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Friday, August 24, 2012

I'd like to file a missing person's request for myself!!


Wow, it really has been almost 3 weeks since I have posted on my blog.  The last few weeks have been quite the emotional roller coaster and I let it ONCE AGAIN get the best of me.  Work stress, family stress, just mad at the world stress.  But, I am mostly just mad at myself.  Mad that I have fallen off the path that had me feeling better, healthier and happier.  It amazes me how I let life sometimes just drag me into places I really really don't want to be.  I can blame all kinds of stress for it, but the bottom line is that I am responsible.  I am accountable.  And, I only fail myself in the process by letting the possible feel impossible.

I guess its time to wipe myself off, start clean and try again.  Am I ready to try again??  I guess we will see.  Its time...one day at a time!!!

Much Love,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sometimes you feel like a CARB....Sometimes you don't.....


Another weekend has flown by and another work week is soon approaching.  I spent alot of time preparing for the week on the menu front.  I have so many items to share today.  Most of my items have been prepared with love for my hubby.  He'll be working nights this week so I wanted to be sure we had items ready and available for both of us. 

Yesterday I took my Saturday morning trip to the farmers market to get a few extra items I needed for the weekend and upcoming week.  However, before we headed out I prepared us breakfast using one of my favorite ways of cooking these days.  Yep, you guessed it....using my cupcake pan.  This is still working out quite well for me on the portion control.  My first item yesterday was Berry Pancake Muffins.  I used my favorite scratch made pancake recipe, added some berries and added a few sausage links on the side. Quick and easy!! 

Once we got back from the farmers market I just went on a cooking frenzy!!  I (with the help of my hubby) chopped up tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs to get the party started. (most of the items from our very own garden!!)  Added some odds and ends and created what could very well be my best spaghetti and meatballs ever.  I even kicked it into turbo by turning one meal into 3.  We stuffed some hot peppers (not that we really knew they were hot to begin with).  My hubby found that out the hard way...hehe.  This is a "G" rated BLOG so I will not use his exact words.  But, basically it seems as though someone thought it would be funny to change up the tags at the greenhouse.  What we thought were sweet banana peppers were NOT!!!  THEY WERE HOT!!  Then lastly I figured why not a meatloaf too.  So here are a few of my photos to share....too bad we don't have smell-o-vision or scratch and sniff online!!!  LOL


Not that we need anymore carbohydrates TODAY, but I figured I would throw together a couple loaves of bread to have a little with dinner tonight.  In doing so that means Dan will have bread for his sandwhiches this week for work.  It took everything I had to eat only one slice tonight and not whip out that amish strawberry jam out of the fridge. But, the jam will live to see another day.  The bread however.....???  Dan will be home alone tomorrow until about 2pm.  hehe

The weekend wouldn't be complete if I didn't make a little something to make the sweet tooth happy.  This time I chose a little chocolate done a healthier way.  "Dark Chocolate Zucchini and Greek Yogurt Muffins"  This was my first attempt at these.  I basically winged it and they came out pretty good.  I might try to tweek it a bit over time to see if I can't improve on them.  However, they did take the edge of my chocolate craving.

So I made it through another weekend without complete disaster.  One step at a time to a healthier me.  Everything I'd like to see happen isn't going to happen overnight.  However, I certainly feel better and my blood sugar numbers have never been this good.  So for now I will continue on my journey and hopefully meet many more goals I wish to accomplish.

Now that I am feeling better and have more energy my next step is to get my butt movin' and a shakin'!!!  Well maybe not all at once...hehe  But you know what I mean....

If you'd like to check out a few my new recipes come visit me at http://www.justapinch.com/me/chelbell95


Friday, August 3, 2012

The end of a very long work week!!!


Wow....what a week!! Been a busy one that's for sure.  We had several people out of the office this week, but those of us there all pitched in and got the job done.  What a difference from past experiences at the workplace.  I know for me stress can be a disaster for me when it comes to my eating habits.  But, things are going much better for both of us on that front.

