> hey what's for dinner mom?


What I Eat to Lose Weight, Think Power Salads

Wondering what I've been eating to lose weight and stay strong? You're not alone! I get more questions about what I eat to lose weight than I ever thought possible. I've gone over it before and I'll keep going over it because it matters, what you put in your body matters. It shows on the outside, fill it with junk and you'll have junk, fill it with healthy nourishing foods and you'll have a healthy nourished body.

Eating healthy doesn't have to cost a fortune, you don't need to buy special diet foods, in fact I've lost over 60 pounds eating regular, nutritious foods that come straight from the grocery store. For breakfast it's water and almonds or walnuts, I've never cared for breakfast, so I choke down a snack in the morning and call it breakfast. And I eat what everybody else in our home eats for dinner, so this post is specifically about what I eat at LUNCH when no one is around. Obviously I have to eat, this is a danger period for me, no one is watching, what will I eat??

Well I figured out what works for me and it's nothing diet-y, nothing special, it's regular food that costs no more than 2 dollars a day. To some that may seem expensive but to me, my health and well being are worth it and lets face it I'd gladly spend more that 6 times that to go out to lunch with friends. Now we hike for free instead and I eat before or after that, I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last year!

On this year long journey I've discovered a few things I can do to maximize weight loss while staying strong and healthy. I started out eating small meals, like 5 crackers and 4 slices of lunch meat but that seem so woefully small and pitiful on a tiny little plate, that I could not fathom eating like that every single day, forever. I made it about 2 months, eating little bits like that, mostly because were finishing our remodel and I didn't have time to really analyze WHAT I was consuming. I lost weight, mostly because I was suddenly limiting calories to around 1100-1300 per day, moving 20 minutes a day, 3X a week and I had a lot of fluff weight I'd just recently gained. (I blame it on remodel misery!)

One day I looked at the meager offerings and just thought "No more! I need more food!" so I started making a big salad for lunch, all the veggies I could cram in and some protein. A couple of weeks before all this happened, a friend brought over lunch one day and she made this amazing chicken curry salad with grapes and nuts and curry powder. I riffed on it all week as a dinner side dish, everyone loved the Curry Coleslaw with Apples, after a week they were kind of done with it, I felt like I could eat it everyday. Once I started making a salad for lunch everyday I realized I could make that salad, just for me, everyday if I wanted it. So I did, almost everyday, and lost weight continually for an entire year, 60 pounds in one year. Will it work for you? I don't know, it's something you'll have to try, experiment with and make your own, but there it is, I eat, what I call, a Power Salad almost everyday for lunch. 

And I've been eating a version of my Power Salad almost every single day for the last year. Boring? No, not really, I change it up with various veggies or dressings but the base salad is very much the same. I can make a 300 calorie salad that fills a mixing bowl, gives me 3-4 servings of vegetables and a nice healthy protein punch for under 2 dollars a day. I use half a bag of pre sliced coleslaw mix, half a 5 1/2 ounce pouch or can of tuna fish, 1 TBSP of mayonnaise, a dab of milk or hot sauce to make a dressing and a wide a varied assortment of other fresh veggies. I add nuts or a fruit if I can or need to, and I'm set. I pair it with a quart of water and off I go. 

Here are a couple versions I really like
#1 the original Curry Coleslaw Tuna Power Salad
1 TBSP mayonnaise, 1 TBPS of milk, a sprinkle of curry powder, half a can of tuna fish, 1/2 a bag of coleslaw mix, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, a grated or chopped carrot and 1/2 an apple chopped--toss to combine and sprinkle with 10 walnut halves salt and pepper to taste

#2 Smoky Spicy Coleslaw Power Salad
1 TBSP mayonnaise, 1 tsp Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp (or so! add and decide how much you like) Spanish Paprika, half a can of tuna fish, 1/2 a bag of coleslaw mix, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 2 stalks of celery chopped, toss to combine sprinkle with 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds salt and pepper to taste

