Monday, April 21, 2014

Scrapbook Circle | Top Dog Dies Blog Hop: Our 2014 Travel Stories




I'm excited to be participating in the Top Dog Dies & Scrapbook Circle Blog Hop that's going on all week! I recently got to play with some exclusive dies from Top Dog Dies. I paired them with the Scrapbook Circle April kit, The Bucket List and made a great little mini album for our upcoming adventures. 

Take a look at what I created using their Mason Jar die and then check out the prizes we are giving away and some special discount codes.
 I decided it would be fun to have a read made mini album to easily document our fun family adventures.  I'm not sure what those will be just yet, as I'm still working on our Spring/Summer bucket list but I left plenty of room to add a more descriptive word between "our" and "story".
I chose to create two pockets on the first set of pages. One set is cut from paper and the other from vellum. I can put a whole much of photos in one and tickets, maps, etc. in the other.

I love the Studio Calico paper in this kit. I knew that I wanted specific parts of the paper to show on he left page above so here's what I did. TIP: I cut a base out of vellum to use as a guide for all the pages. This allowed me to move the vellum around the different papers to see how things would look before I cut it. I also did this for the base and the label. This allowed me to center things perfectly. Now I can highlight the method of transportation at the top, where we are in the world in the middle and I can journal in the little boxes at the bottom. For the opposite page, I added the sticker tags and a banner, that I can add details to as well.
 This set of pages aren't embellished too much. I thought the sentiments were right on and it allows for lots of space for photos.
 I LOVE, LOVE the My Mind's Eye frames paper in this month's kit. I kept two on the left to add photos and/or journaling to and then fussy cut two more for the right page.
 Another pocket? Yes, please! I cut one label from the text paper and another from velum. I adhered the vellum to the paper and then made a pocket.
My last set of pages left lots and lots of room for journaling (or more photos) and another pocket to tuck more photos in.

I'm sure I'll add more embellishments to the pages once we have the memories but I think this is a good start. It will make documenting our adventures a breeze. Be sure to follow me here and on Instagram to see how this project progresses and for sneaks and full reveals of all my other crafty projects.

About Scrapbook Circle...we are passionate about preserving our family memories. We love sharing daily inspiration and connecting with others who also love to create. We have been creating monthly scrapbook kits for over seven years. Each of our kits includes a custom printable and we have now expanded our shop to included coordinating digital files. We create exclusive items for each monthly kit. We strive to provide you with fresh products every month that inspire you to create.

Scrapbook Circle Discount Code:  Use code Heather20off to receive 20% off your order. This code does not expire so use it anytime you shop the store.

Top Dog Dies is a new online store that offers their own brand of wafer-thin and steel-rule dies, along with dies from brands you already know and trust, including Little B, My Favorite Things, Lawn Fawn, Taylored Expressions, Savvy Stamps and Cheery Lynn Designs. Top Dog Dies is also the leading U.S. retailer for Tattered Lace a new line of intricate dies designed by British designer Stephanie Weightman.

Top Dog Dies is also offering a special promotion during the hop. Spend $100 on anything in the store and get 15% off when you use code SCHOP15, or spend $60 and get 10% off when you use code SCHOP10.

Scrapbook Circle is giving away two $50 Prize Packs of exclusive wafer-thin dies!

Top Dog Dies is giving away a Bucket List Kit!


Winners will be chosen from comments here, there and everywhere - from those left here on my blog, as well as on the Design Team Members blogs or the Top Dog Die and Scrapbook Circle blogs - so be sure to leave some love in the comments below (and follow me if you like what you see) by Sunday, April 27th when the hop ends.


So, on with the hop...your next stop is to a dear friend and the super talented Diana Fisher.

In case you get lost along the way below is an entire hop list: 
Heather Leopard *YOU ARE HERE*
Leslie Ashe

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our Daily Vittles - Week 2 Menu Planning


Hi everyone. I'm here with Week 2 of our meal planning. This week included pork, chicken, crab and fish. These recipes have been more than enough to feed my family of 4, sometimes 5. Of course 2 of them are littles, who don't eat a lot.  

I'm down a 3 more pounds this week (and haven't had time to exercise) so I know that this healthier eating is paying off. Let's take a look at what we ate last week.

Daily vittles - April 6 - 12: Sunday: Picadillo Tacos with salad 
Monday: Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole
Tuesday: leftover Past with Italian Chicken Sausage
Wednesday:  I did a cleanse and the family had oven baked Tilapia
Thursday: I did a cleanse and the family had homemade pizzas using the leftover 1/2 lb of Italian sausage from Monday's meal.
Friday: Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast with Roasted parmesan green beans
Saturday: Skinny Mini DeviledCrab Cakes; Salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

Here's the recipes...

