Springtime Decorations

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So I don’t really have tons and tons of spending money sitting around to decorate our house with Easter decor. I wish we did, but sometimes you just need to keep things simple and get a little creative.

Over the weekend, I picked up some $1.50 shimmery Easter eggs from Walmart and filled up my prettiest vase with them. Voila! A centerpiece!

photo 3photo 2And while it’s not my favorite wreath I’ve ever put together, I was able to make it pretty on the cheap, as well. All you need is a plain wreath, a few fake flowers, and wooden letter + paint. Brings a little brightness back to our house!photo 5photo 4

What about you? Any spring or Easter decorating? Share your tips!

Single Serve Breakfast Skillet

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Breakfast Skillet Single Serve

So, remember my sweet potato hash and egg skillet? Pretty much my all-time favorite breakfast, and I can’t get enough of it. So lately, I decided to find a quicker way to make it on a weekday morning, just for me.

The plan. Shred one sweet potato at the beginning of the week and season it with salt, pepper, celery salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Keep it in a container in the fridge, and each morning, put a little handful of it in a small crock or baking dish. Add any other veggies or meat you might want – spinach, tomatoes, sausage, etc – and top with your two eggs. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes while you’re finishing getting ready for work. Check on it until you get to the consistency you like.

Perfection! Enjoy!

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

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THIS IS THE BEST DISCOVERY EVER.

Seriously, of all of the delicious, amazing foods I ate during my Whole30 (and since), this is a freaking awesome find. Super healthy, and literally tastes like creamy mashed potatoes. In fact, testify to you right here and now, blogosphere, that I never even need mashed potatoes again. I’d almost call this BETTER. There, I said it!

All that said, it’s not the most photogenic dish. So you here you go…food processor + cauliflower. Sorry friends.

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Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
4 large cloves of peeled garlic (feel free to add more for extra garlic-y love!
1 tablespoon ghee, clarified butter, or extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Remove stem from cauliflower, and place florets into a pot of water. Add the garlic cloves as well. Bring to boil and cook until the cauliflower is completely soft (about 15 minutes).

2. Once cooked, strain the cauliflower, and add it to the food processor along with the ghee and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Blend until completely pureed.

ENJOY!

Super Throwback Thursday

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I don’t really participate in the TBT thing. I really should, considering how much I enjoy flipping through old photos and reliving fun moments of the past. But last weekend was like if you took every throw back Thursday that I have not participated in and rolled it into one massive throwback weekend. I went home to Wisconsin, where I helped my mom clean out a few sections of the house, which were mostly clutter with items from my adolescence.

And, WOAH. Like, seriously, major major woah.

I found school projects from grade school, notes from middle school crushes, and my high school swing choir “warm fuzzies.” I found newspaper clippings of my accomplishements over the years. I found my prom court sash. I found a mug from high school graduation that I do not remember receiving. I found the letters and bars I earned, although I never bought a letter jacket. I found diaries, which all only had a few pages written in them ranging from “mom doesn’t get me” to “I can’t believe I ever liked him.” I FOUND MY BARBIES, PEOPLE. And also, my Polly Pockets.

One thing that really stood out to me was that there were a few things from teachers along the way. I really hadn’t realized the impact some of them had on me. My first grade teacher apparently had an envelope of my first grade work, and sent it to me when I graduated high school, as you can see here:

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Our choir teacher had us write warm fuzzies to each other after our solos, and apparently, I kept them…

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I AM SPECIAL! At least, my family thinks though. But thanks, teachers, for making sure I knew.

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My amazing AP Comp teacher, who we lovingly called Doc, wrote this note at one point. I’m not sure when or why, but it’s a pretty nice message any day.

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And a few other gems, as I mentioned above…

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And of course, I found evidence of my college application process. What a lucky, lucky lady I am to have landed where I landed. GO DORES!!

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30 before 30

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Happy Friday, y’all!!

It’s been a rainy week here in Ohio, but I am NOT complaining, because rain means SPRING IS COMING!! And spring means that everything is fresh and rejuvenated. Can you feel it, people? It’s HERE!!

