Am I Getting Fat?

Ditching Diets

One of the things that I noticed every time I have been on a big exercise and healthy eating kick was that people were more likely to say to me, “Please don’t get too skinny” or “Are you planning to loose more weight?”.

I’ve wondered, why didn’t anyone say anything to me when I was putting on a few exta pounds. It appears that we feel more comfortable expressing our feelings to someone when we percieve them as being too thin, yet we shy away from telling someone they appear to be gaining weight.

Why is expressing that someone appears to be too thin, ok? Could it be that deep down inside we haven’t committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and we don’t want our friend to change. Maybe that would cause us to have to take a look at ourselves.

DitchingDiets.com

 

A great deal of women have body image issues, myself included, so rather than invoke our opinion of how we think they should look we should be more encouraging. No matter what side of the coin you are on, we all need support.

As long as what they are doing is not harmful to themselves or  others then we should be supportive of their journey. Who are we to judge someone else to say that they are too thin?

I say all this because I can feel my body changing since my bikini competition and I’m starting to add a few extra pounds since my show but nobody has said anything to me. Grant it it’s not noticeable compared to last year. Yet, at soon as my show was over I heard often, “are you going to gain a few pounds back?”. It’s all perception and we know our bodies and have to make adjustments based on how we feel.

XO Selena

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I’ve struggled over the past year to write more blog post. The main reason is because I was training for my first fitness competition and the other is because I felt that I wasn’t being who I really am. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE trying new healthy recipes but I also love a ooey gooey brownie every now and then.

So in order for me to be true to who I am I will be sharing a sweet balance of healthy and not so healthy recipes because after all this blog is not about following a “diet”. So what better recipe to start with then a chocolate cake that is infused with red wine. After all red wine is heart healthy. :)

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I have to say that this cake is AMAZING! Besides the fact that it has red wine in it, it’s a very moist cake. I saw this recipe in a cookbook that I was browsing while waiting to check out…they seem to get me every time. The magazine included that the recipe was from the blog Pretty Simple Sweet so I pulled up the blog and searched for the recipe and found it, which saved me about $9.99. I’m notorious for buying a magazine and only wanting to make a few recipes.

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

The picture shown on Shiran’s blog shows a chocolate ganache frosting but she mentions just dusting the cake with powdered sugar. I opted for the powdered sugar so that I could save a little on the calories from the topping. I did try it with whip topping as well just to add a little something extra with it and it was great both ways. I seriously could have eaten the entire cake but I’ll take it to work and share the calories. ;)

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

If after Thanksgiving you have a little extra red wine left over then I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. Shiran recommended using dark brown sugar to moisten the cake and give it more flavor.

You can REALLY taste and smell the red wine in the recipe so if you want more of a chocolate taste add more cocoa powder. Just a word of precaution, the red wine does not bake out so this might not be the recipe to share with your kiddos.

Otherwise ENJOY!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g/7.4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 g/2.7 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/227 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g/8.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) brown sugar (preferably dark)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) dry red wine

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in (or fold by hand) the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Do not overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted (mine was ready in 40 mins) into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out and let it cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.

Store cake at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

 Adapted from: Pretty Simple Sweet

 

 

Bikini Competition Journey

First Time Bikini Competitor

Hey!! Its been way too long since I’ve created a blog post but that will change. My goal is to start posting on a regular basis and really grow this blog.  But on another note this post is to share a little about my journey to compete in my first fitness competition. Competing was not something I saw someone do one day and just decide I wanted to do it. Its been something that I’ve been wanting to do for over 4 years and I’m finally glad I buckled down and was disciplined enough to follow through with it.

It was a tough 9 months to end up on stage but it was well worth it. There were plenty of mornings where I had to get up at 5:30AM to train and then be right back at the gym at 11:45AM for a lunch workout and then right back at the gym at 5:30PM. See the reason I was in the gym so much is because I had let myself go. I let life, being a mom and stress take over and I used that as an excuse and I didn’t make the best choices when it came to food. I seem to make time to exercise but even that wasn’t on a consistent basis. So on December 18, 2013 when I decided to make the change this is where I started…

Bikini Competitor Before Pictures

Over the next few weeks I’ll share with you the things that I learned from competing and at the end I’ll share my decision on whether or not I’ll compete again.

XO Selena

Furry Logic – A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges [Book Review]

Furry Logic Reviewby: Jane Seabrook

I was sent a copy of Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition by Jane Seabrook to review. When I selected this book to review, from looking at the outside, I thought it would be a great book for Amiyah and I to read together. After I received the book and began reading through the pages, I realized that this book is not necessarily for kids. Honestly I think adults would get more out of this than kids. Some of the humor the kids might not understand.

Furry Logic - Ditchingdiets.com

This book brings a sense of humor to life’s little challenges. I’d recommend keeping this book at work if you’re having one of those days and you just need to add a smile to your face. It’s not a book filled with only cat pictures. It has an array of animals throughout the book to paint the picture of handling life’s challenges.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Smile first thing in the morning. Get it over with.”

“If you can keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs –

it’s quite possible you haven’t grasped the situation.”

“Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.”

You need to pick up the book to get the full effect of the quotes listed above. This book is a very quick read and the illustrations to go along with each challenge are a perfect fit!Personally I think it would be great if these were included in a desk calendar or maybe screensavers for your computer.

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Until that happens you’ll just have to settle for the book. So go pick up a copy and I can guarantee you’ll be smiling and laughing from page one.

