Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Carbonara by Jess of Nummy for my Tummy

Hi Friends! Last week, I participated in a Blog Swap, hosted by the lovely AJ of Confessions of a Fat Girl. The point of a blog swap is to put yourself in another blogger’s shoes, by writing a post you may not usually write. I was assigned red lips over at my friend Chris’ blog, What I Run Into, and I assigned my friend Jess, of Nummy for my Tummy, a low-carb recipe. How DELICIOUS does Spaghetti Squash Carbonara sound?! Jess has lost an incredible 175 pounds, and I can’t wait to dig through her site for more amazing recipes (For example? she just posted a sauerkraut recipe I have to try!). Follow Jess on Twitter here, Facebook here, and Instagram here. Enjoy!

The Double Chin Diary Divider

Hi everyone! I’m Jess aka Nummy For My Tummy; I share simple, quick and inexpensive gluten-free meals and sometimes “Paleo”.  Today I’m incredibly honored to guest post for Double Chin Diary.  As someone who has been struggling with weight loss my entire life, I quickly fell in love (yes love) with Alyssa and April’s blog.

I feel like I’ve been dieting my entire life. Even when I say I’m just eating “clean and healthy” the reality is that I’m on a yet another diet. Ugh!

Even after a 175lb+ weight loss I still have a few pounds left and find I’ll always be a work in progress. Feelin’ me? If you’re reading this I’m sure you do ;)

Now, let’s get down to business.

I’ve never been a traditional breakfast kinda gal.  Steak & eggs over sugary donuts any day.  Today I’m sharing one of my favorite breakfasts; Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. You read that right…BREAKFAST.  This is a low carb meal that has just enough protein and fat to carry me through my mornings. Of course this can be eaten any time of day, but when you start changing your idea of what breakfast should be, it will open up a world of options for you.

Spaghetti Squash

INGREDIENTS:

  • · 2 eggs
  • · 1/4 c coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • · 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • · 1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • · 4 c. spaghetti squash, cooked
  • · 3/4 c. sweet onion, diced
  • · 4 strips cooked bacon, diced
  • · 1/4 c. nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, pepper and garlic salt, set aside
  2. Heat a large skillet and add diced bacon, cooking until almost crisp
  3. Add onion to the bacon and stir until onion is translucent
  4. Spoon mixture into a bowl and set aside, leaving grease
  5. Using the same large skillet, over medium-high heat, add spaghetti squash until heated and coated with the bacon grease
  6. Turn heat off  and slowly add the egg mixture to the squash, constantly tossing
  7. Add the bacon and onion mixture to the coated squash
  8. Stir in nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
  9. MANJA!

NOTE: The “sauce” may start off a bit watery before you stir in the nutritional yeast or parmesan, but once added it will absorb and make it slightly thicker.  Nutritional Yeast can be found and your local Whole Foods or similar market in your area and is used as a gluten-free and vegan cheese alternative.

 

 

Smoothie love and progress pics.

First off, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote here on the blog and for that I am sorry.  It is always flattering for me to hear from my sister that people ask about where I disappeared to so thank you, I feel loved.

I have been having an incredible amount of fun over the past few weeks and have been staying busy with new adventures mixed with some midterm testing for school.  However, even with my rushed lifestyle that I have been rocking for a while now, I haven’t made much progress on dropping down numbers on the scale.  I had my Weight Watchers meeting today and I was up 4.2 pounds since the last meeting I attended two weeks ago.  Oops.  I know exactly how I gained those pounds and I know exactly what I need to do to take them off.

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration.  Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration. Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

I have been eating rather crappily over the past week but went shopping and am ready to get a grip on my nutrition.  I’m also on day two of no artificial crap caffeine (as in Red Bull and soda).  I had a HORRIBLE headache last night so I think I need to just pop some Tylenol early on in the day to try to avoid the headaches.  I’ve been having around five headaches a week now and it is getting pretty old… I spoke with the doctor and she suggested that I start taking a bunch of vitamins/minerals to see if that helps, including magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and Co enzyme Q10.  Otherwise she recommends some daily pill which I don’t want to get on as I would rather just take a pain killer when needed, not every day.

