Gluten-Free dog treats

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After searching the internet far and wide, I can safely say that most major pet stores do not sell gluten-free dog treats.  As most dogs do, my little beagle (Birdie) goes coo-coo for dog treats, at least 2 times a day. She lets me know that she’s having a cankering for one by happily approaching me, then beckoning me to follow her to the treat room, her kind and eager eyes glistening more and more as we get closer to the room, tail wagging to and fro of course. She always wants a treat right before bed, I like to think that she likes to go to bed feeling like a good happy girl so that she has sweet little puppy dreams. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a tasty midnight snack to hold their tummy over until breakfast? Unfortunately for my treat loving girl, the doctor has concluded that she is gluten-free (because she was having seizures) so we bought her some gluten-free kibble, but we continued to give her treats (1/day) because we figured just a small amount couldn’t hurt.  About 2 months ago, my dad decided that its best to completely cut out the treats, so we started using a little piece of cheese as an alternative, but I can tell that its just not the same for her. I decided I want to try my hand at making homemade gluten- free dog treats, made with lots of love and care for her! 

I ran a basic Google search and found some meh recipes, so I took my search over to Pinterst and was rewarded with many beautiful and healthy looking recipe ideas! I think I want to try this one first, except I won’t use bacon. Maybe I’ll use a little cheese or even some salmon! Birdie LOVES salmon!!! I always imagine that she would find a way to catch fish in the wild if she had to scavenge for her own food. 

Hopefully I can try it out this weekend, and post back here on how she likes it! 

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Baked Rosemary …

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Baked Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Make this chicken for your man and he will be very happy. Seriously. I served this to my boyfriend on Tuesday night. He graciously showered my cooking with compliments for the duration of the meal with plenty of mmmm mmm mmms, and I think I heard it from him again the following night when we finished the leftovers. I made drumsticks because he prefers dark meat chicken, but you could use whatever kind of chicken you fancy. Maybe even use a whole chicken, that’s something I’ve never done. When I do it will be awesome. I will put everything delicious into it and bake it until its perfectly golden and moist. Is it just me or is baking a whole chicken usually done by the woman of the house? True or not, that is why I’ve never made one before. SO, I always get really confused with baking time for chicken. Some people cook their chicken for an hour and a half, others 45 minutes, and some recipes call for only 20 minutes. I have always been warned that eating under cooked chicken is a no-no, so baking it makes me nervous every time. For 5 chicken legs, I cooked it at 400 for 30 minutes, then at 350 for 25 minutes, then I broiled it for 5 minutes. Which equals an hour total, which puts me right in the middle of the wide chicken cooking time range, and it turned out perfectly. 20130726-143907.jpg

Ingredients:

5-6 chicken legs
1/4 cup lemon juice
tbsp salt
tsp lemon pepper
tsp garlic powder
tsp onion powder
tbsp butter
5-6 sprigs of rosemary kept intact

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees and pull out a baking dish for the chicken
  2. Wash and dry chicken legs (I pulled the skin off of 2 because I don’t like it) and place them into the baking sheet, side by side
  3. Generously sprinkle salt over chicken, followed by lemon pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder (this was a perfect combination for me, but feel free to experiment if you have any other favorite spices you’d like to incorporate)
  4. Pour lemon juice over the chicken, making sure each one gets a good washing of it before it settles onto the bottom of the pan
  5. Top each leg with a little dab of butter (in total I used a little less than a tablespoon split among the legs)
  6. Finally, lay the rosemary over the chicken and put into oven for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, lower heat to 350 and cook for 10-30 more minutes, depending on how much chicken you used.
  8. If its not golden brown enough, put your oven on broil for 3-5 minutes at the end. When you slice into the chicken and the juices are running clear, it is ready to serve.

I served mine with a lemon arugula salad and some whole wheat penne pasta with a Parmesan sauce, but I think next time I’ll make a really light white wine cream sauce or a rice pilaf.

