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I'm checking myself into FOOD REHAB!

7/31/2012 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments


Yes, that's right. I'm officially quitting processed foods for the next 30 days by following the Whole30 program developed by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  I have been reading their book "It Starts with Food" and it's mind blowing how terrible processed foods really are for our bodies. LIKE, SERIOUSLY. I'm not finished with the book, but they are hosting an official Whole30 for the month of August and I want to officially start their program tomorrow as well. I have been dabbling with this lifestyle for about a month or two now, but I have definitely had some cheat meals/days. This CANNOT happen on the Whole30. To fully reap it's benefits, I must cut out, cold-turkey, all un-natural, overprocessed junk and only fill my belly with REAL FOOD. According to the program guidelines, "Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruit, oils, nuts and seeds." So that's what I'm going to do!

Plus, my birthday is on August 30th so my gift to myself is a body free of bad-food addictions and maybe a couple pounds lighter. That would be nice.

I am going to TRY MY BEST to post daily on what I am eating for two reasons:

1.) I want to prove that this is a doable lifestyle commitment
2.) Hold myself accountable

So I encourage you to follow me on my journey to a clean, real food lifestyle. Please feel free to leave comments as I'm sure I will need the encouragement. Also, please let me know if you want to join the club - I could sure use an accountability partner!

 PS: I have actually been "Whole30 compliant" the last two days - here's what I've been eating:

On Facebook I called this a tropical salad: greens, diced pork chops, sweet plantains, avocado, peppers, carrots. No dressing - just pan sauce/drippings from the pork.
Huge salad: greens, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, zucchini, and about 4 oz of baked chicken (dark meat). No dressing, just pan juices/drippings from the chicken.
Crisp watermelon. One of my favorites.
3 strawberries, two handfuls of blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1/3 serving of pecans, and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Delish.
It's not  bad to have a HUGE plate of food when 75% of your plate is full of veggies! Greens & tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, broccoli, zoodles (zucchini cut into noodles), sauteed red peppers, and lean boneless pork chops.
another breakfast bowl, this time with almonds instead of pecans. Love this coconut milk. It's THE BOMB.
Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and two eggs fried in a bit of coconut oil
20 minutes of prep on Sunday has been clutch in keeping me eating healthy so far this week!

I know this may not be easy, but it's definitely doable. I don't even have to count calories - just make sure my plate is full of REAL food. And that I'm getting my carbs from vegetables/fruits, plenty of lean protein, and good fats. I can do this. You can do this. Any body can do this. Basically, just eat the way God designed us to eat: all of the wonderfully things He created in nature. Not the fake stuff created in labs.

Okay, here we go, I'm officially checking myself into Food Rehab.



Day 2 - Tabata Intervals

7/20/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Honestly, I know how to spell "intervals" but the news was on and they said "interview" while I was writing and I started writing INTERVIEW instead. My bad.

With Mark's help tonight, I completed Day 2 of the beginner crossfit program.

Tonight's WOD:

Tabata intervals (8 rounds of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest) of pushups, sit-ups, and squats.

I can't do a real pushup yet, so I went with the modified version on my knees. The sit-ups were tough since I've worked out my core three days in a row so I'm a bit sore. The squats weren't too bad and I'm hoping I'm not too sore tomorrow because I'm going hiking! Also, in theory I should have finished in only 12 minutes, but I took a couple minute breaks in between the different exercises instead of going straight through. I probably wasn't supposed to - oops!

In other news, I'm very saddened by the tragic events that occurred last night in Colorado. My heart and prayers are with the families. The Word of the Day is dedicated to them:

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord


2 Week Beginner CrossFit Program - Day 1

7/19/2012 *Sara-Marie* 3 Comments

So I have been researching CrossFit for about a month now and while intrigued, I've been also very intimidated by the athletes that take part. I mean, did you see any of the CrossFit games? These people are beasts!!! Mark has been interested too, but there aren't CrossFit gyms (or I believe they call them "boxes") near us and we already belong to a gym. Which is only a 2 minute drive from home.

I started toying with the idea of checking out the WOD (workout of the day) that gets posted on the website and trying to do it at home, if I could. Yesterday's workout included a bunch of pullups, which I know will be extremely difficult for me. In my search for pullup substitutions, I found two things:

1.) - are you serious? These women are preggo and dominating these workouts! I really have no excuse! I subscribed to this blog just for a constant reminder that anything is possible. These ladies rock.

2.) This 16 Day Beginner CrossFit Program - perfect! All of these exercises look doable - at the gym OR at home.

