Sweet Potato Hash Recipe

When your diet consists of only these ten foods, you have to be really creative to prevent boredom from kicking in. Thankfully, we have the internet for that. You can get thousands of recipes from Pinterest alone.

My favorite meal has always been breakfast and I’m always on the lookout for healthy, creative breakfast ideas. So when I came across this Sweet Potato and Egg Hash at Greatist.com, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement.

sweetpotatoegghash

The Verdict

Not only is this recipe really delicious, it also gets an A Grade for nutritional value from our friends at CalorieCount.com. They have a really cool feature where you can analyze the ingredients in a recipe and come back with the overall nutritional value.

recipeanalysis

The only tweak I made was to remove the red peppers because I don’t like how they taste cooked. The dish is really satisfying and flavorful and I can see myself eating this on a regular basis.

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How I lost 6.5 lbs in 1 month eating these 10 foods everyday.

My doctor told me I needed to lose 15 pounds after my last well-woman checkup. It didn’t come as a surprise because my clothes weren’t fitting right and I was feeling sluggish. I thought about going back to the gym, but that wasn’t a solution at that point in my life. Work was requiring me to be at the office 12 hours some days, so a gym membership would most likely have gone to waste. I don’t enjoy drinking shakes or eating pre-packaged/processed food so my meal plan would have to include a variety of real foods that were rich in nutrients and good sources of energy.

Food sensitivities

It’s important to know how foods affect you physically and mentally. Over the years, I’ve come to know the foods that are really bad for me. Processed sugar, gluten (yes, I’m actually gluten intolerant) and soy are foods that I need to avoid because they cause adverse reactions such as cystic acne, severe bloating, migraine headaches and of course, weight gain. Even with these restrictions, I was able to put together a varied selection of foods that were satisfying and healthy.

Why it worked

I wasn’t looking to “lose 5 pounds overnight” or by using any gimmick. Most times, if you lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, you gain it back, with a little extra. I wanted my weight loss to be permanent and healthy. With that in mind, here is why I think this plan worked.

  1. Effective preparation was key. I did all my meal prep on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening. This involved cutting up vegetables, marinating the meat and preparing enough for three days worth of meals.
  2. There was enough variety to prevent boredom. I had lots of options for recipes and the foods worked well together in a variety of different ways.
  3. I had a good selection of stand-alone foods that made for easy snacking. Yogurt, nuts, apples and even avocado slices were great to snack on when hunger set it.
  4. Foods were nutrient dense which meant they fed my body what it needed and helped me to feel full throughout the day.
  5. Most of the foods were high in protein and fiber. Protein helps to build and repair tissue, which was important because I wasn’t working out. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and helps with regularity.
  6. Most importantly, I enjoyed the food. It didn’t feel like a diet and I never felt like I was torturing or depriving myself. I didn’t cut out treats completely either. On one occasion, I ate a slice of cake at an office celebration.

The Fabulous Foods

1. Chicken4

2. Avocado3

3. Beans5

4. Apples2

5. Nuts1

6. Spinach8

7. Sweet Potato9

8. Yogurt10

9. Eggs6

10. Salmon7

The Results

Even though this was a happy accident, I was thrilled about the results. Breaking down the numbers, my weight loss looked like this.

  • I lost .22 lbs each day.
  • It would take me 2 and 1/3 months to lose my doctor-directed 15 lbs.
  • If the trend continued for an entire year, it would total 78 lbs of weight lost.

I lost the weight in November 2016, so when the Christmas season was upon us, I actually gained back almost 3 pounds of the weight I had lost. For me, it wasn’t realistic to only eat these foods while attending Christmas parties, client dinners and everything else that goes along with the holiday season.

UPDATE: I started the eating plan again the second week of February and I lost two pounds in the first week. Since I already know that this works for me, I’ve committed to continuing until I’ve lost 15 pounds. After that, I will probably add some more foods and experiment a little bit more.

Talk to me!

Do you have any weight-loss secrets that worked for you? Are there any sure-fire recipes that you fall back on when you have to drop the pounds. Be sure to comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

PS – Stay tuned for delicious recipes including these 10 ingredients!

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Self-Care is about You

Self-care, an often neglected practice, is the care that is provided by you, for you. It can take on many forms, but at its core is a commitment to invest in your own health and well-being. As women, we give to many people around us. If we fail to give back to ourselves, we will eventually run out of resources to pour into others. That’s when burnout, frustration, and stress start to manifest in our lives.

