Happy Fall from Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen!

I have mentioned probably about a million times on this blog how much I love fall... I love pumpkins and apples and crisp temperatures and cozy blankets and rainy days.  But, before I start sounding too much like a "Basic B*tch", I'd like to share some of our new house's fall/Halloween decor I have recently put up.

Last Wednesday's decorating started with stopping by my favorite farm stand for some pumpkins.  The three big pumpkins were $10, while each set of three little pumpkins were $1.  $12.  Not bad for so much fall color!  I sent this picture to my husband before heading home.  
I bet he was thinking "So it has begun..."

The mini pumpkins went perfectly on our front living room mantle.  This room doesn't have much in it to begin with (which I am currently working on, but that is a post for another day).  The one extra white (pokemon) pumpkin went on a coffee table for decoration.  In case you are wondering, the three pictures above are of old Tacoma, WA (30 minutes from where we live).  Kevin estimates that the two on the right are early 1900's, while the left is a bit later around the 1930's.  Several months ago my work was going to get rid of these out of someone's office who had left the company years ago.  I snagged them and they fit our front room perfectly.  

Here is where the three larger pumpkins went along with some purple string lights, spider web net, a metal pumpkin patch sign, and a scarecrow.  Other people on our block go all-out for Halloween with fake gravestones in their yards, strobe lights, and black lights, but I think for our first year owning a home, this will do.

Here is bit of a better view with our porch light on.  Poor Kevin that first night after I put up decorations.  We were cozy in bed when I remembered that I forgot to turn off the purple lights.  I wasn't sure how warm they might get against the spiderweb and if that could be a fire hazard, so Kevin went out and turned them on.  What a gentleman!  Hehe!  I think I will work on getting a timer for the lights that we can use later for Christmas lights this winter.

Here is a closer view of the fall wreath that I made for the house a few weeks ago.  I purchased all of my supplies from Michael's for only $20 and put it together myself.  Not bad when the pre-made wreaths at craft stores go for $30-$75 depending on their size.

What things are you doing around your place to enjoy the spirit of fall?

Health and Happiness,



Results so far on my version of Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss Program

So how have I been doing since beginning with my version of Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss program?  Mentally, I'm worlds better!  Physically, I'm on the right track.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I have had a bad relationship with food and food cravings.  This program has helped with that tremendously, along with being vigilant to not look at food blogs.  Instead, I have been enjoying reading some knitting and home improvement blogs.  Overall, I feel like I am more in-tune with my body's needs and have consistently been eating only when truly hungry.

Since starting the program, I am down 7 lbs and have been steadily losing from week to week.  Along with actual weight loss, I have been feeling slimmer overall, as if what I have been losing has been only fat that has been holding on for a while.  My clothes have been fitting better, even to the point that one of my favorite pairs of jeans were too lose even after a wash and dry.  I think that I still have a good 20-30 lbs to lose before I get within a comfortable healthy weight, but I am encouraged to keep on my same path and let that happen over time.

Another physical change that I have noticed is my skin.  Since I was 15 or so, I have been dealing with acne of some sort.  Some times have been better than others, but I have always had a blemish or pimple on my face to deal with or cover up.  After starting the program, I haven't had a single breakout.  As if weight loss wasn't motivation enough!  It has been so nice to use minimal makeup and to not be self conscious of my face.  I have felt more confident as a result.

One thing that has helped me a lot to stay on track is planning my weekly meals ahead of time.  By this I mean my lunches and dinners.  My snacks and veggies for breakfast change up daily depending on what veggies and fruit I have on stock.  For lunches and dinners, I have been batch cooking many of my essentials including brown rice, baked sweet potatoes, as well as soups and chilis.

For brown rice, I cook it once a week in my pressure cooker, generally making 8-12 cups in the end.  I leave about 2-4 cups in the fridge and freeze the rest in 2 cup portions in baggies.  Over the next week, I pull out and defrost what is needed.  Kevin eats quite a bit of rice although he is not following my same plan, so we go through my stock pretty regularly.

