Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthy Pizza!

Yes, I did it. I used the words "healthy" and "pizza" in the same sentence.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Laura, and I'm a pizza addict.

You know how there are wine connoisseurs? Well, my husband and I are pizza connoisseurs. Literally. We can't get enough of the stuff. We've tried just about every frozen pizza variety there is, and have ordered from just about every pizza joint within our delivery range. Healthy, right? Expensive too.

We knew one of the biggest battles we would face along our quest to healthy Legos would be our love and adoration of pizza. And the cravings. And I'll admit, it hasn't been easy.

So on those days where we are really wanting a pizza, we have it. But we make it ourselves (cheaper and free of trans-fats and grease!) and we make it healthy. I actually much prefer making it myself because I control what goes in it! No gross hidden preservative-type ingredients that I can't pronounce, no spray-on grease, and the best part: no need to tip a delivery guy!

We use a large whole wheat pita bread (each) and start by adding pizza sauce (or homemade tomato sauce). Then we use Butterball turkey pepperoni (one WW+ point for TEN slices!) and go nuts on the veggies - mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes - and finally top it off with 1/3 cup of Kraft low-fat tex mex cheese blend. Bake it at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, and eight WW+ points later, we have a really tasty, personal-pan sized pizza!

Our favorite side dish for pizza is a light Caesar salad - they just go hand-in-hand together! This meal is so satisfying and guilt-free, I doubt we'll be ordering out any time soon :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Me + Yoga = Potential Disaster

I am extremely inflexible. I always have been. It's also something I've always wanted to change, but never really did anything about it. Much like weight loss - it was something I always wanted, but never did anything to achieve it. I'd bitch and moan because I was so big and miserably uncomfortable and my clothes didn't fit ... while eating a pizza. 

Well, I FINALLY did something about my weight loss. I got off my butt and I applied myself to getting healthy and fit again. I learned how to control my portions, eat properly, and how not to let food control me. I have motivation, determination, and a passion to keep learning about nutrition and making better foodie decisions! I'm feeling better than I have in YEARS!

Except for that whole flexibility thing. Yeah. I'm pretty sure I know a few trees who have better moves than I do!

So again .. I'm finally (about to) do something about it! I'm going to my first yoga class tonight. I'm sure I'll get stuck in some position or another and will have to be carried out in a wheelbarrow .. But it's the first step I'm taking in the right direction. No more complaining about my flexibility .. I'm on my way to fixing that!

It will be hard. I know that. I expect it. I'll probably feel like giving up ten minutes into the session. But I'm not going to let the "old" me interrupt my determination to get fit. I will push myself until I'm crying but I will not give up! And tomorrow when I'm sore as hell and wanting to never go back .. I WILL go back. Just because something is hard doesn't mean I won't do it again. If my babies can learn to walk after falling on their bums over and over and over again .. I can do yoga. And hopefully before I know it, I'll be Upward-Facing-Dog-posing 'till the cows come home!! 

Until then .. I've stocked up on epsom salts, Rub A5-35 and Robaxacet. This is going to be fun!! (And painful. Can't forget the pain.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Breakfast in six colorful WW+ points!

I love fresh fruits. I love whipped cream. And I loooove pastry-like breakfast foods. Just because I'm dieting doesn't mean I can't enjoy all of the above!

The gorgeousness that is summer is made even more wonderful with all of the in-season berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries .. All available at much cheaper than during the winter season and much more delicious!

I actually find that this breakfast gives me more energy than eating an old favorite breakfast meal at a certain McPlace we all know about .. 

This meal is so simple to make and just a pleasure to eat. Two Eggo blueberry waffles (I usually buy the whole-wheat version but couldn't find them this time!) piled high with half a sliced banana (the other half went to my daughter!), a few sliced strawberries and a bunch of halved HUGE blueberries. Topped with one tbsp of 95% fat-free Cool Whip... Who needs syrup and butter?! Not this Mama!

(I fully intend to find a light homemade waffle recipe because I prefer homemade to store-bought any day! Who needs all those preservatives!?)

I hope you enjoy it a much as my family does! Bon appetit!

Friday, May 25, 2012

One check off the bucket list

I have a bucket list.

It's not really written out, it's more like a wish list of sorts that I keep locked up in my head .. There's no notebook in the world that holds enough pages to contain my entire bucket list!