Besides my lame headaches, I’ve been trying out new ways besides salad to get fruits and vegetables in my life.  One of the new additions to my life to help me get more produce into my life are smoothies.  I’ve always loved smoothies yet rarely have them because I’m too lazy to do the prep and clean up.  Recently I have been reintroduced to the greatness of the cold drink packed with nutrients and have shown ways to make smoothie making less tedious.  Yes, I know that they have a lot of sugar.  However, they also have a lot of potential for extra nutrients like fiber and protein if you add fun ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, and leafy greens.  Plus, they are still way better for me than the amount of sugar I get in my Red Bull addiction.

The smoothie you see pictured has a bunch of fantastic things in it like kale, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, almond milk, cucumber, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… A smoothie like that is a great meal replacement and my buddy has lost 65 pounds by supplementing meals for smoothies like this.

Veronica's amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

Veronica’s amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

I made myself a lower calorie version the other day with just some banana, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. Although it was annoying to me to have to chop off the tops of each little strawberry, I endured through the task and decided to cut up ALL of  my strawberries in motivation to create a frozen drawer of goodness like one of my favorite women in my life, Veronica.  I’ve always admired Veronica’s master skills at organization and since I babysit for her twice a week, I get to experience first hand in how doing a little bit extra effort at one point can result in simplicity later on.  Veronica chops up all her fruit and sticks it in the freezer so she is always ready for her two children’s requests for smoothies.  I think it’s awesome and wanted to share with all of you how easy she makes smoothie making, check out her freezer drawer!  Plus, it’s a great thing to do if you know you’ve got excess fruit that you just don’t want to waste!

Do any of you guys make smoothies?  What do you like to throw in there?

And as promised.. here are my progress pics.  :)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Love and smoothies,

AprilSignatur

Getting crunchy: Is going all natural helping me lose weight?

Many moons ago, some would say I was kind of a hippie. *Kind of* a hippie because I still made more garbage than I should have, and ate things like Taco Bell Bean Burritos (they were only a buck!).  But I was a little bit hippie because I wore multi-colored beanies, planted a vegetable garden in Environmental Science, volunteered to be a camp counselor for full weeks in the redwoods with screaming sixth graders, and spent my weekends in Santa Cruz, studying banana slugs and elephant seals. Here’s a picture of me at 19, oh-so-hippily wearing cornrows, rose colored glasses, a cloth purse, and standing in front of a Bob Marley statue.

Crunchy Roots, mon.

Then I went to college, and I shed all of the thematic personas I had adopted (from punk rock, to a little bit gothy, to rockabilly, to hippie). I became just me, just Alyssa, a little bit crunchy. I still loved being outside, and that’s a trait that I hope never leaves me. Even while it rained this weekend I was out in my planter boxes, plucking caterpillars off my chard and transplanting some tomatoes. However, in my young adulthood, I was decidedly uncrunchy in one way: I had no awareness of the chemicals I was putting into my body. Some of you might be groaning right now, but there’s been a big paradigm shift for me in the past year — I am WAY more conscious of the ingredients I willingly put into my body. There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about chemicals the end up in our food. How about the same material used in yoga mats, ADA, that can be found not only in Subway bread, but in Little Debbie, Jimmy Dean, Pillsbury and White Castle? Then, let’s not forget about BPA, which isn’t directly in our food, but is in the lining of canned goods, water bottles, and the trays of frozen meals? And… the one that pains me most, not only because I still feel the pull of my dark passenger (Ala Dexter) when I’m craving caffeine, but because I have to admit I was wrong, is Aspartame. I didn’t think anything of guzzling two cans of Diet Pepsi for day, and would snap at my husband when he’d warn me about what it did to lab rats. “Well, I have no choice. If I drink regular, I’ll gain weight. So I’ll either get fatter on real soda, or sick on diet,” would be my conjecture. I willingly say to the whole interwebz today, that I was wrong, and cutting diet soda, in addition to all artificial sweeteners has now helped me lose over 17 pounds. (Down another 1.4 at Weight Watchers last week!)