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And with spring, I’ve decided to bring back an old theme to my blog: Lists. If you’ve been around Megster Meter a while, you may remember my 101 in 1001 list. I can hardly believe it ended 2 1/2 years ago on my 26th birthday…I mean, WOAH. Where does the time go? I loved doing this list, and it’s so fun to read through it and relive some of those awesome moments all over again. What a lucky lady I am. And really, let’s be honest. I love a good list.

That said, I’ve decided to creat a 30 before 30 list in honor of this spring weather. It’s pretty self-explanatory: 30 items to complete by the time I turn 30 years old. It sounds so far away but, alas, my 30th birthday will be September 7, 2015, so not too far away at all. I’m stealing this idea from my lovely friend Katy. We are list-loving friends :)

Megster Meter’s 30 before 30 List:

1. Audition for a show.
2. Bake a cheesecake.
3. Buy a house.
4. Complete another Whole30.
5. Create a blog just for my sweet treat creations.
6. Do a color run.
7. Do pull ups.
8. Get my wedding dress cleaned and packaged up.
9. Give up elevators for a month.
10. Go on a picnic.
11. Go on my honeymoon!
12. Go on our big Europe trip post-husband’s graduation.
13. Go to a music festival.
14. Go to an opera.
15. Go with out TV for a week.
16. Grow fresh herbs.
17. Have a spa day.
18. Have a technology-free day.
19. Host a dinner party.
20. Learn to can / jar something.
21. Organize a girls weekend out of state.
22. Put at least ten items into my Etsy shop.
23. Read the Great Gatsby.
24. Redesign this blog (or really, give it some design for the first time).
25. Send 5 random gifts to friends.
26. Spend a cozy weekend in a cabin somewhere.
27. Take a class of any kind with my husband.
28. Take a course on Coursera.
29. Try 10 new restaurants.
30. Visit a new country.

Tools & Support for your Whole30

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After posting my Whole30 results on Monday, I’ve had a few friends ask me a little bit more about it. Let me preach it: DO A WHOLE30 – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.

But I also want to mention that I had some really great support. Here’s what helped a lot for me:

1. A partner in crime. Even though my mom lives some 500 miles away, we decided to do the Whole30 together for the month of March. We talked about it on the phone, kept each other motivated, emailed recipes, and we even started a pinterest board that we could both contribute to. It was fun bonding for us, and now we both feel AWESOME!

2. Pinterest. For real, don’t you just adore pinterest? Like I said, my mom and I made our own Whole30 board during our journey. And all you have to do is search “whole30″ and you’ll get like, a million recipes popping up. Of course you can google recipes too, but when I was planning my groceries for each week, it was fun to browse my board and pick out a new meal or two.

3. Official Whole30 Emails. It costs $15, but I really enjoyed getting these daily emails throughout my 30 days. The Whole30 Daily provided tons of great snipits, support, and information.

4. The Whole30 website. You’re probably like, well duh, but I re-read these eight steps in their entirity several times before starting my 30 days, and during.

5. It Starts With Food. Buy the book. Read the book. I’m not even finished with it yet, but reading it throughout the journey just motivated me more. Also, I really love science, so I liked understanding the reasoning behind these choices. But don’t worry…you can skip the super sciencey parts if that’s not your cup of tea!

6. Testimonials. Nothing makes you want to change your life more than reading about how tons of other people have changed their own lives. If they can do it, I can do it. And if I can do it, you can do it.

7. Club soda with a twist of lime. Okay, I know it’s not delicious. But it got me through many a social event without it being completely obvious I was not drinking. Don’t need any phony pregnancy rumors going around!

So there you have it. That’s what worked for me! And now, while I will certainly cheat from time to time, I know what it is that makes me feel like my best self. It’s only the beginning! Go start your new journey!

Crawfish Boil!

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Over the weekend, the hubster and I were talking about summertime and how we’d love to go to a crawfish boil in New Orleans someday, and how I’ve never had crawfish. And then, alas, when we were at the grocery on Sunday, we saw crawfish at the seafood counter!! So we did it. We bought ALL the crawfish (about 2 pounds). And my sweet hubster cooked up a legit crawfish boil in our kitchen! It was my last dinner of Whole30, and a pretty darn great way to wrap it up if you ask me!