Picadillo Tacos with salad
This is my recipe.
Servings: 6 | Size: 2 tacos 
Calories: 255

Ingredients:

  • 90% lean ground beef but you could use turkey for an even leaner choice.
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Onion, chopped
  • Bell Pepper, diced
  • Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Corn tortillas
  • Spring Mix lettuce
  • Avocado optional (not included in calorie count above)
  • Salsa optional (not included in calorie count above)


Directions:
Brown meat with cumin and garlic powder until 3/4 cooked. Add onions and bell peppers and continue to cook until beef is browned. Add tomatoes and water. Simmer until tomatoes are softened. Add additional cumin, garlic and salt, to taste. Serve in corn tortillas with lettuce, avocados and salsa. My family added cheese and sour cream to theirs but I didn't feel the need. 
I also served Spanish rice on the side.

Servings: 6 | Size: 1 1/2 cups
Calories: 297.7 according to Skinnytaste; 398 according to the ingredients I used.



Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Ronzoni Smart taste pasta (or whole wheat or low carb)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium head escarole, rinsed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
Modifications: 
  • My grocery store didn't carry escarole so I used about 3 cups raw spinach
  • My grocery store didn't carry plain Italian chicken sausage in casing so I used 1/2 chicken sausage with feta and 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • I didn't salt my water
  • I left out the red pepper cause the kids aren't fond of spicy stuff.
Directions according to my modifications. Original recipe can be found HERE

Cook pasta in a large pot of water. Reserve 1 cup water before draining.

While pasta water boils, heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil; once hot add onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add chicken and Italian sausages, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add spinach, cover and cook 2 minutes; remove the cover, stir and cook about 3 more minutes or until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta, reserved water and Parmigiano cheese, stir well and be ready for the oohs and ahhs.

Servings: 8 | Size: 3 oz. pork 
Calories: 214

Ingredients:
  • 2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (sirloin roast)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
Modifications: 
  • I couldn't find a pork roast so we used a pork loin
  • We skipped the red pepper flakes
Directions according to my modifications. Original recipe can be found HERE.
Insert slow cooker bag inside the slow cooker for easy clean-up.
Season the pork with salt, garlic powder and place it into the slow cooker. Mix together the broth, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce (the time to add the Worcestershire sauce is missing from their website but she responded to questions int he comments that this is when to add it) and pour it over the pork, then pour the honey over and set the timer for 4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low.

Once cooked, pull the pork out and shred it. Add back to the crock pot to soak in the juices a bit longer.

Servings: 4 | Size: 1 cup 
Calories: 62

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed (make sure they are dry)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp shredded parmesan

Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum
Lay green beans out on the baking sheet and drizzle oil over them. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I added the parmesan cheese at this point, though skinny taste said to sprinkle they come out. I thought they turned out great my way. Bake 10 minutes, shake the pan to turn; bake 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven.

Skinny Mini DeviledCrab Cakes; Salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette
Servings: 4 | Size: 3 crab cakes 
Calories: 139 according to skinnymom; 216 according to my calculations




Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot (about 1/4 cup), finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (consider a 3rd egg to keep them from falling apart so easily)
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Old Bay® seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Modifications: I did not use the shallots or cayenne pepper. I also used Imitation crab meat beccause I just can't stand the real crabby taste.
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the parsley, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, seasoning. Drain out any excess liquid from the crab meat and add it into the mixture. Stir. Add the Panko and gently mix until just combined.
Using a 1/4 cup, form 12 even crab cake balls and place on a large plate or baking sheet.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add 6 balls of crab to the pan. Spray the tops of each. Then gently press down on each with a spatula to flatten to about 1/2” thick. This is where mine fell apart the first time. I pressed them down too thin and they just crumbled. After the first couple, I realized that I only needed to press them down less.

Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the crab cakes are golden on the bottom. Flip and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Mine fell apart agaain, when I flipped them, even some of the good ones. I had to go very slowly and carefully to scoop them and then almost hold them together when I turned them over. I'm thinking I need more egg next time. 