Treating myself

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This week, I’ve made a notable effort to treat myself well and to allow myself to pursue my goals.  I’ve done bedtime yoga, I’ve cooked healthy meals, I’ve had a detox tea, I went on a shopping spree all by myself (I really shouldn’t have waited 2 years to do this because I wanted to lose some weight! I felt so lost in the store, but once I got in the dressing room I felt so glamorous and special trying on all of the new clothes that would be mine!), I went to the gym, I finished a book and started another one and I’ve made time for a social life before work. Everything has been working out really well and as this work-week comes to a close, I realize that I haven’t felt this good in a really long time. So, I’m going to make a weekly list of things I would like to treat myself to. Starting today:

  • Running on Saturday (bonus on Sunday too) morning with J: YES, exercising in the morning is a treat! I permit myself to put my running shoes on and go outside first thing in the morning when I would usually be wearing my slippers and making espresso and eggs for J & I while we finish up a movie we fell asleep to the night before.
  • Yoga before bed (weekends are a bonus): I did this a few times this week and it was seriously the best decision I’ve made in a while, so why not keep it up? I’d be crazy not to.
  • I want to buy a soothing/healing/organic/expensive product: Such as a facial mask or a foot butter. I want it to smell like heaven and I want it to have magical beautifying healing powers.
  • Buy new shoes and some more of these awesome pants that I found at Nordstroms (JAG) 
  • Make a homemade body scrub out of leftover coffee grounds: Its supposed to help with cellulite. And I need lots of help with that.
  • Read by myself at a coffee shop: This is going to be a hard one. But I really want to do it.
  • Add to my garden: My tomato and basil are doing REALLY WELL (surprisingly, because I have had so much bad luck with gardening in the past). I want to add cilantro and rosemary to the family!
  • Commit to a month long detox drink: I got super pumped for my detox tea yesterday… but this morning I had no time to make it so I feel like I’ve already failed on making my detox last more than one day. BUT I can’t let myself feel that way!! The day isn’t over and I plan to have one after work! BOOYA!

I’m content with that list. Some of these are longer term goals, some I definitely am going to do by this time next week and some are permanent tasks that I will do every week forever!! and ever and ever and ever. I’m happy that I made a lot of them free, treating myself doesn’t have to be expensive!

Good vibes

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Oh the wondrous feeling, the bluebirds are singing, it’s been a mighty fine day.

First things first, the rule of 3 has so far proven to be a cure-all for my time management and my awful tendency to postpone everything that I have been wanting to incorporate into my daily routine. TAKE THAT, procrastination. Here are the 3 things I did last night:

  • Cardio at the gym with strength training
  • Yoga
  • read Bossypants
  • bonus: didn’t overeat ^.^ (pat on the back!!)

It really is very simple, just be who you want to be. There’s nothing stopping you!! If you want to go to a coffee shop & read for an hour once a week, by all means, go do it! Eliminate what makes you feel bad (for me, maybe that is sitting around watching marathons of of an ABC family series) and just start going after your dreams (gardening, running, creating a blog, or working on that long list of books to read). Just do it!!!

Second, I have noticed a pretty drastic change in myself over the past 4 months. I’d say the birthplace of this was when a close friendship I had dissolved into nothing at the blink of an eye. Something about it gave me pure clarity. It hurt for a while; I was confused, sad and lost. However, as time passed I gained so much perspective about myself, others and what I truly want in life. I rid myself of bad habits, drama, and focused inwards to heal, grow and become a better person. I realized how important it is to be content with myself, to be the best friend I can be to those that I really love, and to put myself first when I need to. I feel so much more complete. At first, I felt empty, she was no longer there and I didn’t know what to do. But now, I feel even more full of life than ever, the part of my life that she filled has now been replaced with so much spiritual energy and happiness, and most importantly, gratitude. I became so aware of how grateful and appreciative of the wonderful friends in my life that I took for granted before. Grateful for my health, my happiness, this beautiful world of enormous opportunity. Its really interesting how a loss so small can open up a sea of understanding and growth.

