.  I tried two recipes from her for this weekend.  Roasted eggplant with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and a zucchini bread.  Everything smelled delicious and was not hard at all to prepare, so I can't wait to report back on Monday how it was!

5. I'm in full party mode planning as Hannah and Dovy's birthdays are coming up.  I just ordered Hannah's birthday cake smash outfit.  I'll show you the ones I was debating between, but you'll have to wait to see the one I chose.






 
 All outfits can be found from Kutie Tuties on Etsy. 

Happy Weekend All

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weighing in Wednesday...

This is a new series I want to start.
It will serve as a way to document my progress as well as serve as motivation and a platform to help others achieve their weight loss goals.  

Part of why it has taken me so long to sit down and address the weight loss topic is that I'm unsure about a couple of things.
I haven't come up with a satisfactory way, for me, to share my progress in pictures.
But more importantly, I'm just your average person trying to lose the baby weight.  
I don't have any special training in nutrition or weight loss or personal training.  And honestly, I don't want to worry that I'm giving over inaccurate or harmful information.  

As I figure this out, I'll leave you with a few thoughts. 
While weight loss previously was a quick fix, this time around it has been anything but quick. Which I'm realizing is a blessing for many reasons.  
I get to do things the healthy way, the maintainable way.  
This won't be a quick fix that leaves me satisfied on the surface, this is going to be a journey that transforms me.  
I've always said I wanted to accomplish more-but on the surface, I looked good and that was satisfying enough.  
Since those quick fixes aren't working this time, I get the opportunity to embrace this struggle and use it for the better.  
And honestly, for the first time in years, I'm finally feeling like I've hit the jackpot-and I'm not anywhere near where I want to be. 

Good things are happening...

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/6f/21/f6/6f21f63eb7c663625f257332b8fb484e.jpg

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Squeezing it in...storage for small spaces

Not everyone knows what it's like to have to cram your entire life into a studio apartment, but I lived in one for two years!  
Then we made our way into a two bedroom apartment, and most recently a three bedroom house.
Although this is New York people, it's small.  
If you're looking for fancy walk in closets and dreamy kitchens, you won't be seeing that here.  
I can show you the tiniest linen closet known to man, or the most wrinkled wardrobe ever-since two people shove their clothes into one small closet.  
So, it's no surprise that when it comes to all items baby, we just don't have room.  
Today I'm going to show you a few ways I made do with little space, but still managed to cram in all those baby "necessities." 

When Hannah was born, it was the first time I  had a baby while living in a multi-floor home; which meant I needed all the necessary items to be on each floor.  
With no room for any extra piece with storage, such as a pac 'n play, or a small changing table, I knew I had to get creative.  
So, what does every good organizer do?  They get baskets.  
I found cheap baskets that matched my decor at Michaels, and all I had to do was remove some books off of one shelf, and viola, I had my built in diaper changing station.  
Sure, that meant diaper changes took place on the floor or on the couch, but it's more comfortable than leaning over a changing table anyway.  



I also needed an additional diaper changing station upstairs.
If you've lost count, we're up to 3 diaper changing stations-which sounds totally unnecessary now that I'm thinking about it, but it was actually helpful.  
When Hannah was first born she slept in our room.  So even though her room was a mere few feet away, in the middle of the night, it was just too far.  
But alas, there was no room for an extra piece of furniture, and we didn't want to buy a pac n play with an attached changing table because we knew we would just not get the use out of it.  
So, I did some rearranging, created an acrylic tray to hold some pretties, and then transformed my dresser into Hannah's second diaper changing station.  
Again, I chose a basket that would match my decor to house most of the items, but I also added a nice silver tray from Target to hold some baby pretties.  





  Lastly, I needed a place to store all of those pump parts and bottles.  
I've had a few of the traditional drying/storage items, but they were never big enough.
I had enough pump parts to last me at least 5 complete pumping sessions.
That's a lot of parts to dry!  
Plus all the baby's bottles from the day.
With a major lack in pantry space and actual cabinets, I needed counter top storage.  
So, when I couldn't find anything that matched my decor, I improvised.
Spray paint!!!
I found a stacked metal "drawer" like contraption at The Container Store.  It was definitely big enough, but just not the right finish.  
So I sprayed it.  
This was the perfect piece-you're able to utilize height to store more and save on counter space, but both drawers also pull all the way out so you don't have to blindly reach for whatever it is you're looking for. 

  
What are some of your small space storage ideas?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Munchies...DD edition

We all have those annoying money sucking habits-the ones that seem totally meaningless, it's only $4, yeah those ones.  
Well, we like to spend about $25 a week on a Sunday morning breakfast at Dunkin Donuts.  
Our family time is sporadic, and Dunkin Donuts on Sunday morning became our tradition.
Anyone who knows us knows they can find us there.
When they ask me my Sunday plans and I say, "going to Dunkin Donuts," the response is, "yeah, ok, besides that..." 
I enjoy getting out of the house early, and hey, gotta eat!  
But, that $25...is $100 a month.
Yeah, we had that talk this past week.  
But there's no way I'm giving up my Sunday Dunkin Donuts breakfast...so I became Dunkin Donuts!

Each picture has the link attached, so click away.  

image 
I didn't use any meat on my sandwich.
I used a disposable muffin tin in a larger size-that required more eggs than the recipe calls for, and it took longer in the over, but I just kept checking in 2 minute increments.  
Then I baked all the contents for about 10 minutes.

Copy Cat Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolata 
My husband and kids always get a coffee coolatta, brown drink, my kids so affectionately call it. 
The recipe calls for hazelnut syrup-which I couldn't find, so I substituted caramel syrup and even though this didn't end up tasting exactly like a coolatta, you can't really go wrong with it.  
Plus, adding whipped cream to anything always makes people happy.

dunkin donuts coffee 
I know this is a strange confession, but I'm actually horrible at making coffee.
It's genetic-my mom's coffee is terrible too.
Making coffee is hard stuff-ask someone how they make their coffee; there's no recipe, it's just filling this amount, to a certain line...yeah, no help there.  
When I found this recipe, I was really thrilled to finally have something to go by-and I can definitely tell you that the end product is great coffee!  
I made my large batch of coffee black because not everyone likes their coffee light and sweet-especially those of us on a diet new lifestyle adventure.  

http://www.cookingwithcarrie.blogspot.com/ Of course, no Dunkin Donuts breakfast would be complete without the donuts!  
This recipe uses biscuit dough-which reminded me that I had frozen challah dough.  I wouldn't use that dough on a regular basis, but for the sake of finding an excuse to use it up-I defrosted the challah.  
Yes, the donuts tasted that challah with glaze-still delicious though.  
I'm actually not sure if there are kosher pre-made biscuits, but I found a recipe that seems simple enough.

So what was the $ breakdown.
Here's the thing-all of the ingredients will give me multiple uses.  
In fact, the only ingredients that were special for this breakfast-that I'll be able to use again, were the chocolate and caramel syrup and the almond extract-all for the coolatta.  
In total, I spent $37 on all the ingredients. 
$11 on those ingredients listed above-which I won't have to re-buy for a long time.  
I spent $7 on coffee-but I still have enough ground coffee for another large batch.  
All in all, I'm calling it a win.  

 

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July

Hannah and I are alone for the day-after an emergency pediatric ophthalmologist run!
Never a dull moment..

I decided to play around with some July 4th fashion...


Look at that cute ruffle butt!

Happy 4th Everyone!!!
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