Transfer to a clean plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining crab balls.
Serve the crab cakes with lemon wedges. I also served mine over a salad with lemon honey vinaigrette

EVERYTHING this week was a big hit in this house, even among my picky eaters!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Little Miss Pouty Face

Hi friends. I have a monthly feature on the Gossamer Blue blog called Pattern Play. If you haven't seen it yet, HERE'Sa link to the most recent one on the Gossamer Blue blog. I'll include a link to previous posts at the end of my blog post. 
 For April's edition, I thought I’d show a fun way to mix patterns to create a shape. Let’s take a look…

Look at that face…beautiful wide eyes and then that lip.
I thought it would be fun today to walk step x step through how I created this layout.
  1. I wanted to use a patterned background paper but I knew it had to be an understated patterns. Otherwise it will clash with the other patterns I was planning to add.
  2. I chose to create large “blocks” of patterns and I knew I wanted them larger at the top and tapered down at the bottom. I drew my design and then created a cutting file in Silhouette. You can download the cutting fileHERE. There are three files. One is long and wide, the second is long and skinny and the third is short and wide. Using an odd number, in this case, three sizes of the same shape gives it a great variety and it works nicely.
  3.  I chose to use 4 colors for my cuts – blue, yellow, white/cream and multi. I didn’t necessarily use the same pattern but I stuck to those four colors.
  4. I also chose to use small, medium and large prints. The combination of sizes, color and pattern scale works great to pull it all together while keeping giving it the variety it needs.
  5. After you cut the triangles, cut a 6” circle slightly off center to the bottom left of the page.
  6. Once all the angled rectangles were cut, I moved them around the page in the shape of a circle until I liked their placement.

  1. Add a white/cream lined or grid background paper to the back of the circle.

  1. Once you have the triangles arranged how you like them, adhere them down with just a little glue. You don’t want to add too much, since we’re going to stitch over them.
  2. Stitch 3 circles around the triangles. I used the same color green as my background paper.

  1. To make my photo stand out against the various patterns I used vellum on the bottom layer. I then added bits of white, yellow and the green. The green is from the center circle that I cut out. I popped the photo up using foam dots.

  1. We’re almost done now… Embellish with various elements. I used ephemera, wood veneer, flair, die-cut, resin shapes and chipboard.

I hope I’ve demonstrated that you can combine many patterns on one page as long as you consider using a variety of pattern scales and limit the main colors (that also complement each other) to just 3 – 4 colors.

Gossamer Blue April 2014 Supplies: Main Kit, Main Add-on, Main kit Add-on 2, Life Pages kit, Life Pages Main Add-on, Life Pages Themed Add-on, Bits & Pieces
Thanks for stopping by today! Care to see my other Pattern Play features? See the links below:
March 2014: The Sweet Life
February 2014: Dream a Little Dream
January 2014: Best Day Ever
November 2013: Made with Love
October 2013: #favorite

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Multi-dimension "Love" Card | Step x Step Instruction

Hi friends. I'm just popping in real quick to share a card I made for my love.

To create this, I cut a card base out of white cardstock and folded it in half. I cut a second base just large enough to cover the front.

I punched triangles, using my American Crafts Knock-out 1.5" Triangle punch. I mixed and matched the triangles and adhered them to the second base of the card in alternating directions. This is important if you plan to stitch on your cards.

I left an open strip at the bottom to add a sentiment, which was simply cut from the bottom of the paper, where they usually print the manufacturer and collection name. I also added a small pink strip to accentuate the border.

Then, I stitched two large triangles on the card, following the lines that were created from the smaller triangles.

I popped up more triangles over the stitched ones and added another sentiment.

Lastly, adhere the designed base to the card base and you have a fun little card (and your recipient won't see the stitching on the inside.

Monday, April 14, 2014

You're a Star

My sweet, littlest girl loves to dress up and sing and dance. We knew we needed to get her into dance pronto. That was 2 years ago.  Well, she just absolutely loved it and would come home singing the dance songs. I was excited for the recital and so was she. Back to the songs, coincidentally, I had been singing to her every night. We usually did three songs. Two were selected from traditional nursery rhyme songs - rock-a-my-baby (not rock-a-bye-baby - LOL), twinkle twinkle, hush little baby - and the last was always Just what makes that little old ant. I think that's a rather unique song to sing to your daughter every night but my mom sang it to me and I sang it to my girls and they just loved it.

Imagine my surprise when the dance recital music came home and that was one of the two dance numbers?!?! I was soo giddy. And the teacher was quite surprised that Reese knew the song already. Win - win! The other song was Don't Eat the Daisies, a movie starring Doris Day. I am a big, huge fan of her comedies so I was super excited for that dance number too.  I was worried that Reese would be afraid to perform on stage but that little princess was so confident about it each time we talked about it. I should have known that she'd feel at home on stage.