Dan and I both have been putting in some long hours at work so keeping everything in check could have been a bit harder on the healthy eating thing this week.  But, luckily I had things prepared this week for most of our meals...3 meals a day.  We had a luncheon at work the last couple days at work, but I can honestly say I stayed on track for the most part.

So....its the weekend and that is generally when I literally "GET COOKIN".  I have a few ideas to add to this weeks menu this week.  I have really been trying to come up with more options......more healthier options.

First on my agenda tomorrow is to hit the farmer's market in Monroeville.  Then, I think I am gonna head home to whip up a batch of spaghetti sauce to use for Sunday's dinner.  Our garden is overflowing with peppers and tomatoes right now. So I am gonna make the most of them and treat my husband to spaghetti and meatballs for Sunday.  Looks like he'll be back on 3-11 shift all next week.

A true test of my will power when it comes to evenings alone at home.  I am feeling confident this week will be different from ones past.  Positive thoughts would be much appreciated!!

Anyway...just a quick little note to wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Love Much....M

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday, Monday.....


Just a quick little note today to say all is good.  It's been a pretty good day all around today.  Work was crazy busy and stressful.  But, I made it point not to let this stress break my stride tonight when I got home.  Dan's first day back on the 3-11 shift will also NOT break me.  If I am really going to do this it's up to me and nobody else.  He never makes me accountable....but sometimes I wish he would.  Truthfully, I hope we can do this together and so far he is trying. 

I had my dinner planned for this evening which makes a world of difference.  All my hard work yesterday paid off by having planned out breakfast, lunch and dinner for tonight and several nights this week.  This along with my continued use of myfitness pal (still nameless by the way....hehe) helped me all day long.

It's great to have options and not just the same old, same old.  So what shall my choices be for tomorrow?  The possibilities are endless.  The fridge is full of homecooked meals for the taking.  Grilled chicken, baked and hard boiled eggs, spinach lasagna, ham and cabbage, and lots of fruits and vegetables to boot!!

So goodnight faithful followers.....I will leave you with a peek at my yummy Spinach Salad with grilled onions, mushrooms, chicken along with fresh raspberries and raspberry poppyseed dressing.  This was a "winner, winner chicken dinner".....as my food network fav Guy Fieri would say.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do you know the "muffin pan"?


So...almost through another weekend.  Another successful weekend on the healthy trend!!  It was a busy Sunday morning in the kitchen.  I promised myself I would try to cook at least 3 new things a week to see if I can work some healthier choices.  Of course, I know that even for most healthy choices PORTIONS are also something you need to keep in check.

Well, I decided to try some new things to help with that side of it as well.  Developing new habits and new ideas I think is the only thing that has gotten me this far over the last couple of weeks.  Yes, I have stumbled, but I find myself today excited about what's next.

So...one of my tricks of late has been to still cook some of the things I like but to control my portions.  I've accomplished this by making individual servings so I keep things to a minimum.  I can still cook some of my favorites but keep the portion sizes smaller.  Today I tried a recipe combining a few of all my new ideas. 

This recipe has been lightened up a bit on the ingredient side as well as the portion size. Who doesn't love a good lasagna now and again?? Try this idea the next time you get hungry for this pasta treat.

Spinach Lasagna Cups

These turned out great with different textures and flavors.  And of course, there are endless combinations on ingredients.  I know I plan on trying several others of my own.  You can get this recipe if you are following me over at www.justapinch.com .  Find this particular recipe at http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pasta/spinach-lasagna-cups.html or click on the link on my blog home page. "Live, Laugh, Love, Cook"

I hope you will try it and enjoy!!!  I hope to have more recipes to share soon on this

Breakfast Tip for the week.
******Just another side tip when wanting a quick and easy breakfast.  Spray your cupcake tin with cooking spray.  Crack an egg in each one and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 mins. (This will depend on how you like your eggs.) You'll have eggs for the week that you can just pop in the microwave for a few seconds and eat with a slice of toast or even make a quick breakfast sandwhich.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Completely Fried!!!