Millenial females at risk

Stress is higher among women than men, and Millenials experience the highest stress among the generations. This leaves female millennials at risk. High levels of stress can lead to health ailments, psychological problems, and relationship struggles. Left unmanaged, stress can be fatal. Taking time to invest in a healthier lifestyle can reduce the amount of stress and improve overall well-being.

Self-care is not selfish

If we don’t care for ourselves, every other relationship we have will suffer and we as women, put great value in our relationships. Self-care will look different for each person. I don’t really enjoy shopping, so that type of activity doesn’t energize me, but for someone else, a trip to the mall might be just what they need to recharge. Take time to know yourself and listen to that inner voice telling you what she needs.

Self-care ideas

Get sufficient sleep – Sleep deprivation is a leading source of stress, so be sure to get enough sleep every night. Power naps are great for reducing stress too.

Healthy eating – Nutrient dense foods help your body fight against disease and strengthen it against the effects of stress.

Physical fitness – Working out helps to produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy.

Prayer/meditation – Prayer and meditation can be a source of comfort and help to change one’s perspective.

Reading – A good book can be more than an escape. Reading is said to relax the body and calm the mind.

Spend time with friends – Studies have shown that spending time with friends can help people to fight disease and cope with stressful situations.

Take a long bath – Some of the benefits of warm baths are pain relief, lower blood pressure and overall relaxation.

Unplug from gadgets – Technostress (the stress that comes from working with computers and other gadgets) is a relatively new form of stress. It can cause headaches, anxiety and physical problems (carpal tunnel, back pain). Unplug from your gadgets every so often to help your body reset itself.

Go for a walk at lunch – Too many of us work through our lunches and don’t take the break that we’re entitled to. Even a short 15-minute walk over lunch can significantly increase productivity.

Get a pet – Not only are pets lots of fun, they help to reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones and lowering heart rate.

Go shopping – Buy those shoes you’ve been looking at for weeks. Treating yourself to a well-deserved gift is a sure-fire way to reduce stress.

Being intentional and strategic about taking care of yourself is essential to your well-being. Start treating this practice as a necessity, rather than a luxury and start enjoying the benefits.

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10 Delicious Mug Cakes You can Enjoy Guilt-Free

Looking for a dessert that will satisfy your sweet-tooth but won’t derail your healthy eating? Mug-cakes, also known as cakes-in-a-mug, are the perfect small bites for these cravings.

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If I had to choose between sweet or savory foods, 9 out of 10 times, I would pick savory. I don’t really have a sweet tooth which is great because I have a slow metabolism. Yet, even with a palate that leans toward savory, I still find myself with the occasional sweet cravings. Cake mugs are perfect for these times.

I like them because they’re bite-sized and they disappear after one serving. You don’t have to face the temptation of eating half a cake over the course of the week. So the next time your sweet tooth kicks in, take your pick of these (almost) guilt-free desserts. Many require only a few minutes of prep time and just a few ingredients.

1. One Minute Low Carb Vanilla Mug Cake

Low Carb Vanilla Mug Cake

2. Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo)

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

Chocolate Mug Cake

3. 5-Minute Toffee Mug Cake

5 Minute Toffee Mug Cake

4. Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

img_0633Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

5. Carrot Cake in a Mug

mini carrot cake

Carrot Cake in a Mug

6. Apple Pie Mug Cake

Apple Pie Mug Cake

Apple Pie Mug Cake

7. Gluten-Free Funfetti Mug Cake

Super easy 1-minute gluten free funfetti mug cake - made with cake mix so no mixing or measuring a bunch of ingredients! Dessert recipe from @whattheforkblog | whattheforkfoodblog | gluten free desserts | how to make mug cake | cake mix mug cake | funfetti cake | easy funfetti cake | how to make cake in a microwave | no-bake cake | microwave cake | easy dessert recipes | sprinkles | confetti cake

Gluten-Free Funfetti Mug Cake

8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

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One Minute Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

9. Double Lemon Mug Cake

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Double Lemon Mug Cake

10. Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing Mug Cake

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Red Velvet Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

BONUS – Cake Batter Mug Cake (my hubby’s favorite)

cake-batter-dip-for-one-2Cake Batter Mug Cake

Grab your mugs

They all look incredible but I think I’m going to try the 5-Minute Toffee cake first. My kids would be all over the Cinnamon Roll and my husband’s favorite will be Cake Batter.