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I don’t really know all the magic he did in the kitchen, but he seasoned up the water so well, tossed in some corn and potatoes, and the crawfish came out tasting SPLENDID.

And of course, we enjoyed a bit of March Madness on our cozy Sunday night at home!photo 1 (2)

We maybe sort of played with our food a little…

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And then they were gone…

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Happy CRAWFISH BOILING!!!!photo 3

 

 

Whole 30 {Results + Wrap Up}

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It was only for 30 days, but it is seriously the beginning of a new perspective for me.

First, the short story: the physical results. I feel AMAZING. For the last couple of weeks, my energy has been high, I sleep well, and I feel like I am my fully functioning self, free of afternoon slumps groggy mornings. Following the Whole30 model for the month of March, I lost about 12 pounds (taking back to my wedding weight…phew!). This translated into 5 inches lost from my chest, waist, and hips. I didn’t do this for weight loss, but I’m pretty dang happy about it. Also, my skin is generally pretty clear, but now it’s even clearer and the circles under my eyes are gone.

The psychological results are also AMAZING. For years, I have eaten small meals and snacks throughout the day. And it really felt like I was constantly thinking about when I could eat next and I was never completely full or satisfied. I’ve noticed that while my meals during Whole30 took some planning, my mind is no longer constantly on food or when I get to eat next. I know the next meal will come and it will be nourishing, and I’m able to better focus on my work and the people around me.

And the longer story…

Most of you who read this probably won’t care. But when I was preparing to do my Whole30, I read a lot of testimonies and a lot of stories that sounded like mine. So if you are one of those people on the fence who wants to know about other people’s history with food, weight, and overall health, here you go.

My mom was always very aware of her weight and health, and cooked relatively healthy meals for us. I started paying more attention to my own physical health in early high school, and over the years I mirrored my mom as she tried weight watchers, new workouts, and other things to maintain her health. I started running, going for walks, etc. I’ve always been a pretty average, healthy weight. (And for the record, mom did whole30 with me and also feels AWESOME. And we agree – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle we are both excited to adopt.)

In college, I suddenly ate everything in site and didn’t exercise as much. I gained 20 pounds easily my first semester. So the rest of the four years consisted of yo-yo weight as I would go through spurts of calorie counting and working out, and the spurts of not caring. But by the time I graduated I was back up to my +20 weight.

Again, yo-yo over the years. Calorie counting, working out, feeling guilty about choices, feeling bad about myself when I’m sure I looked just fine. I did that 10-day cleanse where all you drink is lemon juice, cayenne, maple syrup and water. STUPID. Don’t do it. I lost weight but immediately gained it back and more.

Whenever I did count calories and up my workouts, I would get back down to what I would consider my “happy weight,” which is a weight that is fairly easy to maintain if I don’t go nuts.

When I got married in June 2013, I was just slightly below my happy weight. Hooray! Couldn’t have been happier with how I felt and looked on my wedding day. Inevitably I guess, I gained a happy 10-14 pounds or so since getting married. When I started the Whole30 I had a few goals. Yes, I wanted to get rid of this little bit of extra weight. But I also really wanted to get to a point where I was no longer constantly thinking about food, my body, my energy, or the gym. I’m not all the way there yet, but in only 30 days I was able to do what has taken me months to do in the past. And for the first time EVER, I have energy all day, every day.

My ultimate goal: Feel great with constantly counting calories or worrying. As I move on from Whole30, I plan to live as close to a Whole9 life as possible. I want to keep up this lifestyle that has, so far, helped freed me from my self-image demons. I’m learning to appreciate my body and mind for what it is TODAY instead of some crazy idea of what it might be someday!!

Today, I’m back to just under my “happy weight.” My next goals include continued weight lifting and working out so I can keep toning up and gain some muscle mass. Screw the scale. I feel and look great, and that’s all any of us want for ourselves.

Now, GO DO A WHOLE30!!