It's been a couple days since I've had the chance to sit down and collect my thoughts.  I find myself very out of sorts on this particular night.  Its been a few long and busy days.  But, up until today things were still moving along quite well.

It seems today, however,was a day I lost my focus a bit.  I can't really say why....there is no good reason.  I guess I just wasn't thinking from the moment I woke up this morning.  A restless sleep last night may be the start of the problem.  Even my focus now is out of sorts, but I really want to express all my feelings during this journey....... And, be realistic that not every day is going to be a good day. (if only for myself because I really don't even know if anyone is reading my ramblings.... hehe)

I title this blog "completely fried" because it is not only how I am feeling tonight, but the temptation I found myself unable to resist tonight!!  I went to dinner with some friends tonight and I found myself ordering wings with a friend to share.  Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew I was going to regret it in more ways than one.

I wish I could say this is where the bad day began. However, I found myself picking at food I hadn't been eating since I started this journey.   A nibble here, a nibble there today at work. Then tonight eating the wings topped it off with an onion ring or two. 

Eating this stuff has left me feeling "completely fried".  My focus was off all day, my energy level is ka-put!!!  To top it off I just feel sick.....nauseous!!!   I didn't even enjoy it like I have been the good food I have been eating lately!!!

I find it hard to even express all the things I have going on in my head tonight because I am so "completely fried".  So....maybe if I just stop here for tonight I will be able to collect myself for the next time.  Feeling alone on this journey and defeated today with nobody to blame but myself.....

So do I have all the answers??....of course not!!!

So am I ready to give up??......of course not!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And I'm feeling.......GOOD!!!


After alot of hard work this week.... I am so happy to say IT PAID OFF!!! 

You'll see by my newly added weight loss ticker.............. its saying 10 lbs this week.  Yes, 10 whole pounds!!  Now this ain't my first rodeo and I know that not every week will be this successful.  However, it certainly makes me happy!!!  What makes me even happier is that my blood sugar levels haven't looked this good for as long as I can remember.

I guess you could say I had a bit of a plan. The first place I went last Saturday was to the local farmers market. I came home with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables.   I wanted to eat out less and cook at home more.  I wanted to have my meals planned out and not fly by the seat of my pants.  I wanted to try new foods, new ways and not the same ol' foods, the same ol' ways.  These are just a few things that I totally changed this week for the better.  I have made it my mission....almost my obsession this week to stick to my plan!!!

So far...its working!!  I plan on trying to stick with it and hope to enjoy more success!!  So, I thought I'd share a bit of my hard work from today!!  Today's items were cooked with love.  :-)

(So far...my hubby is liking this....but he was looking for the potato chips yesterday. LOL...sorry baby)  I was a good wife today and made him some baked tortilla chips to go with his salsa!! 

Along with this I managed to make Breakfast Muffins (Eggs, Sausage, Potatoes, Onions, and Green Peppers),  Broccoli and Cauliflower Quiche, Cottage Cheese and Pineapple Jello Salad, and last but not least....

Tonight's Dinner...................

 -  Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potatoes, and Steamed Green Beans -

These sweet potatoes were really good.  It was a new recipe I tried for the first time tonight.  I will add the recipe sometime this week for anyone who might like to try it.

Well....after a long day I'm ready for a bit of TV and bed....Tomorrow is a new day!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I made it through the dreaded Saturday.....


I don't know about you but the weekends are always the hardest for me when I am trying to eat healthier.  However, I got up this morning and the first thing I did was plan some dinner.  Dan was working today and I wanted to be sure we had a plan when he got home because if not I knew what it would be..... "What's for dinner?" 