I didn’t really put any of these things together until I finally started losing some weight. Processed foods are OUT. I occasionally have a frozen Weight Watchers SmartOnes, or a few peeps. But for the most part, processed, low-fat foods are rare in my diet now. I’m actually using REAL butter, instead of I can’t believe it’s not butter. If I want a little bit of sweetness in my tea, I’m using real cane sugar (a teaspoon goes far). I don’t eat fast food. I don’t crave this stuff anymore, other than the occasional pull for caffeine, which I satiate with a cup of strong British tea. But is all this natural stuff, possibly the reason for the weight finally coming off? Is it because instead of focusing on CARDIO, I’m now focusing more on decreasing stress, opting for an hour of soul-soothing yoga instead of heart-pounding running? Is it because I’m not really taking my allergy medications anymore, and instead, treating them with acupuncture and allergy shots? When my family first moved to California from the Midwest, I remember my parents curiously observing some of the new “California” things around us. Things like soy milk, yoga, acupuncture, reusable grocery bags and spring mix with baby greens (instead of Iceberg). These things were so “California”, and we’d find ourselves smiling, not mockingly, but curiously, about the new “California” habits we were adopting. I can say proudly today that I am very “California”, as I’m a yoga-going, acupuncture-having, organic-tea-drinking, non-soda drinking chick. Part of it is definitely due to the ladies of Mamavation, who educate me on things I didn’t even know existed, like Obesogens. (That’s a real thing. And it’s scary.)

I’m really working on attacking my weight loss this year with a new perspective. One that’s more holistic, more integrated. That doesn’t look at the weight problem, the obesity, as just one thing to treat and control. I’m trying to integrate all aspects of wellness into it this time, and focus less on “LOSING WEIGHT” and more on “Getting Healthy.” Hopefully, weight loss will continue to be a happy side effect. This is kind of what I’m thinking: If I reduce my stress level, it helps my sleep. Quality sleep = a more fine tuned metabolism. Less aspartame? Less false insulin resistance. Regulating insulin = correct usage and storage of calories. Low thyroid? Take thyroid medication. Balanced thyroid = balanced hormones. Crackly back and popping joints? Yoga. Yoga = limber muscles.  I’m no scientist, but I think I’m on to something.

Today, I want to hear about a small change you’ve made that feels a little bit crunchy granola, because let’s face it, some of these changes can feel a little bit awkward, and if we talk about it, it’s less awkward and more awesome. Come to the dark side with me. Let’s go plant things in the garden, do yoga, and get crunchy!

Spice up your Monday with Light Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup

So you guys know how I’m a little bit of a magazine addict, and I currently get over 13 mags per month? (Yup. Not even gonna pretend to be embarrassed, because I love reading ‘zines in the tub.) Let’s see — I get Glamour, Marie Claire, Bon Appetit, Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light, All You, Orange Coast, Los Angeles, Self, Shape, Yoga Journal, Bicycling and Fast Company. I’m sure there’s a few more too, because my awesome FitBloggin’ Secret Santa got me some new mags to immerse myself in.

One of my favorite things about the cooking magazines is mindlessly thumbing through the pages and dreaming about what I might soon cook. When I saw this recipe from Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to try it. You can see their official recipe here; and what’s listed below is my adapted version. I used chicken broth instead of veggie because it’s what I had on hand, and added cilantro, fresh garlic and kaffir lime leaves. Really minimal swaps in the grand scheme of things, and didn’t change the nutritional content, but if you’d like to use the original recipe, you can grab it here.