I have wanted to donate blood for a long while now, but there were many things preventing me. My tattoos and piercings, and the 6-month wait required before being able to donate after having them done. My pregnancies were another big reason, and then the six-month wait after delivering the babies. I was also told for years untruthfully that I wasn't able to donate (I won't go into that)

I'm ashamed to admit that I was one of those ignorant teenagers that thought, "blood's not in me to give, it's in me to LIVE!" and I thought I was so tough and strong because I had that attitude. Boy, was I ever an idiot!

Yes, blood is in us to live. But we have so much and they take so little when you donate ... What harm does it cause anyone to donate? It saves lives. I couldn't believe what I read online. It takes anywhere up to fifty units of blood to save a victim in a car accident. Eight units a week for a cancer patient. Up to five units for a hip / joint replacement. Up to five units for a coronary artery bypass.

We all know someone who has been affected by at least one of the above mentioned illnesses / needs. Would YOU give your blood to someone you loved, if they needed it?

Anyhow, I'm really happy to have done it, and plan to do it as often as I can. Knowing I have a rare blood type is even more motivation to donate. I want to help others.

And hey, I got free oreo's out of it :)

If you'd like more information on how and where to donate, or if you'd like to see if you're eligible for donation, check out

What a goofy self-portrait .. That's me in the blood mobile!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cutting Loose!

Yeah, my birthday is this week! I'm turning 18! (ha, ha.)

As much as I've been having success with my diet (and surprisingly enough, enjoying my healthier lifestyle!) ... Sometimes, you just need to let loose and not worry about the calories / fat / carbs ..

So tonight, I did!
Clearly ;)
(this was the free birthday dessert I got from my favorite restaurant in the world!! Look at that thing!!) omnomnom brownie ice cream goodness.

Thank you so much to my kick-ass hubby and my bestie for planning out this incredible evening and to everyone who came (and for everyone who was there in spirit!) I'm overwhelmed by your awesomeness!! :) I was completely surprised!!

Here's to making year 27 the best one yet!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Us: 1 - La Rocca Cheesecake: ZEEERO!

My husband and I have recently become obsessed with the show, "Eat, Shrink and be Merry." We get lots of great healthy food ideas and learn a ton of food trivia, about what's good / bad for you and why (did you know that the holes in Swiss cheese are called eyes?! And that the bigger they are, the more flavored the cheese?!)

Anyhow, as much as we LOVE the show, it does have one major downfall (for us): it sometimes make us crave the "before" version of the meals they make over. For example, one of the most recent episodes we watched was about cheesecake. It featured La Rocca's chocolate brownie cheesecake .. And wow did it ever look incredible (yes, even after we saw what SUPER fatty ingredients went into it!!)

On our after-dinner walk this evening, we found the glory that is La Rocca's chocolate brownie cheesecake in the bakery of our local grocery store. We were literally walking up and down the aisles thinking up pros and cons to buying it. We were both 90% convinced to buy it. We wanted something cool and creamy and wonderful.

Instead, we actually managed to fight all our inner cravings and did not buy it. In fact, we came up with the most perfect dessert to get rid of our craving for something cool and creamy: pudding parfaits!

We bought fat-free chocolate pudding, 95% fat-free cool whip, portioned it out nicely into a martini glass, chilled it, sliced up some strawberries, and went to town. It was a very rich and very yummy treat. And only three points a la Weight Watchers!

La Rocca who?!

But seriously - because patting myself on the back in reality looks ridiculous - I'm so giving myself a cyber pat on the back. Totally earned it!

Oh, the agony!

I had a cheat night last night.

The hubs and I decided we wanted to treat ourselves to one of our old faves - panzerottis! It's like a calzone, just a small pizza folded in half and stuffed with cheese and toppings. It was pretty funny though, we hadn't ordered out in a LONG time and our old regular delivery guy showed up at our door asking us where we've been! Embarrassing reminder of our previous shameful eating habits.

Boy, the panzerotti was delicious .. On the way down .. But once it hit my stomach ..

I can't even begin to describe the horrible cramps and indigestion I had after eating my panzerotti. I was bloated, miserable, and nauseated. Super unpleasant. And to think I paid $20 to feel that way?!

My husband and I have been eating so healthy for a long while .. Perhaps we had detoxed our systems of all the garbage we were putting into them, and shocked the heck out of our digestive tracts with the greasy, cheesy torture-pizza we ate. Because I wasn't alone in my pain - my husband suffered along with me. It totally sucked.