Here's a layout of her dancing to Don't Eat the Daisies, from last May. It was punch week on the American Crafts blog so that was my initial inspiration.
Supplies: Knock-Outs Punch Star 1.5” (KOP63102), Paper Planes 12x12 Paper (366748) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Bike Ride 12x12 Paper (366751) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, 6x6 Paper Pad (366767) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Enamel Dots (366785) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Wood Buttons (366796) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Thickers Printed Chipboard Letter Stickers (366773) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Printed Chipboard Shapes (366789) – Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer, Thickers Kal Barteski Foam Letter Stickers - Black (366830) – Amy Tangerine Plus One, Thickers Puffy Letter Stickers (53036) – Dear Lizzy

I used a combination of 12x12 papers and the 6x6 paper pad from the Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer collection as well as the Knock-outs 1.5" Star Punch.

To create the large star, I punched a small star and then traced it with a black marker. I then imported that image into Silhouette and traced it to make a cutting file. You can DOWNLOAD IT HERE.


I embellished the stars by adding some wonky stitching, enamel dots, doodling, etc. I couldn't resist that large yellow bow.

I placed the photo to the bottom right portion of the start, offset so that I could put the title and journaling inside the star.

Miss Reese is in year 2 of dance and still loving it. She has her second recital at the end of this month and I just can't wait! I'm sure I'll be posting some of the photos to Instagram if you care to see them before they make it on a layout (since this one took almost a year).

Thanks for stopping by today. Now go on and get crafty!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Daily Vittles to help Battle the Bulge Week 1 Menu Planning


Hi there. I am so thrilled to be doing this weekly feature on my blog. I'm excited because it means I am doing what I need to do (food-wise) to shed those LBs, while teaching my kids abut healthy food choices. After I wrote all those words below, and I promise not to do that every week), I stumbled across this new documentary that might have you thinking more and more "am I eating what I really think I am eating or is it loaded with all sorts of sugars and preservatives.


This comes from the movie trailer article in the Huffington Post this week:

Here are some of the sobering facts about the state of health in America revealed in "Fed Up," a new documentary from producers Katie Couric and Laurie David about the country's food industry: (1) "Over 95 percent of all Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades"; (2) "By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes"; (3) 80 percent of food items sold in America have added sugar.

What are we going to do about that????? Here's a link to the documentary movie trailer to get you thinking even more.



Okay, back to what I wrote earlier.

I'm planning and sharing my family's menu plans with you to help take the guess-work out of what's for dinner tonight. And maybe, just maybe I'll have you eating a bit healthier too, without necessarily sacrificing taste.


I think that's the biggest concern I had was healthy meant it wouldn't taste good. Well, I sure have learned my lesson.  I have spent hours upon hours scouring every skinny food blog, Pinterest, recipe book, inspecting the ingredients lists for non processed, clean, organic foods to find these so I hope you enjoy them. I will continue to do this for my family and share here as long as there is interest.


Oh and before I go any further, I am doing a Cleanse Program during this first 30 days. So you'll see 2 days that aren't planned for, which are good days for leftovers. Between the healthy eating and doing the weekly cleanse I have lost 7.5 pounds in 10 days and not only that, but I feel awesome and I have more energy. If you want details on what cleanse I am doing, just shoot me an email (heather at heatherleopard dot com).


Anyway, here's our weekly dinner menu. We actually didn't start the healthy eating until Tuesday because I wanted to start this off on April 1. Next week will go Sunday through Saturday. I will also include my photos starting next week (this week will include the original source recipe photos).



Daily Vittles: April 1 - 5



Recipes below…

Chicken & Avocado Tacos - my “recipe”, no photos but it was delish!
Calories: 452
  • Leftover Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store
  • Corn torillas instead of flour. Look at the nurtition label and check the carbs. Some have higher carbs than others. Also, look for GMO free ones (genetically modified) and get the purest ones you can.
  • Avocado - 1/2 of a ripe avocado was more than enough for 2 tacos
  • Spring mix salad for the topping
  • Picante Sauce - I chose to go without but it was a bit dry. I may add this next time, or maybe just some lime. Yeah, I’ll save the salsa calories and add lime.
  • Cheese - my family ate the cheese; I did not and I didn't miss it.
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with side of Basmati Rice
Modified recipe; original recipe can be found on skinnytaste 
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 roll 
Calories: 207 • Weight Watcher Points+: 4 pt 


Ingredients:
  • cooking spray or oil mister
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 4 - 5 cups fresh spinach (subbed for 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and juice squeezed out)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 thin skinless chicken breast cutlets (1.5 lbs total)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (subbed for whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs)
Modifications include:
  • Ground almonds instead of the breadcrumbs. I simply used ground almonds that I grounded up myself in the food processor.
  • I also chose to leave the ricotta out of my chicken
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet with spray.