20130725-105025.jpgLast night, I found this pretty rad blogger/yogi named Sarah Beth, she had a great youtube video for bedtime yoga, after doing that I was so curious about her website, so I forced myself out of my sleepy state and watched a few of her videos and perused her blog. She had a lot of information about yoga, with great instructional videos, but she also touched a bit on her raw food diet which sounded so life-changingly amazing. I kinda want to try it… if it cures everything for me that she says worked for her. Clear skin, weight loss, feeling energized, alert, focused, so much good can come from this!! Anyway, I’ve never been into ‘detox’ drinks, but she posted a recipe for one and I decided to try it this morning since she inspired me so much to be healthy. Even though it has apple cider vinegar in it, its really not that bad!! I could see myself drinking this every morning for 15 days to see if it has any sort of benefit. Maybe today will be day one… if the weekends weren’t so hard.. I’m really nervous about the weekends. Its sooo hard to turn down a gorgeous breakfast spread to share with my boyfriend. We are definitely creatures of habit, and we spend our weekends together, waking each morning with a warm eggy breakfast and sometimes bagels and cheese and sausage. oh my… yumm. WELL, I guess since I’m feeling really really motivated, I’ll force myself to

TRY

REALLY

HARD

to make it through this weekend (and the next) drinking this detox-y stuff every morning. Ah there was something that Sarah Beth said in one of her videos about food… it went something like, “fighting off cravings isn’t easy, but YOU are in control of what you put into your body. if you don’t want it in there, you are responsible for not eating it”. I really liked that. Its so true, all that I truly want in my body is food directly from the earth, so why would I choose to eat Kraft Mac & Cheese? There is no reason other than its yummyness and my lack of self control. THIS WILL CHANGE.

So, yesterday my mama, grandma and I went out to lunch to our favorite Chinese place.. I had a packed lunch of salad and protein, but I can never turn down seeing them so I abandoned my packed lunch. I ordered beef with broccoli, brown rice, crab puffs (2), and hot & sour soup. My mom and I shared, so I got some of her sesame chicken. This places gives really big servings for their lunch special… and I usually only eat half. This time, I ATE THE WHOLE THING. During my meal it tasted so gooood and I was like nomnomnomnom mindlessly. But as I drove back to my office, I was appalled that I ate so much, feeling painfully full. I don’t know why I finished my plate, maybe because I didn’t want to bother with leftovers? I think what it is is that I’m a finisher. I have this weird need to finish food that I know is available to me. I was reading an article about a guy that was overweight because he was a finisher, and he also was a chef at a fine restaurant. So, instead of forcing himself to stop being a finisher, he just changed the types of food he consumed. Veggies, fruits and lean meats instead of pastas, fried foods and dairy. I could do that… but I don’t want to eliminate, I think that’s outrageous. I mean come on, my favorite food in the world is spaghetti, followed close by chicken alfredo. I only have one life to live, and I want it to be healthy of course! But I also am not giving up pasta or cheese. As my great grandmother always said, moderation is key.

I took what I learned from lunch and applied it to my dinner last night. My boyfriend (from here on out I will be calling him ‘J’) went to the gym with me which was so nice!!!! but then afterwards he wanted to get chips, queso and margaritas. This is something we do once a week (creatures of habit) and I love them because we have hilarious conversations about life. So we went, but I got one glass of wine (saving me 200 unhealthy calories!) and I insisted we avoid the queso (saving $4! and like 500+ unhealthy calories). Then we went home to have real dinner, he wanted a grilled cheese & soup, so I made him that but I only had soup and added leftover baked chicken and some steamed zucchini to complete my meal. Grilled cheeses and tequila and queso are delicious and its a challenge turning them down, but the feeling I had from a small healthy meal compared to how I would have felt after a large unhealthy one is SO WORTH IT.

WHEW!!! That was a long post.

meeting my short-term goals, (should be) easy enough .