 

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More Info

Author Bio

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Pasta With Shrimp and Tomato-Caper Sauce

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The first of this months Cooking Light recipe was super easy to make and kid approved. Not a fan of shrimp, I think this recipe would go well with fish or chicken. This recipe is very light and is not heavy with lots of sauce. I forgot the capers for the pic but did add them before this recipe was served.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves

Preparation0001Tc

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove shrimp from pan.
  3. Wipe out pan with a paper towel. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add zucchini and onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add salt, red pepper, and tomatoes; lightly mash tomatoes with a potato masher. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in broth; return to a simmer. Stir in pasta, shrimp, and capers; toss to coat. Remove pan from heat; top with basil. Serve immediately.
Adapted From: Cooking Light April 2014 Issue

0001SxWe served the pasta with some warm French bread and it made this meal even more delicious. This would be a great option for lunch or dinner.

0001EuTry this simple recipe and let us know what you think.

XO Selena
“Let Go And Look Good”

Adobo Chicken

0001ooLast week I received a copy of Cooking Light’s new cookbook, Global Kitchen: The World’s Most Delicious Food Made Easy. There are a lot of great recipes that I’d like to try. This weekend I knew I would be short on time and wanted to try a recipe that was quick.

The Adobo Chicken recipe was easy to make and it is very delicious. Even Amiyah said the chicken was really good. For the rice I used basmati rice because that’s what I had in my cabinet. We LOVE the French green beans from Trader Joe’s so we added them to this meal. Try it and let me know what you think. Be on the look out this week for a GIVEAWAY of the extra cookbook I was sent. :-)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice (I used basmati rice)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. 0001xVHeat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Return chicken to pan. Add soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 12 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes or until chicken is done and sauce thickens. Discard bay leaf.
  3. Spoon rice into a serving bowl; top with cilantro, and sprinkle with pepper. Serve chicken mixture with rice. Serves 4 (serving size: 2 thighs, 3/4 cup rice, and about 6 tablespoons sauce)
Adapted from: Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World’s Most Delicious Food Made Easy

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ENJOY!
XO Selena
“Let Go And Look Good”

Fruit Infused Water

0001AqMany people don’t like water and won’t drink it so fruit infused water is a great alternative to still get your daily intake of water plus a little flavor. The first time you were introduced to infused water was probably in a spa, well at least it’s true for me. That was years ago but now infused water has become a big trend. Now they have water bottles and pictures specifically for infused water.

Here are a few recipes that we recently tried and hope you’ll enjoy!

0001NbWatermelon + Mint

0001swLemon

0001QRStrawberry + Lime

Do you have a favorite fruit infused water recipe you’d like to share?

Sautéed Chicken with Roasted Pepper Pasta

0001zBMost of the time Amiyah and I eat the same thing. I’m not big on pasta but she loves it! The March issue had a great looking pasta recipe and Amiyah was excited to try it. The recipe calls for rotini pasta and she wanted the tri-color rotini so ours has a little more color. Also the recipe mentions if you can’t find mozzarella pearls, then dicing a block of mozzarella can but substituted.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces uncooked rotini
  • 12 baby bell peppers
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

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Preparation:
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cook pasta; drain. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.
3. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place peppers, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten. Broil 6 minutes or until blackened. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel; cut into strips. Add peppers and cheese to pasta. Combine oil, vinegar, and garlic; stir into pasta mixture. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and pepper; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Slice chicken. Serve over pasta
Adapted from: Cooking Light March 2013

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 503, Fat: 16.8g, Saturated fat: 5.1g, Monounsaturated fat: 6.3g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7g, Protein: 46.8g, Carbohydrate: 38.4g, Fiber: 3.7g, Cholesterol: 124mg, Iron: 3mg, Sodium: 564mg, Calcium: 158mg

Chicken Gumbo

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It’s amazing what treasures you find in a magazine after you look back through it. This recipe is from the Clean Eating magazine Winter’s Best 2013. Being that I have a TON of magazines and was purging older issues(some go back to 2011…yes, I have a problem), and didn’t remember getting this special issue of Clean Eating magazine.

This was one of there many 3o-minute chicken meals and it was so easy and quick to make. They have a few more recipes that I will share in the future. This one will be my lunch for this week and it is very good. Remember to remove the bay leaves…I almost forgot!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 28 oz boxed or jarred unsalted chopped tomatoes
  • 10 oz frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped kale, tough stems removed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

Preparation:

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. In a large saucepan on medium-high, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until golden brown.
  3. Add broth, tomatoes, okra, bay leaves, oregano. thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add kale, rice and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, until heated through. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Adapted from: Clean Eating Winter’s Best 2013

Nutrients per serving (2 cups): calories: 330, total fat: 6g, sat. fat: 1g, monounsaturated fat: 3g, polyunsaturated fat: 1g, carbs: 34g, fiber: 10g, sugars: 10g, protein: 37g, sodium: 330mg, cholesterol: 66mg

Chicken Cutlets with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Chicken Cutlets with Mushroom and Pearl Onions

Lets be honest chicken breast can get a little boring if you keep baking it in the oven week after week. Well this months Cooking Light recipe will give your chicken breast a kick. It doesn’t hurt that this recipe does include almost a cup of brandy. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
8 ounces quartered button mushrooms
2/3 cup brandy
1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preparation

Chicken cutlet prep

  1. Cut each chicken breast half in half horizontally to form 8 cutlets. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 cutlets to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 4 cutlets.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pearl onions and mushrooms; sauté 6 minutes or until browned. Remove pan from heat. Carefully add brandy to pan; return pan to medium-high heat, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 2 minutes). Combine stock and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add stock mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, and thyme.
Adapted From: March 2014 Cooking Light

XO Selena
“Let Go And Look Good”