Have you ever made a Cake in a Cup? Why not share your recipe in the comments below.

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20 things that make me happy (that don’t include my family or spending money)

Gratitude not only makes you feel good, studies have shown that it actually enhances your physical and psychological well-being. It’s good practice to stop and reflect on all you have to be thankful for. Some people use a gratitude journal as a reminder of the people and things that enrich their lives. Some of us do it in blog posts like this.

My Top 20 Happiness Inducers

  1. Wonton Soup
  2.  My tiffany-blue cashmere blanket (a gift from my boss)
  3. Laughing
  4. Walking at Horseshoe Bay beach
  5. Looking at model homes
  6. Long baths
  7. Writing music
  8. Hosting dinner parties
  9. Makeovers
  10. The smell of Blue Mountain Coffee
  11. Getting a massage
  12. A freshly cleaned house
  13. The smell of Las Vegas rain
  14. Public speaking
  15. Beating deadlines
  16. Playing the piano
  17. Singing harmony
  18. Encouraging people
  19. Post-workout endorphins
  20. Holding babies

Talk to me!

Write out your own list and share it with this group.
Was this exercise challenging for you?
Were you able to list more than 20 things?

Smooth(er) Moves

When my husband and I were preparing to move from Bermuda to Las Vegas in 2012, a very good friend of ours gave us some great advice. While we were concerned about the logistics of the move (job, house, schooling), he reminded us of something that was much more important. He said to us, “Even though you’re experiencing something new and exciting, transitions are hard. Be aware of how this is impacting you and your relationships.”

Transitions can be difficult for many reasons.

  • They lead us into the unknown
  • They bring us out of comfort zones
  • We miss what we left behind
  • They highlight our bad choices

I like change. In fact, I get bored very easily and yearn for new experiences on a regular basis, but this move was a particularly difficult for me. At the time, I was about six months into the US Green Card application process. I was visiting the US for Christmas, but there was a real possibility that I would have to leave the US for up to two years without my family. The thought of it made me want to cry. There was literally nothing I could do – but wait. I’m not so great with waiting.

Waiting Gif

Through a series of administrative errors, I was given my Green Card in a record 8 months. I was working full-time less than a month later. So much for having to wait! Things worked out in our favor, but it didn’t negate the fact that the transition brought things out in me that I didn’t even know were there.

I look back on this time and wish I could have done things differently. In retrospect, I should have been able to identify the recurring patterns in my life. Like money, transitions are magnifiers. They simply highlight who you already are. It’s not the transition in and of themselves, but the accompanying stress and uncertainty that can reveal our ugly parts.

Change.

I wish I could have handled this time with more grace and confidence, but all wasn’t lost. Through this transition, I learned the following –

  • I am extremely impatient (Ok, I’ve always known that, but it was much worst during this stressful time).
  • I default to “inaction” when I don’t have all the answers.
  • I use my words very carelessly when I face stress.

I now recognize when I’m engaging in these negative behaviors and stop them before they start. They’re no longer my default.

How to grow during times of transition – 

  • Stand firm on your foundation. Whether that be faith, family or friends, trust that your support system won’t let you down when things are at their worst.
  • Embrace the changes happening inside you. Though they may be uncomfortable, trust that you will become a better person through them.
  • Learn and grow from the past. Transitions don’t have to catch us off-guard every time. Though you might not be able to control the changes coming your way, you can control how you react to them.

Transitions are hard, but they don’t have to take a toll on you and the people you love. Enjoy them for what they are – exciting, new experiences that can help you become a better version of yourself.

How to Re-Invent Yourself – 3 Easy Ways

We’ve all heard the expression “A Change is as good as a Rest”. I personally prefer this one.

A change is as good as

I get rest every night (twice on Sunday’s sometimes). I could definitely use a holiday but since I’m not due for a holiday for a couple months, a change will have to do for now. In my previous post, I’d Rather be a Model than a Martyr, I told you a bit about my quest to shed my Martyr title and become a Model Mommy/Polished Partner.

For me, this is all about personal attention and reinventing myself circa 2015. These are three simple ways to reinvent yourself.