#3 Hot Egg Roll Power Salad
brown 2 ounces of 90/10 super lean ground beef, pour off any fat, reduce the heat to medium add 1/2 bag of coleslaw mix, 3 grated carrots, 2 stalks of chopped celery, stir to wilt sprinkle on a 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of salsa remove from the heat and stir to combine 

Those are probably my top three favorite versions of the Power Salad. I also like a ranchy version with dill and onion powder and buttermilk and sliced roasted chicken. I add as many veggies as I can to the salad every day to make sure I'm full and I get enough essential vitamins and minerals. I strongly believe that vegetables are the reason I'm successfully losing weight, so I happily eat 6-8 servings every single day, more if I feel extra hungry. I never think I can't have a big fat steak or cheeseburger either, in fact eating a lot veggies means, to me anyway, that I can eat a fairly large or high calorie meal once in a while and not worry about gaining weight. Likewise I can have a cookie or two and not obsess about that choice, I ate it, it was good and I'm moving on. 

There you have it, my secret is out and it's VEGETABLES, ha! Next week I'll be sharing my workout routine because next to the "what do you eat??" questions, what do you DO to lose weight is the next big question. 

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Thrifter Share

A post to share your thrifted finds, whether you plan to keep them, give them or sell them, share them here first. 

I'm a thrifter, always have been, always will be. Deep deep down it's a part of me, truly part of my life. So when I decided last year, stupidly decided last year, to make Hey What's for Dinner Mom all food, all the time, and start a new blog about thrifting and everything else non food, it was like trying to split my soul. I felt splintered and torn between my two great loves, food and thrifting and I was darn near immobilized by it, writing very little and kind of just muddling around aimlessly. So I made the big decision to dump the new blog and bring all the goodies, the crafts, the DIY projects and keep all the food right here on Hey What's for Dinner Mom, it's all me in one spot and I feel like I can actually write again. 

I have three boys, to them exploding things is like a food group, you must have it to survive. There are other things they need too, like speed, danger, flight, fire, building and kicking, all basic needs of boys. 

Today we fed them flight and explosion on a budget, I bought a couple different rocket set ups at the thrift store and today was the perfect day to pull them out, clear fresh blue skies, no wind and a need to explode things. 

I'd actually been collecting the different pieces for a while now and found the last bits this week. When I pulled this box of goodness seemingly out of nowhere a cheer went up, and then there was immediate brokering for pieces and parts. And the final best part for me was moving all the parts of rocketry scattered about the house out to a nice tidy cupboard in the garage that's even big enough to hold fully built rockets AND the launch pads. 

My kids don't care if treats like this don't come complete from the store, in fact I think they'd argue that this box of rocket pieces was a better deal than one set from the store. This box had enough bits and pieces to not only fly the pre made rockets, but it also allowed them to make up their own rockets which is far and away more fun. Sometimes those explode right on the launch pad or 20 feet up and that's always awesome, in their book anyway, I always flinch. Even after 21 years of boys, I still flinch. 

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Finally Got Frost

Oh it's been a lovely, long fall for us, no hard frost until last night, not a lot of rain so flowers are still beautiful and I've finally, almost have the garden put to bed before imminent snow. What a list of wins that is, eh? The afternoons have been especially spectacular with wide blue skies and it's still warm enough to work without a coat. 

Some people like to say fall starts on September 21st and I'm sure that for many people that's true, but for us we can usually expect a frost to hit on our around September 1. So by that date those of us who grow things are already harvesting, our minds moving right into fall mode, it is Fall for us. Stews become the dinner of choice around here, baking, sewing and knitting keep the hands busy (and the mouth empty!) and dark nights return for the next 6 months. 

Now that we've had a frost, the leaves will really start turning, they'll be gone soon, snugged up against a tree where the wind carries them. I'll miss their green curtains, the fluttering in the breezes and the birds hopping amongst. At the same time I'll welcome the short crisp days of winter, perfect for a quick ski and long nights when we return with a vengeance to board games and good books, tucked in against the north winds. 