So after that motivation (and lots of great ideas for help on pullups from my FB friends), I decided to start the 2 week beginner program today.
I like check boxes.
My first thoughts:

1.) I know how to do a burpee, a squat and a situp. This shouldn't be too bad.
2.) I don't see this taking very long - is this really all I have to do?

I like to wear a heartrate monitor while I workout to make sure I'm in the "fat-burning zone" and track how many calories I burn. Well my heart rate shot right up after about 5 burpees. Those things are killer. The squats were fine, but I know I'm going to feel that tomorrow. The situps actually surprised me as being very challenging. I did do an ab workout last night so I'm not sure if my core was just tired, but every time I got to 20 situps, I was really pushing hard for the last 10.

I also have to admit that after my second set of burpees, I started feeling ill. I got light-headed and my ears started ringing really badly. I paused my stopwatch and sat down for a minute while the symptoms subsided. WARNING - TMI AHEAD. And then I puked. Good thing I was trying this from home and I have a bathroom on the first floor.

I started to feel really embarrassed with myself. Like, really? I couldn't do these 3 exercises? I know I'm stronger than that. For what it's worth, I get motion sickness very easily (even the treadmill makes me want to puke), so I'm guessing the quick up and down of the burpees didn't agree with me too well. But I gave myself a minute - and I decided to push through the rest of the workout. AND I COMPLETED IT. Talk about puke and rally.
 Now I'm sure that a trained crossfitter could probably do this whole WOD in like 5 minutes, but I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for doing it in less than 15 minutes and for pushing through despite my body's reaction to it. What seemed very simple, is actually kinda hard. And I know this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for tomorrow!

 Before I let you go, here's another WOD - except this time, it's the WORD of the day ;)

Psalm 51:10



ALL of the Comfort - NONE of the Guilt!

7/18/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Bowl of comfortliciousness - yea, I just made up that word.
It's been about a week or so since I've updated everyone on my weight loss progress. I would say that I've been so-so over the last two weeks. Some days have been better than others but I haven't hit the gym in almost a week - no bueno.  (Ugh, after rereading that last sentence - I'm heading to the gym tonight - no more excuses!!!) I am up about 1.8 lbs - which sucks, but I'm trying not to get too upset about it. It's also that time of the month, so I know I'm retaining some water. Along with the bloating, my cravings for comfort foods are sky high. Luckily, due to my abnormal obsession with Pinterest, I found this recipe! It was so easy to throw together and the results were wonderful. I only made a few changes: added 2 large sweet potatoes in addition to 4 small red baby potatoes I wanted to use up; I added some fresh rosemary sprigs; increased almost all of the seasonings - I used:  4 garlic cloves, 2 TBSP of italian seasonings, 3 TBSP of evoo, plenty of salt and pepper; 1 cup of broth; 5 TBSP of pomegranate balsamic vinegar; and I used 1.2 lbs of sweet italian turkey sausage. 
After roughly chopping all of the veggies: sweet potato, red baby potatoes, fennel, onion, carrots, red bell pepper, I seasoned with salt, pepper, evoo, garlic, chicken broth, and plenty of italian seasoning mix. Topped it off with some fresh rosemary sprigs. Don't it look purrrrrty? 

Next, I covered with aluminum foil and plopped the pan into a preheated 450 degree oven. While the veggies were roasting, I lightly browned the turkey sausage on the stove top. They don't have to be cooked all the way through because they will finish cooking in the oven.

After browning, I sliced these bad boys into bite sized chunks.

After about 45 minutes, I uncovered the veggies, dropped in the sliced sausage and added the balsamic vinegar. After a good toss, I put the tray back in the oven, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. I then tossed again and let it roast for another 10 minutes to get everything nice and browned. Like so:


This was delicious. Perfect comfort food for a cold winter night (or HOT summer with a working AC!) or just when you crave something awesome. I have to admit my favorite part was the sweet potato with the all of the other savory flavors. SO GOOD. Next time, I won't even bother with the regular potatoes. This was also my first time cooking with fennel. It gave a wonderful aroma but had a very mellow flavor once it had cooked down. This was so easy, I'm sure I will make it again - with whatever veggies I could get my hands on!

EXTRA BONUS - this is guilt free! A big bowl of veggies + lean meat = WIN! 
My belly and my mind are thanking me :)

Any other ideas for wholesome, good-for-you, comfort food recipes?



One thing remains

7/10/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 13:13

Now those of you who know me very well will know that I love a song with a good drum beat. Especially when listening in my car, I will tap the steering wheel as if I'm playing a drum (I get that from my Papi who has played congas his whole life), or I will play the air drums like it's nobody's business.