I know we have been guilty on too many occasions where nothing is planned and we end up going out or ordering a pizza.  I was determined that this would not be the case today.  I have found this week that along with my fitness pal (previously introduced) planning my meals out has worked really well.  Using these tools together I have been able plan my meals and count my calories, carbs, sugars, etc.  If I overdo during the day....then I know exactly what the magic numbers are by dinner time. And, on a very good day I have enough left for a little evening snack. Right now I am enjoying a Sugar Free Chocolate Fudgcicle!!!  Yummy...Yummy...

After I had dinner in check I decided to just try and keep myself busy today.  I worked on some Gold Canyon Candle inventory, washed some dishes, and then most of the rest of the day I worked on my blog site until Dan got home from work around 2 or so.

So overall, I feel very accomplished today.  I think its time to settle down for the evening and start planning for tomorrow. Here is a peek at tonight's dinner...

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast along with Cabbage and Potato and Cheese Pierogies

I hope you'll take some time to look around my blog page as I begin to add new items.  I am new at this and still learning.  So...check back often.  You never know what might be poppin' up next!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend... Goodnight.... M

Friday, July 20, 2012

So much for walking and chewing gum at the same time!!


For any of you who might be on a similar journey for a healthier lifestyle I applaud you.  We all know its not easy....It's downright hard!!!  I must say overall I have had a pretty successful week.  I did hit a bit of snag this morning.

I woke up this morning with a swollen and sore tongue this morning.  Yeah, I am sure nobody really wants to know this but actually I write this as a warning.  I think I figured out what has done this to me after googling and researching some options. 

One tip when dieting is to chew gum to help suppress your appetite.  I also heard that cinnamon can help too.  Soo....Michelle has been chewing cinnamon gum like crazy this week. (I do believe it was helping)  Anyway... I think I had some sort of reaction because the inside of my mouth including my tongue became swollen and irritated with ulcers!!!  Yes, it is as uncomfortable as it sounds.

I am home from work today because I sound like I have a mouth full of marbles when I speak.  Hard to talk to customers when you look and feel the way I do.

So just a quick check in today!!  One good thing about what is happened....my tongue is too sore to eat much....Shrink tummy...shrink!!!  LOL


That's all for now....Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Dining Out Test - Pass or Fail?


So a true test for me while trying to watch what I eat is deciding what to order off the dreaded restaurant menu.  Yes, its true restaurants are getting better a marking items.  "Fit Fresh" here, "Low Fat" there, "Carb Friendly" everywhere else it seems!!  While these are much appreciated it still can be a tough decision.

I had dinner with 2 girlfriends tonight ( Yes, Holly you are #1 friend...hehe) But, my other partner in crime was my fitness pal.  My fitness pal helps me keep on track each day and also keeps me accountable when I might feel the urge to stumble a bit.  My fitness pal makes me keep track of everything I eat. ( And believe you me...she counts every nibble)  And, boy is she smart..she can rattle off calories, fat grams, carb counts like nobody's business!!!

Okay seriously,  if you haven't figured it out by now My Fitness Pal is a new app I have been using on my Blackberry.  And, NO.... I haven't given "her" a name...but it would be like me to do so.  I'll have to work on that!!!

Anyway...the My Fitness Pal program allows you to plug in most grocery items, restaurant meals with loads of options, and even create your own foods and meals.  You can use it both online and as an app on your phone.  It gives me the perfect way to track my eating from breakfast at home, to lunch at work, and tonight..... my meal out with a friend.   Take a look!!!

Herb Crusted Chicken
(I opted for a side of fruit instead of the potato in this photo)

                                       Calories  Carbs  Fat  Protein
Eat N Park - Herb-Crusted Chicken, 1 piece    265      5    12      33
Eat N Park - Sugar Snap Peas, 1 cup      53      9     0       4
Eat'n Park - Fruit Cup, 1 serving     59    15     0       1

   377    29    12     38

There is alot of other ways to use my fitness pal to help keep you on track....So far I am finding it to be very helpful.  My fitness pal even says I have enough calories left today to have a little snack!!