LightRedCurryVegetableSoup_ThaiFood_DoubleChinDiary

This soup is SOUP-er (har har) light, with each 1 & 1/3 cup serving coming in at only 105 calories and 4g of fat. So light, so yummy, and so, so flavorful. If you’re not a fan of spice, you may want to tone down the amount of curry paste to maybe 1 and 1/2 tablespoons only, because it has a good bite to it. Personally, I say bring it on — I knew it was a good cuppa’ soup when my nose was running. This recipe makes a ton, easily enough for four people. Make it for dinner one night and then save the rest for lunches through out the week. We served it with grilled chicken thighs and rice cooked with 1 tbsp turmeric and 1/2 cup of peas. You could easily serve this with noodles, rice, or crunchy wonton strips.

Per 1 1/3-cup serving:

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Total Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 618 mg
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugar: 5 g

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

30 minutes or fewer

Thai red curry paste provides the spicy base for this soup. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand for the cauliflower and green beans.
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 12 oz. cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2.5 Tbs. Thai red curry paste, such as Thai Kitchen or Mae Ploy
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • 1.5 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups or so)
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • 4 cloves peeled, chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Five kaffir lime leaves, snapped in half and then torn into the soup. Can’t find Kaffir lime leaves? You can use regular lime leaves, or just double up on the lime juice.

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower, chopped garlic and white parts of green onions; sauté 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk and green beans, and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

4. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, lime leaves, remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

So, do you think you’ll give it a try? I found it the perfect light but exotic warm soup for this chilly, rainy Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re having trouble finding things like curry paste, coconut milk and lime leaves in stores near you, you can always order from ImportFood.com.

 

 

 

A wonderful weekend

Hi everybody! *waves hello*

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I sure did! I’ve been catching up with the hustle bustle from the holidays, and have also started a new full-time social media job (working from home! score!). It’s been a very exciting past few weeks in my household. This weekend was a 3 day weekend for me, and I had a jam-packed few days full of fun. To start, me and my gym buddies all got pedicures. I spoil myself about once a month for a pedicure, and the expense is well worth the hour of relaxation. Don’t our toes look adorable?

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Then, on Saturday, Matt and I enjoyed being spoiled Southern Californians by heading to Malibu, where we frolicked in the surf and sunbathed. 80 degrees on January 18. Yep, that’s pretty spoiled. It was funny because about five feet from our beach sheet, there was a Land’s End catalog shoot going on. The models were wearing big, chunky sweaters over bikini bottoms, and you could tell they were going for the Cape Cod / Nantucket type feel. Not in LA, baby… our beach days here are nice and warm.

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We hiked up to a lookout point above the beach, where the clear sky was a breathtaking backdrop to the blue ocean. Isn’t the view amazing?

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I scuttled around this canyon type thing, and had fun doing some tricep dips as I crawled through. I’m trying to squeeze in exercise wherever I can!

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After the beach, we saw Her. I’m still wrapping my head around that movie; I liked it, sure, but what an odd concept. Sadly it’s a concept that I can see becoming true in the very near future. We already have Siri, how long until our operating systems become our best friends and confidantes and therapists and doctors? Crazy, right?! You should go see it and tell me what you think.

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Today, we woke up early and headed to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Right now, avocados, oranges, kale, cabbage, onions, potatos, bok choy and different lettuces are the stars of the season. I bought some organic carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes, and bacon avocados for meals this week. I also picked up a half gallon of raw milk, because I made my own cheese! My dad got me this Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit for Christmas, and I’d been impatiently waiting for a weekend day to make my own mozzerella. More about that in a minute, but first I have to show you the delicious brunch I had today with my friend Timmy, new friends Chris and Travis, and Matt. Our friend Tim’s roommate’s boyfriend (got that?) lives in a beautiful midcentury modern house in the LA hills, and we were invited over today for a super yummy brunch of mimosas, cornflake crusted french toast, hash browns, and red pepper eggs. It was deeeeelicious and was the perfect “cheat meal” to close out my weekend. After we ate, we played Cards Against Humanity (which I am so buying, like now. Damn! I can’t, it’s sold out) and had a grand time guffawing at the incredibly offensive word combinations we came up with. It was an awesome, low key Sunday with delicious food, belly laughs, and great company.