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Pumpkin Spiced Iced Coffee, Shaken not Stirred

I can hear you now, why post about iced coffee when there's fresh snow on the mountains? Why not spring? Or summer for that matter. I like to buck the trends! I'm a trailblazer! Wait, no I just discovered (again!) how much I love iced coffee. One, because it uses up cold coffee I'd otherwise be stuck drinking cold, which is NOT the same as drinking iced coffee, completely different I can assure you. And Two, because I've figured out a quick semi Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee minus any actual pumpkin or squash(trailblazer!). 

We have (and LOVE!) a little French Press from Bodum. It's insulated, so coffee stays warm but once it's been in there about 30 minutes it's just old coffee, that's still warm. Usually I make one in the morning, my husband and I each get one nice full mug of coffee. Then there's like 1/2 cup left but by the time we get to the point of refill, it has reached the point of old, warm coffee. Just writing that makes me feel like a snob, but I promise we're not, we don't even buy expensive coffee anymore or beans 'roasted' by feeding elephants coffee beans, no we drink straight off the shelf grounds or when we're feeling rich we buy the local roasted coffee. So, old warm coffee or make a new pot? uh New pot please! Except I'm usually leaving by this time to drop kids off at school, when I get back home I'm always kind of waffling, do I want a second mug of coffee bad enough to wash the press? Because I know I WON'T drink it all on my own and then there's more (c)old coffee than I know what to do with. 

I always seem to forget that ANYTIME is the right time for Iced Coffee. I finally figured out how to make just a little sweet and kinda spicy and just right icy. The secret is in the method, you've got to shake it up, not stir it, the sweetener never seems to mix in when you stir it, but shake it up and it's mixed in real good. You'll need something with a lid that you can shake and shake and shake to mix really well. It should probably screw on because pop on/off lids tend to fly right off mid shake, take it from me and my kitchen walls, screw on lids are important.

NOTE many of the ingredients here are variable, add more or less to YOUR preference. My husband likes it less spicy and I prefer a full teaspoon of cinnamon, so play with it, start with some, add more as you go. 

Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee, Shaken not Stirred
1 cup COLD coffee
1/2-3/4 cup of milk-whole or fat, use what you like
3-4 teaspoons of sugar or equal sugar substitute, depends on how sweet you like it
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12-14 ice cubes
Make sure your coffee is cold, place it in a quart jar and put it in the fridge and leave it until you're ready to roll, or shake 
once it's good and cold add the milk, sugar and spices
screw on a lid, good and tight, and shake for at least a minute, you really want the sugar and spices mixed well
carefully unscrew the lid, add as much of the ice as possible
drink while truly cold

and of course I didn't happen to have easy to use nutmeg, nope I used all that up so I had to micro plane some, really use whatever nutmeg you have
 Enjoy your practically free iced coffee. Actually I like to think of this as putting MONEY in MY pocket because it's just stuff that I'd get bored with a pour out. How many unflavored iced coffees can a girl drink? Oh, well quite a few but add a little spice and she'll keep on drinking them.

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Every Drop Water Filter Review and Giveaway

I live in the country and have gorgeous clean water to drink whenever I need it, so why in the world would I agree to review and giveaway a water filter? I'm constantly drinking water wherever I go and sometimes city water is hard to choke down. Blech. But with the Every Drop Water Filter from Whirlpool that's travel sized I can have fresh, clean tasting water anytime I want, near or far from our sweet water well. That's really important to me because as you may or may not know I've been on a year long journey to getting fit and one of the best ways for me to stay on track is getting in lots of fresh water every day, the Every Drop Water Filter keeps me very well hydrated. 

It's so perfectly sized, it fit's in my purse or I can leave it in the console of my truck or pop in my carry on bag, and it comes with it's own carrying pod so it's always clean and ready to filter. I've used it restaurants too and I always get asked a lot of questions about it and everyone seems impressed by it. I'm impressed by it. One thing I really liked about it is that it fits a lot of different size bottles, glasses and even pitchers because it's funnel shaped so the tip is small and it gets bigger in the middle, to fit many different sized receptacles. NICE!