My favorite meals:

Beef and sweet potato chili
Sweet potato chips and guac
Shrimp Scampi
This chicken seasoning
Sweet potato and egg hash skillet

Want to know what I ate and how I felt throughout the process? Follow these links! 

Click here to see Week 1.

Click here to see Week 2.

Click here to see Week 3.

Click here to see Week 4.

Click here to view all of my Whole30 recipes and posts.

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Whole 30 {Week 4}

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Here we go…the last full week! Hang in there!

Day 22:

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Breakfast: A banana and a Panera steak and egg breakfast bowl. (This was an awesome whole30 breakfast in a pinch. Highly recommend!)
Lunch: (at a conference with limited options) Some pulled pork and watermelon.
Afternoon snack: (Of course, starving, due to limited lunch) A Larabar that had been stashed in my purse, apple, 3 shrimp and a beef skewer.
Dinner: Spinach Salad with grilled salmon, almonds, fruit salsa, oil and vinegar.

Thoughts: This weekend has been tough. Being in Nashville, full of social opportunities and situations where I don’t have control over my food, really made me want to call it quits and just go about my life. Is it weird that I am looking forward to Monday and being back in my tried and true routine?

Day 23:

Breakfast: Woke up and went right to church…
Lunch: Salad with lettuce, hard boiled egg, chicken, tomatoes, a little bacon, oil and vinegar. Also a banana.
Dinner: Baked chicken, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, squash, and fruit salad.
Late snack: Cashews. (We got back late from the airport, I was hungry, I ate a few cashews…)

Thoughts: Ready to get this week rolling, back on track with my own groceries and homemade meals. Enough traveling for a while!

Day 24:

Breakfast: Four egg whites, two tangerines, and cashews. (need to get groceries!!)
Lunch: Chicken breast, squash, 1/2 avocado, and fruit salad.
Dinner: Shredded chicken and tomatoes over broccoli, 1/2 sweet potato sliced and baked with olive oil and salt.

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Thoughts: I feel great. In control of my choices. Not overthinking meals anymore. Yay!

Day 25:

Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled with veggies, two pork sausage patties, and strawberries.
Lunch: Tuna mixed with 1/2 avocado, on top of salad + a pear + some cashews.
Snack: A banana.
Dinner: Leftover shredded chicken and broccoli + raspberries with a little but of sunbutter.

Thoughts: Nothing new happening. Just feeling good about myself!

Day 26:

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Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled with veggies, two pork sausage patties, and strawberries.
Lunch: Salad with leftover shredded chicken, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 sweet potato sliced and baked with olive oil, and a pear.
Dinner: Baked white fish, 1/2 sweet potato sliced and baked with olive oil, cashews, and grapes.

Thoughts: Starting to think about how I want to transition after Whole30. I definitely want to keep most of these principles in place, but will want to add a few things back in. I’ll keep you posted as I move forward with that.

Day 27:

Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled with veggies, two pork sausage patties, and strawberries.
Lunch: Salad topped with tuna and about 3/4 of an avocado + a pear, and a few cashews.
Dinner: Chili, salad, and later, a banana.

Day 28:

Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled with veggies, two pork sausage patties, and strawberries.
Lunch: Chicken (with my favorite seasoning) stir-fried with veggies and cashews.

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Pre-workout: a pear…I needed some cardio energy!
Dinner: Sweet potato chips and guac + later a sliced banana with a little cinnamon and sunflower seed butter (It’s Friday night. I had a treat. Deal.).

Thoughts: I don’t feel like I am missing anything in my diet, other than a little bit of variety. As I move out of the 30-day strict period, I plan to experiment with more paleo meals. I do kind of miss the salty cruch of things like chips and pretzels, so I need to keep working on my little craving issues. I seriously feel great though. DO THIS. It’s only 30 days, and you’ll be amazed at what you are capable of. I’m also looking forward to diving into a new weights routine next week. Yay Whole30!

Click here to see Week 1.

Click here to see Week 2.

Click here to see Week 3.

Click here to see the end results!

Click here to view all of my Whole30 recipes and posts.

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