Heat the oil a medium sauté pan. Add onions, garlic and scallions and sauté about 1 minute. Add spinach, parsley, dill, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper and cook another minute or until Spinach is wilted. Remove from  heat and mix in the feta and ricotta cheese (I waited to add the ricotta until after I prepared 2 chicken rolls for me; then added it in for the family)

Season chicken lightly with more kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Place about 1/4 cup of spinach mixture in the center of the chicken and roll, then lay the chicken seam side down on a platter or piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Note: this made a lot of leftovers!

Rachel Ray recipe
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 filet 
Calories: not provided; I calculated 312 



Ingredients:


  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.

Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Calories: 119 •
Weight Watcher Points+: 3 pts

Ingredients:
  •     1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  •     1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  •     Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •     2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •     5 garlic cloves, crushed
  •     2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 medium lime)
  •     3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: visit Cilantro Lime Shrimp on skinnytaste.com

Okay, this was a major hit with most of my family. They had no idea that it wasn’t really rice. To me, it’s more like couscous but that doesn’t matter. I thought it had the perfect amount of lime but my husband said it was too much. Next time, I will let people add their own amount of lime and everyone will be happy. My littlest didn’t care for the rice but she’s extremely picky and everyone else had seconds so this is a HIT

Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 5 • Size: 1 cup  
Calories: 61 • Weight Watchers Points+: 2 pts

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium head (about 24 oz) cauliflower, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Directions: visit Cilantro Lime Cauliflower "Rice" on skinnytaste.com

I hope you enjoy these healthier recipes, which are a mix of Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean recipes. If you are leary of those words, just stick with me and give them a try. I really think you will find that they are oh so tasty and oh so good for your body and mind.

Please let me know if these weekly menus are helpful to you. This is how I’ll judge whether or not to continue sharing them here. Also, if you try these come back and tell me what you think about them.

Check in next Saturday for a new dose of Daily Vittles. Up on the menu is a Picadillo Tacos, Balsamic Pork recipe, Pasta with Chicken sausage, Homemade pizza, Crab cakes…

In the meantime, get FED UP with me and take a stance for your health


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Daily Vittles to Battle the Bulge...week by week healthy meal planning



Tell me if this sounds familiar to you...I've chatted with a lot of friends, scrappy and non-scrappy ones, and one thing I hear over and over is that one of the hardest parts of their day starts to hit around 4:30 when they say, "oh no, I have no idea what I'm making for dinner". I know that has been true for me.

Here's what was happening in my house...
  • Sometimes I had something in the fridge and/or pantry that I could throw together but it wasn't always the healthiest choice. At least we weren't eating fast food though, right?
  • Sometimes my fridge was empty and any meat I had was still frozen and I'm so afraid of rapid defrosting and getting the family sick so off we went to a restaurant or fast food. We always spent more money than we needed to and oh, we still had to get back home in time to do homework, baths/showers for the girls, etc. Again, not a very healthy choice usually.
  • Other times, hubby or I would run by the store on our way home and grab a rotisserie chicken, or chicken & apple sausage, or a frozen meal like Bertoli's or PF Changs, frozen steamable veggies, or whatever sounded good. This was a decent choice but who wants to go through this every day.
And then, the Battle of the Bulge started to set in. Da. Da. Daaaaaaaa!

So, we started weekly meal planning, which has been great but, and this is a BIG BUT, it included things like King Ranch Chicken casserole (using chips & canned soups), some creamy Pasta, fried food or meat & potatoes type meals. While these wonderful comfort foods are quite tasty and we enjoyed more meals at home, it did nothing to help me Battle my Bulge. It didn't help that I was eating the leftovers for lunch the next day either. I have no idea how many calories I was consuming but it was way too much.

I started reading about different healthier lifestyles, like Paleo, Clean Eating, etc.  You know what? My very picky kids, who I had to practically beg to eat every night, starting cleaning their plates with little prompting.  Great right?  Who would have thought they'd enjoy the healthier foods more than the comfort foods. But then life got busy and we fell back into our old patterns.