I think I see a sugar free fudge bar in my future. :-)

Well that is about all for my silly ranting tonight....It's been another good day!!

Laugh Often......M

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Rollercoaster of Emotions!!!


It's been another long day both at work and home, but now as the day is winding down I feel very accomplished.  I find myself looking forward to writing daily....even if sometimes its just the ramblings of a crazy person.  Let's face it!! There will always be something out there to cause us stress, make us sad, make us angry and yes make us VERY HAPPY!! 

I find it funny how all these emotions can be connected with food.  As I mentioned before I definitely am a stress/emotional eater.  I can't possibly be the only one realizing that food can be the center point for all kinds of emotions and occasions. 

Imagine a birthday party with no cake, a superbowl party with no chips and dip or buffalo wings, or a 4th of July picnic without the hot dogs and/or hamburgers?? These are times of celebration and what a better way to celebrate than with food.

So then there is sadness....and quite possibly others along with myself look to food for comfort.  Maybe you've lost a job, had a fight with a friend, having other health issues, or worst of all maybe you've had a loved one pass away.  What's the first thing people do when they hear a family member or friend has lost a loved one??  They take them food.  I am not saying this is the wrong thing to do by any means.   Maybe the people making the food find just as much comfort in making it as those who are eating it. 

Let me say for all of you who know me a little or know me a lot... I am obviously no psychologist.  I am simply putting my thoughts down as they happen to pop into my chubby little head....hehe

I find myself looking at things differently.....more clearly...more realistic.  It is helping me more and more each day.  It's making me accountable for MY OWN actions.

It was a much better day!!  I can honestly say I didn't cheat not one time today and I actually feel confident that there will be no snacking tonight!!! So says G.O.D!! (Girl On Diet)!!

So... as I wind down for the evening and I'm off to read another chapter of my book here is a peek at my yummy dinner from tonight.  BBQ Chicken Breast (Tyson-quick and easy) and Fresh Steamed Baby Potatoes and Green Beans with a little olive oil, fresh dill and salt/pepper.

Good night...sweet dreams... M

Monday, July 16, 2012



It is amazing how much someone's mindset can change in a day.... I spent all weekend pumping myself up that today would be another good day!!  I have always had my own definition of sorts for a Stress-FULL or Stress-FILLED day.  Unfortunately, I went from a high....to a medium today....not rock bottom, but I am disappointed in myself that I let a stressful day at work knock me off my so-called "high-horse".

Stress-FULL to me means a FULL tummy.  Yes, I am a stress eater... I know I am not alone in this but it can certainly make you feel that way sometimes.    It was a long, crazy Monday.  And....I did well all day... a good breakfast of whole grain cereal, ultra skim milk, and blueberries.  My mid-morning snack of Strawberry Greek Yogurt. ( I finally found one of these greek types I like....of all places at ALDI's)  Packed full of protein.  For lunch it was a salad with healthy greens, carrots, cucumbers and a bit of turkey bacon topped with a yummy fat free raspberry vinegar dressing.  Along with this I had a few crackers with WW white cheddar cheese wedge. (Also, very good).

So here is where a stressful day turned StressFULL.  I stopped at Sheetz to grab a drink on my way home and there it was.....something I hadn't had FOREVER.  Something you just NEVER find around my neck of the woods....But there it sat in the freezer calling my name. ( Did I mention its like 102 degrees and a downright sauna outside) 

Graeter’s French Pot Ice Cream.  And wouldn't you know it they had Mint Chocolate Chip which is one of my ALL TIME favorites when it comes to Graeters.  The chocolate chips (really it should be called CHUNKS) are sinful.

Of course I think this is a sign that its okay to buy this because the big guy up there must know I needed a little pick me up.  And he wouldn't put one of my favorite things right in front of me if he didn't really want me to have it.  (Yeah right....keep telling yourself that Michelle) 

I know now I was being tested and I FAILED!!!  I didn't do what I needed to do..... I didn't even think about what I needed to do.  And that was.....step back.....take a deep breath.....and ask God to get me past this temptation.  I started reading a book called  "A 21 Day Journey to a New You: FOOD, FITNESS, and FAITH for Women".  It talks about things such as God's plan for your health, respecting your body, and asking for God's help.