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Now, back to the cheese! A few people have asked me if I’m going to blog the “how to”, but to be honest, I don’t really know how other than to follow the instructions in the booklet that came with the kit. I was nervous about making it, but truthfully, it’s a pretty easy process as long as you measure the temperature of the whey and stick to the general time guidelines. We used raw milk, which is unpasteurized and made me feel all hippie-anarchist. I even drank a little bit…. tastes exactly like “normal” milk. Some people speculate that raw milk can help ease allergies — curious! I’m not a huge milk drinker in general, otherwise I might give that a try. So basically making mozzarella was pretty simple. Here’s a nifty little instagram video I did of it.

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The end result? YUM! It’s not as salty or as squeaky as store-bought cheese, but it has a very light, milky taste. I found it the perfect backdrop for our dinner of caprese salad — sliced heirloom tomatoes with cheese, basil olive oil, salt and pepper. Amazing. AND, one last wonderful thing about this weekend? I put on my previously too tight to button jeans, and while they’re still snug, they button. They’re wearable :) YAY!

So there’s my weekend in a nutshell. I feel so lucky to get the things I get to do — spend time with awesome people, play in sunny So Cal’s awesome beaches, make and enjoy delicious food. I hope you had an equally excellent weekend. So tell me, what did you do this weekend? What was the highlight?

What’s in April’s fridge?

Happy half-of-the-week is over, everyone!

I’m back with another update on how my Weight Watchers has been going, leading off from my post last Friday.   After the meeting my friend Laura and I made a trip to Trader Joe’s and picked up groceries to get us by for the next few days.  Feeling motivated to get EVERYTHING, I went by our local produce stand and supplemented my stash with even more greens.  All of my groceries were pretty inexpensive and even though it’s been a few days, I still have a bunch of food.  I made a chicken vegetable soup and got stuff to make another batch of my ground turkey with tomato sauce that I had over cooked broccoli slaw last week.Besides a few meals outside of the house, I’ve been adapting to my new lifestyle of crunching on an apple mid-day or sucking down 100+ ounces of water.

April's stash of food for the week  ~$45

April’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack foods for the week!  (around $45)

 

I mentioned in my post from Friday that my friend Laura lost eleven pounds on her first week of being back at Weight Watchers and watched to share some tips she had.

She went from the typical holiday habits many of us shared and worked hard to stick to the Weight Watcher’s Simple Start Plan.  Unlike me in my first week, she tracked nothing (part of the plan) and “always had a cup of hot tea in her hand” ready to drink.

Here are Laura’s top three tips:

1) Drink water ALL THE TIME.  She was pulling in more than 100 oz of water a day!  With all those trips to the bathroom, Laura was really flushing out her system!

2) Avoid SUGAR!  If you can resist the urge to binge on the sweets, you can have some pretty strong success!

3) Don’t eat after seven pm!  I personally suck at this since night time just seems like the right time to sit and stuff.  I’ve been snacking with 4oz Trader Joe yogurts that I stick in the freezer.  I’ll see if I can follow this tip of hers!

unnamed5I’m two days away from another meeting and I haven’t been obsessively stepping on the scale like I did last week.  I’m giving the “Simple Start” another chance and not tracking my points and just eating balanced and light meals so we’ll see how that works out for me.  Traditionally I always lose, gain, lose, gain, lose, lose, gain, lose… But who knows!  There is always room for a change!  Maybe I’ll be surprised on Friday with a loss.

Speaking of that,  one of my random meals out was at my friend Natalie’s house!  I’ve never been a fan of eating anything that swims in the water but I am looking to expand my eating habits.  A few years ago I had an amazing serving of salmon, compliments of a talented Dad I babysit for, and since then was too threatened that no one else’s salmon would be as good as his.  However when Natalie said she was going to make us some I was excited for the opportunity to try it again!  Of course, I loved it… much to my Mother’s disbelief.

Have you found there any foods that you like now that you didn’t like when you were younger?  Maybe something you’ve discovered while on the road to better health?  Share with us!

Lots of love and healthy greens,

AprilSignatur