1 – Get a makeover 

Let’s face it. Looks are important. Studies have shown that people place higher expectations on attractive people. The amazing thing is that when people have these elevated expectations placed on them, they are more likely to achieve them. Initially, I wanted to be a Model Mommy/Polished Partner so I could be someone my family would be proud of, but as I thought about, I realized my motivation had to start and end with me. I had to like the person I saw in the mirror because regardless if she was a 10 or a 6.5 or if she wore Chanel or Walmart, it wouldn’t matter much what others thought if she constantly questioned her own worth. So if we get back to the heightened expectations we place on more attractive people, understand that you if like the person you see in the mirror, you will expect more from her and, therefore, you will achieve more than you ever thought possible.

2 – Change your name

As my daughter was getting ready for school this morning, she told me that when she becomes president at age 35, she is going to keep her last name, even if she is married at the time. Her husband would have to become a Raynor and his name would be Brandon Raynor. I’ve never heard her speak of Brandon, so I asked her if she had a crush on one. She said, “No, he will have to change his first name too. His name will be Brandon Raynor.” There you have it. “Brandon Raynor – Future First Husband of the United States of America.”

Our conversation got me thinking. If I were given the opportunity to change my name or title,  what would I call myself? For as long as I can remember, I’ve referred to myself as “Gail Raynor, Classic Slacker”. Words have power and we become what we say, so now I refer to myself as “Gail Raynor, Successful Risk-Taker”. Ultimately we determine the course of our lives by determining who we are.

3 – Awaken old dreams

It’s been said that the graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that dead dreams have been buried, unfulfilled. As we get older, we dream less than we did as children and start to believe that the mundane is all there is. Eventually, our dreams have all but disappeared. You may have lost time and squandered opportunities, but remember, dreams don’t have a shelf-life. Start to pursue some of those dreams that have been put to sleep.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Reinvention is simply a matter of making new choices. Choose to love who you are. Choose to believe the best of yourself. Choose to live a life that brings you joy.

I’d rather be a model than a martyr

Achieving each of the PartnHER Promises will require some work or effort on your part. They will require some honest self-reflection. This work will look different for each woman, but for me, PartnHER Promise #1, will start with a radical makeover. In fact, I hope to become a whole new woman. You see, I’m a martyr mom.

Don’t know what a martyr mom is? Let me explain. She’s the woman who –

  • has let her appearance go. (She’s very easy to spot)
  • has at least two lapsed gym memberships (purchased on January 2nd) that she will probably never use.
  • declines EVERY social invitation because she hasn’t had her hair done in months, possibly even years and she doesn’t have anything current to wear in her wardrobe.
  • has to decline every social invitation because her calendar is overbooked with child-friendly events.
  • finds excuses and shifts blame for the reasons why her career has stalled.
  • is afraid to take risks.
  • has a graveyard full of dead dreams.
  • feels like a shell of her former self and has no one to blame but herself.

All of her reasons for this behavior may seem valid or even noble. They weren’t noble at all. They were simply excuses rooted in fear and laziness.

  • “I’m putting my family’s needs before my own.”
  • “Hair/makeup/clothes are just shallow outward expressions. They don’t reflect the real me.”
  • “I’m not interested in climbing the corporate ladder or building my own business. I want to help my spouse or children build theirs.”

Sounds pretty unselfish, right? Some might even say altruistic until you dig deeper and realize those pious sounding words are down-right unsaintly. They don’t even make sense.

You see, I used to be extremely fit and very stylish. I also used to be very ambitious, driven and fearless. I took the very thing that should have been my greatest source of strength (my family) and turned it into my greatest hindrance. This is precisely why Martyr Mom Syndrome doesn’t make sense.

I’m going to turn the Martyr Mom Syndrome on its head and make my family my muse, not my misery. (Who’s with me?) Instead of being the Martyr Mom, I decided I would become the Model Mom. Not like the Cindy Crawford or Iman type model (I will gladly get out of bed for a little less than $10K). I will become the type of mother that can be a model of ambition, tenacity, hard work, never-giving-up-in-the-face-of-failure, beauty, and health. After all, those are things we want for our children. How else do we expect them to learn them if we don’t set the example??

This brings me to today and how I practically plan to live PartnHER Promise # 1. I’ve already started getting my career back on track, so my focus will be on personal attention. I will get back to the gym and focus on my appearance. Self-care is not just about how we look, but also about how we feel about ourselves. I dare you to love you enough to pamper yourself the way you pamper your family.