It's quick too, filtering a gallon in about 2 minutes means my water bottle will be refilled and ready to roll in the time it takes to count to 10. No more plastic bottles bought because I'm parched and no more highly chlorinated city water when I'm out and about either, this little filter gets the job done. If I fill a pitcher using the filter I simply turn my tap on half speed and it filters at the right speed, no over flow, no lag time, it's all real time.

The Every Drop Water Filter lasts for two months if you filter about a gallon a day. So really it will last for 60 gallons, if you're filtering a lot of water you'll go through the filters faster, just an FYI. You can find the filter replacement cartridges online and that's awesome because Alaska can seem so far removed from life in the lower 48. Ease of replacement means I can keep using it without worrying I'll never find another filter replacement! 

Now the fun part, I'm giving one away! Who needs better fresher drinking water? Who needs the ability to drink water happily when they're traveling? Who wants one?

  a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure: I was sent the Every Drop Water Filter by Whirlpool to review. Of course the thoughts are all mine, the words are mine and the only compensation I received was a water filter and hydration.  

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366 days of getting fit

It occurred to me yesterday as I was mowing the lawn, a wet and overgrown lawn, that it was so much easier to mow the lawn this fall, than it was last fall. I started adding up months when I realized that it was almost exactly one year since I started this most current journey towards getting fit. But more than getting physically fit, this past year has been about finding peace within myself, love for my body and having a positive impact on the world around me.
So before we get to physical results part of this year of discovery, lets look at the mental well being of the interested party. That'd be me. I've spent a lot of my life wishing things were different, hating myself and my body, waiting for the next great thing that was going to come along instead of finding peace and happiness in the moment. Do know what I figured out? That the only joy and love you have is right now, so enjoy it, what you had in the past is gone and it's memory remains and everything to come is still not here yet. So I've learned that what I have now, is what I have to enjoy, whether it's my body, my kids, the weather or anything else. And I've also learned that looking fondly back at things that seemed so hard is one of the joys of growing up. Man tearing out your kitchen and living out of crockpot for five months sucked but it was also wonderful because we learned to live with less, we happily ate the same several meals weekly for months, sometimes in our beautiful new living room or sometimes cozied up against the bathroom door in our mudroom. Those moments woven together make up the best of your life except you just don't realize it at the time. So the highs and lows even out in the sweet memories of life, which means what? Don't sweat the small stuff, do the best you can and keep doing it everyday, even if the best you can do is not a shining beacon of hope or a bright moment in parenting. 
So on to the physical changes. Well one year ago I was sluggish, I was tired all the time, I was depressed, I was blah, I wasn't even sleeping well at night. So I made an appointment to go get checked out at the doctors office. I started trying to cut calories before I went, just to you know, get my weight down a little or lose 100 pounds in the 2 weeks until my appointment. I also doggedly continued with our house remodel because when you're the adults in this situation you  just keep going until the project is done. Oh how I wanted to quit and hire out the rest of the work, but no that wasn't in the budget. Anyway by the time my appointment rolled around I'd lost a few pounds but I still felt blah. So I went and listened to what the wise doctor had to say, she told me I needed to do 5 things to lose weight which I wrote about in the True Secret to Losing Weight. I started writing down what I was eating, moving 4 times a week, drinking water and  and the weight started to come off, the more I did those things the more I built the determination to keep going.
And here it is a year later. I've just finished my workout for the day, a one and half mile run, followed up with 20 minutes of weight training and I feel great. No, I feel better than great, I FEEL SO ALIVE and awesome and energized and happy and well before I make anyone annoyed I'll just stop there. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, sorry Lego movie shout out, I loved that song so much I bought it! 
Let's do the numbers. Physically I've changed this is me(one the left-Rachel I used your photo!!) July 2013
this is me September 2014. 
WOW so much different, eh? I've lost just a smidgen over 60 pounds in a year. My measurements have changed a lot too. I lost an inch off my neck, 1 1/2 inches off my upper arms, 8 inches off my waist, 7 inches off my lower belly, 9 inches off my hips, 3 inches off my thighs, 1 1/2 inches off my calves. 
I've gone from a solid 2x-3x in tops to a normal, not even women's size, l/xl. My pants size has dropped from a 20/22 to a 16 in all jeans and in the work out/yoga pants division I now wear just an xl. My blood pressure has dropped from highs around 135/90 145/90 to very normal 120/60, BOOM BABY! My family has a history of high blood pressure so having this under control for me is a very big deal. 
It's safe to say that after a year of sticking with it, it has paid off. Not only in the weight division but almost more importantly in the overall health division. I'm happier, healthier, determined, and loving myself and consequently I'm a better person and parent and partner. I can 4 miles, ski for 2 hours, ride 20 miles on my bike, mow a lawn for 2 hours straight, bust sod for 6 hours and hike up things I never thought I'd get up(both mentally and physically). The changes that 366 days have brought to my life can't be counted, they're too numerous to even try and some may not even be tangible for years to come. I can't wait to see what the next 366 days have in store for me but I'm willing wait for them and to enjoy the day ahead of me, the week that's just around the corner and revel in the week I just had.