Now I am not gonna sit here as I write this and say that God and I are like this....

However, if this journey is what brings us closer together I can't think of a better reason right now.  So, I told there would be some good days and bad days..... I just didn't predict one of the bad days would be sooo soon!!  It's gonna be okay though..... I'm off to read again what I obviously forgot and I am gonna read and re-read until I get it to stick.  And this time I am gonna get it to stick somewhere else besides my HIPS....hehe!!

Thanks for reading... Love much... M

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Healthy Snack!!!

An oldy but a goody recipe when you need a healthy snack.


1 can                 black eyed peas
1 can                        black beans
2 cup                           frozen corn (small kernel)
1/2 cup                          green pepper -chopped
1/2 cup                  sweet white or red onion
1 can                           diced tomatoes (rotel adds some spice if you like)
1 cup                           zesty italian dressing (can use lowfat or fat free)
3/4 tsp garlic or shallot salt
jalapeno peppers (optional)
multi-grain tortillas


Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and allow to sit for at least 2 hours. I purchase tortilla scoop chips in regular or the multi-grain. A real hit at parties!! Enjoy!!

Can be doubled for larger crowds....(you're gonna need it)

You can't do the same thing today and expect a different result!!


What's so special about today? Today really has been like any other Sunday at home with my hubby. Up early to plan a Sunday dinner, maybe cook up something for lunches this week. Most who might follow this blog know I LOVE to cook....but I also LOVE to eat. Who doesn't right?

 What some of you may not know is that my love of cooking and eating hasn't been helping health issues I have. Some of which I have been dealing with my whole life, others that have creeped up over the last few years!! I was diagnosed with diabetes about 4 years ago. I have been kidding myself thinking this will ever just go away. Especially without me trying to actually do something about it. I have too much to live for these days and I certainly don't want a chocolate bar or that bag of "cheesy poofs" aka cheese puffs to take that away!!!

So.... I guess today (not sure why it's today) when I woke up and thought about cooking Sunday dinner and lunches for the week I thought. "I can still do this cooking thing that I love so much, but I have to start thinking healthier."

I am deciding to do this blog thing as a way to make myself accountable. Its also another  way for me to share some of my recipes.  And, if it helps other people keep me accountable then that's even better. Let's face it....its not gonna be all lettuce and tuna fish.   I am gonna fall off the wagon. I am gonna eat that piece of chocolate and an occasional "cheesy poof".

Today can be today....tomorrow can be tomorrow. One day at a time is all I can do right now. I hope as I begin this journey I can look back and realize as I am approaching the big 4-0 that life can really begin at 40. Tomorrow is a new day and I look forward to a healthier and even happier day after tomorrow!!

So check out a preview of tomorrow night's dinner!!!

Cabbage and Pepper Casserole

5 chopped green peppers
1 large onion ( + I use the onion tops also fresh from the garden)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/2 head of cabbage (cut into about 1 inch square pcs)
1 lb ground meat ( I used venison because it was lean, but you could use lean beef or even ground chicken or turkey)
1/2 container of low sodium chicken broth (about 16 oz.)
1 can of condensed tomato soup
1 large can of crushed tomatoes

Brown meat with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic until cooked thoroughly.  Cook peppers, onions, and cabbage until slightly softened in addl olive oil. ( this will be going in the oven too for further cooking).  Combine meat and vegetable mixture and then add the tomato soup, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes.

Once all items are combined pour into large casserole dish or other oven safe pot ( I used my cast iron dutch oven and it makes for great cooking).  Cook at about 45 to 60 mins covered.  Cooking time really varies based on how you like your vegetables.  I prefer them to still have a little crispness.

I hope you'll try this and let me know what you think.

Enjoy..... M