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I make a few goals for myself everyday to help me lead the life that I aspire to have, such as watering my plants, practicing my running, reading, yoga, cooking healthy meals and working on my cookbook, etc. I really really really want to do these things.

like really.

But somehow, my laziness/lack of personal time overrides my desire to be productive and I end up having an ongoing list of to-do’s that goes untouched and subsequently makes me feel out of touch with myself, like I’m not pursuing the life that I want to have.  Its beyond frustrating to have a never ending to-do list, so I really would like to nip this problem in the bud. I have endless ambitions, so in order to make my way through them, I think its important to not overload my agenda. I was reading an article the other day, I can’t find it right now, but it was talking about how this successful guy (I’m terrible at remembering names) became successful by following the rule of 3. He starts his day off by looking at his to-do list and picks out only THREE things that he has to complete for the day, therefore he avoids the stress & frustration, and he has the luxury of focusing on just 3 things and doing those 3 things well. So, for today, here are my 3 things:

  1. cooking a complete meal for my boyfriend and I
  2. doing a little yoga and weights
  3. watching the batchelorette.

I have completed them all, with 45 minutes to spare before the end of the day! The glorious feeling of accomplishment is so worth it!

For dinner I made a zesty arugula salad, baked rosemary lemon chicken drumsticks and whole wheat penne with alfredo sauce, I need to add posting these recipes to my to-do list. I was going to make a vegan cheese sauce (with cashews and nutritional yeast) but I couldn’t find nutritional yeast. Instead, I made a quick cheese sauce with some fresh grated Parmesan. It wasn’t as healthy or raw as my original plan, but it was really divine and I didn’t indulge on too much of it.

Then, I cleaned up, and did some short exercises and stretches.

100 crunches

25 reverse crunches

10 pushups (I really need to improve on these!)

25 squats

20 arm weights

15 minutes of bedtime yoga/meditation/stretching (this felt incredible!!!)

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Summer Reading

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Summer Reading

I have read more this summer than I have in the past 6 years! I have always found great pleasure in getting lost in a book. Being the introvert that I am, I enjoy the quiet solitude of reading. The reason I haven’t read much in my adult life is because I have been terrible at time management. Luckily, I’ve improved on this immensely, and now so much room in my life to read! Although, I could always go for more reading time.. Anyway about the link, I love when NPR posts about books! I’m always looking for great recommendations, and I think that they are a reputable source. I still don’t have a specific author that I can call my favorite. I remember when I was in 5th grade I read all of the Lois Duncan books. I crave that feeling of trusting that any book I pick up by a favorite author will feel like home. I’ve been selecting books by genre, or top sellers and for the past 2 years, I’ve been reading all of the dystopias I can find, from Hunger Games to the Ugly series. I have a few more series on my list to read (one I recently read about on the Healthy Bitch Daily blog) Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall, but I am taking a break from reading about the future, and I am currently enjoying Tina Fey’s Bossypants, to follow up my 4 day read of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which was my favorite read of the summer, Mindy Kaling is my new best friend, even though she doesn’t know me. I loved 30 Rock, so I think I’ll love Fey’s book. I never watched The Office but I definitely want to, actually I really want to see the Mindy Project even more. Because its all about Mindy Kaling, I can’t get enough of her!!

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scheduling

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scheduling

LOOK AT THIS! I love being creative and making personalized planner charts that have a place for every crazy little thing I like to keep track of in a20130723-121725.jpg week’s time. If I don’t write things down, I am in a constant state of worry and anxiety, stressing that I might forget something really really important (everything is important!). Plus, it helps me eat more mindfully if I have a place to plan out meals and color code them. I’m going to start using these weekly to keep up with my life, maybe I’ll get some sort of slim sturdy binder thing to put them in so that I can carry them around with me day to day. OR maybe I’ll figure out a cool way to use it on my iPad. I COULD MAKE AN APP, that’d be awesome.  I try to be tech-savy and make use of my ical/iphone for convenience purposes but I never end up checking my icalendar.. making it pointless. Also, there is something about writing things down that is so much more satisfying, and it really helps me feel less stressed about my schedule. 