And because I'm feeling happy and healthy I'm going to share the gift of clean water with one lucky reader, just pop on over to the Every Drop Water Filter Review and Giveaway and enter to win!
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Quick Dinner Solution-Tuna Fish Cakes

Last week amid the thrill of a birthday for one boy and an overnight camping trip to the mountains for another I completely forgot dinner. I did round up rain pants, make brownies, make lasagna, prep for a kids party, clean the house (sort of) and assorted other fun things but dinner completely slipped my mind on the night of the camping trip. I guess I figured they'd all be eating happily around the campfire and those of staying home might slip out for a mom and kid dinner alone. Unfortunately it turned out I DID need to make dinner for the campers and the child I thought I'd slip away with wanted to stay home and build legos. FOILED. 

Thankfully a stocked pantry saved the day and some serious money, the prices for dining out just keep going up and up, wow. I don't have a microwave, by choice, so I was limited in the meat division to what was in the pantry or the fridge, so it was tuna or clams. I also wanted something hearty, filling and hot because the campers were going to be camping in the rain. Let me just interject with this public service announcement: I've never been so glad that I picked staying home rather than camping, it snowed in the night, not on them but in the mountains. 

What to make what to make, no time for tuna noodle casserole, tuna fish sandwiches brrrrr, tuna melts! Ugh no bread! Well tuna fish patties? Like salmon patties only tuna? A quick google search led me to the recipe from Kraft foods and with a quick pantry check I was good to go. I didn't have the Stove Top stuffing it called for but I had a box of Mrs. Cubbisons so I subbed that in for the Stove Top. The patties went together in 5 minutes, chilled for 10 and broiled for about 10 and we were in business.

Tuna Fish Cakes

2 cans of tuna fish drained-water or oil packed
6 ounces of dried bread-this can be a stuffing mix, your own dried bread pieces or even croutons
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup water-I used half pickle juice here for added flavor
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup of mayo
2 dill pickles, minced or run through a food processor
1 TBSP cooking oil or cooking spray like Pam

mix all the ingredients except the oil thoroughly 
chill for 10 minutes
turn the oven on to broil
use some of the oil to grease a baking sheet or spray with cooking spray
use a 1/3 of cup measuring cup to scoop the fish and form cakes on the greased baking sheet
lightly brush the top of each cake with oil, or spray with cooking spray 
broil 3-4 inches away from the element for about 10 minutes, if they appear to be getting too brown lower the rack and continue cooking until heated through
once they are nicely browned and heated through they are done
serve with cocktail sauce, tartar sauce or just fresh lemon wedges

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