The song "One thing remains" has been on constant repeat in my car the last couple of days. Not only does it have a killer drum build up that stirs up everything inside of me, the message is so simple, yet so true, and oh so powerful.


Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains
One thing… Remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

Because on and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love...

No matter what we are going through, our God's love is GREATER, NEVER-ENDING, and will NEVER FAIL US.



New Recipe: Maple Dijon Balsamic Glazed Chicken

7/06/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

I know I'm very late, but this week I finally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. It has been both the BEST and WORST thing that has happened to me! I have become seriously addicted and I have about 20,000 recipes that I would like to try. Based on the ingredients I had on hand, I decided to try this one

The original name for this recipe is Man-pleasing Chicken, but I'm changing it to Maple Dijon Balsamic Glazed Chicken

I made a few adjustments based on what I had available, so here is my rendition of this recipe:

3 Bell Peppers, Large Pack of Drumsticks, Pure Maple Syrup (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP!), Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar, Stone Ground Dijon Mustard, Salt and Pepper. Super simple right?
 I began by preheating the oven to 450 degrees, foiling two trays (for easy cleanup), spraying with cooking spray, and chopping the bell peppers into strips:

The original recipe did not call for this, but I wanted to bulk it up. The peppers ended up being my favorite part of the dish!
 After slicing into each drumstick (for faster cooking and flavor penetration), I added them to the tray, followed by a liberal dose of salt and pepper:


Next up, the glaze

3/4 cup of dijon mustard, 3 tbsp of balsamic, 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
 With the amount of chicken I had, I probably should have tripled the original recipe for the glaze. However, I didn't have enough dijon mustard, so I just added what was left in the bottle. 

Then I added the glaze to the chicken and tossed to coat:

Ready for the oven!
Once the chicken was in the hot oven, I picked and washed some fresh herbs from my garden, and prepped some mixed greens:

Fresh rosemary, parsley and mixed greens!

 After about 20 minutes, I decided to check on the drumsticks and baste:

After 20 minutes and some basting
 After an additional 25-30 minutes of cooking time, my drumsticks were ready!

I let sit for about 5 minutes, garnished with the fresh herbs and then plated my dinner
 Here's my plate!

The Verdict:

The chicken was really good. As I mentioned earlier, I had A LOT of chicken, so I should have tripled the original recipe for the glaze. The flavor was all there, but it would have been even better with a little more strength. It was nice and sweet, but I think I would have liked a little spice. Maybe next time I will add a few crushed red pepper flakes or something like that. That might turn things up a notch! I definitely will make this again and again. OH and you MUST add the bell peppers. They were honestly the best part of the dish! They were so sweet and filled with the glaze flavor. I would even consider adding more peppers - they were that good! And something tells me that the leftovers will be even tastier tomorrow! Can't wait!

Thank you Pinterest!!!



Happy 4th of July!

7/04/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments


A day at la playa!

7/03/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments


Days off for Mark are few and far between, so I'm so glad we were able to take advantage of today's wonderful weather at the beach! We went to Ocean Grove, NJ - which according to their website is "God's square mile on the Jersey Shore." We would have to agree.

As we approached the shore, this is what we found:

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

We were then greeted by a very nice woman who charged us $7 per person to get on the beach. Next to her was the following Scripture of the day. 

"How can a young man keep his ways pure? By living according to your Word." Psalm 119:9
Since for some reason swimming makes you ravenous, I made sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks and water:
lettuce wrapped turkey for lunch!
Gotta stay hydrated!

I also spent a lot of time taking pictures of Mark - typically he makes a big deal about it, but today he was all smiles. He must love me. <3
On our way there - still light skinned!
On the way home - nice and tanned and looking a little Puerto Rican-ish ;)
Soaking up the sun
having dinner - he was craving fried shrimp and clams - death food for me!
Did I mention how beautiful this beach was? Or the perfect weather?
Thank you sweet baby Jesus!

After Mark's skin reached its point of no return, we decided to walk about 2 blocks to the boardwalk. It was super cute.

We stopped to eat at Siculiana's

I had every intention to eat this meal sans pita bread, but it mysteriously made its way into my belly. It was worth it.
I must continue to confess my sins: we split a delicious cannoli for dessert as well! I know shame on me. But if you remember my post a couple of weeks ago, one of my mantras was to forgive myself often! :)

All in all, we had a FABULOUS day and can't wait to go back!
Almost back home to those beautiful Pocono Mountains!

PS: We just spent the last 30 minutes applying aloe vera on each other and due to the sun burn, that's probably the most amount of touching we'll be doing for a couple of days! :(