Italian Quinoa

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This morning I was packing my lunch, as I usually do on weekdays. I looked into my well-stocked fridge and found lots of beef, leftover veggies, some week-old berries and dairy galore. Basically everything I’ve been eating for the past week. I wanted something new so I found some fresh tomatoes (red & yellow) on the counter and decided to make a tomato and basil salad (with basil from my garden!), I added a little balsamic, s&p, and then some evoo, but accidentally poured too much and was left with an over-oiled tomato salad. Being the quick problem solver that I am, I whipped up some quinoa and tossed that in, making a perfectly balanced lunch! I felt so proud of myself, diet day 1 is off to an awesome start! Continue reading

hello and welcome

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So the whole reason I created a blog is to help me feel more complete, because seriously every day of my life I have all of these thoughts and no where to put them, and I’ve decided that having a blog will finally fill that void, and thus giving me more self-satisfaction. And, hopefully this will force myself to stick to a healthy plan and shed some of this fat along the way, ultimately leading me to become the person I want to be… by the time I’m 25 years old. My birthday is in June, so that gives me ONE YEAR to make some major headway. And maybe, just maybe, this blog can be inspiring to someone out there that can relate to me and my chubby fat girl problems.

I feel like its time to tell you a little bit about myself before I jump right into regular postings of food, recipes, pictures, etc. I’m much better at list-formats than story telling, so here we go. list time.

    • mee… brown hair, brown eyes, Julie, Jewish, happy. My favorite feature of my body is my face. Hopefully in a years time, I’ll be able to say the same thing about my arms, legs, tummy, neck and um… my bummm.
  • I LOVE DOGS (and all animals too). I will be posting plenty-o-pics of my beagles, so please feel free to navigate away from here if you don’t like dogs, I won’t be mad. I’d do the same for someone that posts too many pictures of their child (too many: more than 2-3 pictures a day, daily. this blog of mine will never get to that extreme in dog postings, don’t worry)20130722-152958.jpg
  • I also love food, I’m an extreme foodie. So, same as above goes for those of you that don’t like food (who doesn’t like food? seriously.)
  • Some things I enjoy and want to incorporate more into my life: yoga, bike rides, swimming, photography, knitting, pilates, shopping for cute clothes (yea, I haven’t done this one in about 2 years because I’ve gained weight and I refuse to fill my closet with new fat clothes, people probably think I’m a homeless person because I never have new outfits, but I really do not care that much).
  • I have a full time job, which annoyingly stands in the way of my dream to be a full-time blogger, so pardon my lack of perfection in this blog thus far. Whenever I have free time, I promise to make this blog as awesome as it can be!
  • I have been trying to lose weight for a VERY big portion of my life, and now I am finally FINALLY going to do it. I don’t care how much I miss being comfortably fat and being able to pig out with no self control. I just KNOW that fitting in a size 8 or less will feel incredible.

There’s more to my list, I assure you, but I’m at my jobby job and I have to get off my lunch break now.

But you can expect that every day I will post a visual food journal, maybe I’ll even get fancy and add a calorie counter? The possibilities are endless.

Ciao for now!

Title brainstorming

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Part of the reason I’m just now starting a blog is because I’m really indecisive at blog naming, and I’m terrible at naming things in general (sorry future children). Here are some blog titles I considered using:

eating my way thin

inner skinny goddess

pure, clean, simple

Mindy Kaling had a great one I would love to use:

“My boyfriend fits into my pants, and other atrocities”

but I settled with:

chubby fat girl problems

my boyfriend didn’t entirely approve because he thinks I shouldn’t call myself chubby, or fat. He has a point, and its really really sweet for him to say that. But, I think that my title pretty much sums up my life, considering that I think about my weight almost all day, facing all problems that I encounter, and even non-problems, every day things. I actually think most women do this, our society is so effed up.