It was a good lesson for us! When eating fresh and homemade foods, we feel great. We have lots of energy, we're satisfied without being full, and we feel all-around healthier. When we eat junk foods, we suffer through indigestion and bloating, stomach pains, and we feel run down and sluggish with zero energy.

One would think the score was:
Pizza place: 1 - Me: 0

But I like to think that I scored the point last night .. I learned one of the many advantages of healthy eating: it's painless!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Leftovers Lasagna!

I absolutely ADORE fresh vegetables - I keep our fridge stocked with a variety of them at all times! They're so tasty and good for you, and add a gorgeous splash of color to your plate at meal time. I mean, how great does a piece of bright yellow corn on the cob look beside your chicken and whole grain rice? Or those deliciously orange carrots tossed into your mixed greens?

I'm salivating. I love veggies.

Sometimes I go a little (okay, a lot) crazy in my local Farm Boy and buy way more than my family's four mouths can eat in a few days .. So to avoid letting those veggies spoil, we like to come up with different ways to use them and freeze them. One of our favorite things to do is make a homemade tomato sauce and dice those extra veggies to throw into the mix, or even making a batch of soup (although now that it's summer, there's more soup in our freezer than there is in our meal plan!)

Today I used tons of different veggies to make a healthy veggie lasagna. I only used two layers of noodles (no need to have the extra carbs when you can use sliced zucchini to hold it all together!) and jarred light Ragu (it was a last-minute decision to make the lasagna, no time to defrost a tub of our homemade sauce!). Then I layered in the veggies: sliced cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, green peppers, and baby spinach. The veggies had so much flavor that I needed very little cheese: I did one layer of light ricotta cheese in the middle, and a layer of a light cheese mix (our favorite - Kraft low-fat tex mex shredded cheese) to go on top .. No lasagna should go without that golden cheesy topping.

Ten minutes of prep and 45 minutes of cooking made for an incredibly tasty and healthy meal, and it was all made from things I already had in the house.

Even though this lasagna was packed with veggies, I don't believe in serving a meal without a side of veggies (I'll blog about that another day!) so I paired it with a light Caesar salad (Dole makes the perfect kit!) .. What a great, summery meal. And for those following Weight Watchers - my entire plate costed me only eight points!!

I'm making two more lasagnas to freeze for another day. Perfect to throw in the oven when company is coming or when we just don't have the time to prepare a meal on one of those crazed days!

What are some of your favorite ways to use up what's on the verge of spoiling in your fridge? Share your tips!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Fresh Start!

Many of you know, I used to have a blog before (Diary of a Cheese Addict)

That blog didn't crash and burn ... I did.

As much as I enjoyed writing that blog, I found it too hard. I was constantly focusing on food and my diet, which put too much pressure on myself to succeed at my weight loss - and that sucked because as we all know, losing weight is hard enough without any additional pressure. Plus, if ever I had a bad day or week, I'd feel guilty and avoid blogging about it .. Which helped me fall off the wagon. I was dieting by myself and having a hard time sticking with it.

Well, I'm back on the wagon. I joined Weight Watchers again and am finally back on my feet. It took a while .. when I first joined, I wasn't 100% ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle so my weight-loss yo-yo'd for a while. I'd lose one week, gain the next, miss a week, go back to find even more of a gain .. 

I finally got kicked in the ass. A really wonderful friend reminded me of where I would be if I had never joined Weight Watchers. And that hit home. I remembered how miserable I was at my largest weight. I had a hard time breathing while doing the lightest of housework, or while out for a walk. I had very little energy and had to really push myself to do things I love - like playing with my babies :( I was self-concious and didn't want to go out and be seen at my size. Depressing, huh?

 I use those memories as motivation. I don't want to get stuck in that hole again. I NEVER want to feel like that again!

I'm now 22lbs down and feeling really great. Already, I'm not struggling to breathe while walking. My pants are starting to fall off of me and that is AWESOME!! Today, I fit into a shirt that I haven't been able to wear since before I became pregnant with my daughter! I have SO much more energy! 

I have numerous sources of motivation, many of which you'll get to read about in my new blog. I'll be more than happy to share any tips and secrets I learn along the way. But that isn't all I'll be writing about. I need less pressure while on my weight-loss journey, remember?! 

I'll be blogging about anything I'm inspired to write about! My kids, my role as a mother and housewife, recipes I recently tried and loved, websites I need to tell the world about - all things I'll be blogging. 

So .. Cheers to a fresh start! :)