Well, with a 2 week trip to Hawaii coming up in July and just a general desire to eat healthier and teach my kids to eat healthier, I've finally gotten serious. I need to shed those extra pounds and we need to get back to eating healthier.

The point of the story...
So back to the chat I was having with friends about meal planning. Many people said, I just don't have the time to scour all the "skinny" recipe sites, Pinterest, etc. for meals that may or may not taste good in addition to planning our meals for the week.  How about I do that for you?  Since I'm already doing this for my family, I thought I'd share my weekly meal schedule with links to the recipes. I'll also share photos of what my meal looked like, if I can remember to take them and what the family thought of the meal. That means I'll be sharing what I made the previous week with you.

I'll post this on Saturdays so that you can take a look and do your shopping on Sundays.

I also started working out 4 - 5 days/week for at least 45 minutes. I'm taking classes at my local gym and I actually love them. They are fun! Maybe I'll list my workout for the day as well so I will stay accountable.

By the way, I started this last week. I didn't work out (for personal reasons) and I am already down 3.5 pounds. Yay me! The Battle of the Bulge has begun.

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Winner for the Scrapbook Circle Kit Giveaway

Well, Anelsie must have been feeling very lucky yesterday. She actually won my contest and Jenni's. Her kit is already shipping out to her for winning Jenni's giveaway so I am drawing another winner. Congratulations go to.....

Allie Stewart

Allie - please email your address to heather@scrapbookcircle.com and we'll get your kit out to you ASAP.

20% off code at Scrapbook Circle - Whoop, whoop!
Also, I posted the wrong discount code before. I thought it was for 10% off but it's actually 20% off. So....take a stroll through the Scrapbook Circle shop and/or purchase the new April kit, The Bucket List. Just enter discount code Heather20off during checkout for some great savings!

Here's another look at the April kit




Sunday, April 6, 2014

Scrapbook Circle Kit Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Scrapbook Circle "The Bucket List" kit giveaway here and on Instagram.  I'm posting the winner below but here's a reminder of what y'all were playing for...


Okay, since I was pulling entries from here on the blog and on Instagram, I put everyone's name in a hat. Some people had double entries, some did not. I marked whether they came from IG or the blog. The winner is......
Anelsie
Congrats!!! Email your address to heather@scrapbookcircle.com
I'll post the winner on Instragram too so we can track you down and get the kit right out to you!

If you didn't win, but want to buy a kit or other things in the Scrapbook Circle store at a discount, just enter Heather20off at checkout for a 20% discount. As far as I know, the code doesn't expire so keep it handy. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

LOVE this Sweet Face

I was soo excited when I saw the new dies in the American Crafts booth at CHA this year. I dusted off my Big Shot and I've been dabbling with the dies. I got a little crazy with the love die and created this layout.

Can you see them? Layered over each other on the left side of the page? Here's a stepxstep to re-create this layout.

  • Identify a die that you think will look good layered over each other. I think shapes are a little easier. If it's a word, you don't necessarily have to be able to read it but you want to be able to identify many of the letters. 
  • I must have cut about 20 of the words "love" out of black cardstock. You can use colored cardstock, pattern papers, vellum, whatever.
  • Now for the layering...I started at the bottom left and placed the word "love" so that only part of the v and e would show. I also adhered them to that the top of the word "love" was hanging off the page. I then adhered "love" over and over up to the top of the page.
  • For the second row, I used the full word "love". I placed the word so that it slightly covers up the 1st set of words, only the bottom of the word. I did that because I wanted to kind of flip the tops (you can see it in the photo below). Do this over and over the length of the page in however many rows you want.I did 4 rows.

  • Next, when I was cutting the word "love" with the die cut, I set aside one of the negative cuts. I adhered bright pink paper to the back of one of them and then hand cut the outside outline. I placed it over one of the black words.

  • Then I added 2 small strips of paper, the white and grey paper and another small strip of blue to complete the background of the page. And then I splattered some mist here and there.
  • I layered papers around my page, added stickers, a brad and some flowers that I hand cut from a 12x12 sheet of the Plus One collection.
  • The large pink and white "love" was also hand cut from a 12x12 sheet of the Plus One collection.
  • To create the title, I mixed the word phrase Thickers and chipboard Thickers. 
  • The mini hearts were cut using the geo tag die in the die cut kit.
  • The upper right banners were created from scraps and a foam heart from the same word phrase Thickers.



This is one of my favorite pages that I've created lately. It's full of colors and layers and was just so fun to create.  I hope it inspired you to pull out your dies or your CAMEO and get scrapping!
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