The sweet potatoes I either bake 4-6 at a time and store them in the fridge until I need them, or I have been taking raw potatoes to work and baking them in our toaster oven in a pinch.  My sweet potatoes are generally my favorite food within a day.  Often I chop them up and add them to my soup or chili, eat them plain by themselves, or top them with a vegetable or bean based sauce (like Chef AJ's Yummy Sauce).

The chilis and soups I have been making include my favorite Three Bean Chili, Summer Vegetable Corn Chowder, Potato Leek Soup, Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, and Creamy Broccoli Soup.  The nice thing about most chilis and soups is that my husband will eat them, so I don't have to worry about his meals very much.

That's all for now folks.  I'll be coming back later next week with a few more posts about some fun traveling, crafts, and home improvements we have been doing.  See you next time! :)

Health and Happiness,



I'm back and have made some changes...

I have been absent for some time from the blog, and I'm actually not sorry for it.  I have been needing some time to re-balance and refocus.

For the last few months, we have done quite a bit of traveling, which generally translates to compromising the quality and healthfulness of what I'm eating.  I won't go into details, but it seemed after I got off our cruise in August, I kept on cruising in my mind with regard to my eating.  I kept thinking, 'Oh, I will just start again tomorrow, or on Monday."  This thinking never ever works for me.

Finally, a few weeks ago I buckled down and started my version of Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.  Earlier this summer, I donated some money to her IndieGoGo campaign to fund finishing her first season of her Foodytv.com show, Healthy Living with Chef AJ.  If you haven't checked it out yet, I would highly recommend it!  She has some plant-based rock stars on her show including Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell.  In new episodes she has recently filmed but are not up yet include Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore and Wendy from Healthy Girl's Kitchen.

As part of my donation perk, I got a digital copy of her 21-Day Recipe Guide for Ultimate Weight Loss.  You can find more information about her full program here.  Her full program comes with video and audio downloads as well as the 21-day recipe guide, but I didn't quite have the budget to afford the full thing.

So I went at it alone with a few give and takes here and there.  Here is generally what I did/have been doing:

Morning: water and tea on the way in to work

Breakfast: 1 lb raw, water sauteed, steamed, or roasted non-starchy veggies

Mid-morning snack (if I'm feeling hungry, but generally I haven't been): fruit or fruit with a bit of raw oats soaked in soy milk

Lunch: baked potato, vegetable or bean soup/chili, apple or other fruit

Afternoon snack (if I'm hungry): 1/2-1 lb raw veggies

Dinner: bean and rice or bean and potato dinner with more veggies

The first day I did this, it seemed like a lot of food!  And it was!  In the week or two following, I found that I wasn't hungry for my mid-morning snack, but enjoyed my afternoon veggie snack on my way home and before making dinner.  One of the items I am still needing to work on is not to overeat at dinnertime.  I make these meals at home every night, and tend to overestimate how much I need to plate for myself.

Some items I have limited or removed from my diet include excess salt besides the occasional low sodium soy sauce, all oils, refined carbs, nuts and seeds (which ARE NOT bad, but I have a hard time limiting myself within my caloric needs), baked goods, avocados, olives, most alcohol, and obviously all animal products.

Another aspect that I have been working on are managing my cravings and to limit my exposure to "food porn".  Being a blogger, I like to follow other bloggers to see the beautiful and creative recipes they make, but this really does nothing more than tease my brain and cause me to have an unhealthy relationship with food.  It's hard to admit, AND even harder to stop, but until I get a full handle on my cravings, my weight, and overall health, food blogs are a no-no for me.  Wendy at Healthy Girl's Kitchen explains this same thing very well here.

Overall, I have been keeping my meals very simple.  It is when I make more complicated recipes with dozens of ingredients that I get into trouble with overeating.  These past few weeks I have had staples of brown rice and baked sweet potatoes.  One of my lifesavers has been Donna's Cheeze Sauce that I found on Nutmeg Notebook's blog here.  I find that it goes well with just about everything and is potato and carrot-based, so it follows my rules and goals.

Ah... that seemed long-winded, but I wanted to give an update with what I have been doing during my absence.  My next post will be about my results so far, so stay tuned!

Health and Happiness,