So today is only Day 8 of my AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, it’s been barely a whole week, and I’m already seeing a huge difference!! Not only am I feeling better but, I’m also fitting into clothes that didn’t fit when I started! Whoo-hoo!!! This morning, I woke up, jumped out of bed, and began getting ready for my day. I could tell it was going to be a good day! It took everything in me not to whistle as I went about my morning routine. I went downstairs, grabbed my Orange flavored Propel water for my fiber drink, a regular bottle for my Spark, made my breakfast, and hauled it back upstairs to eat and drink while I got dressed. I’ve decided that drinking the SPARK on an empty stomach is giving me indigestion. My body is weird and I often get indigestion if I drink coffee on an empty stomach. So I’ve been drinking it with my breakfast instead of 30 minutes before. It seems to be working out and I’m feeling a good deal better in the morning! But, this morning I felt better than ever! After I finished my breakfast, makeup, and hair I began getting my clothes together. Rewind, to last week when I tried on a pair of jeans, last Friday before my 24 day Challenge began, and they didn’t fit. I hung them up in my closet and today I grabbed them by accident. I saw they were the wrong ones and went to put them back. Somewhere between my mirror and my closet I decided to see if they were closer to fitting! I pulled them up and buttoned and zipped them with ease! I was on cloud 9! I had to call and tell err-body!! I am still so dang excited!! My mom absolutely couldn’t believe it. She keeps telling me that she can’t believe I’m dieting because it doesn’t seem like I’m suffering! And she’s right! I don’t feel like I’m dieting at all! I mean obviously every now and then I’m like “ohhhh fried chicken.” Or “Yum! Chick Fil A Spicy Chicken Sandwich” or “Dang, Mom, get those tater tots away from me before I devour them and the finger that is holding the one in your hand!” But with a couple deep breaths I’ve been doing pretty dang good! I’m proud of myself 🙂 Saturday, Day 6, was my hardest day! I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve been doing a good bit of cardio or if I just didn’t eat enough Saturday morning but I was STARVING all day! ALL DAY! I went to lunch with my mom and sister at SoulShine, she was 30 minutes and I had to order some hummus while I waited! And then, it took all the will power in my entire being not to eat all the pita bread and all the hummus that came with my order. I did eat my little portion, a grilled chicken salad, and then some cucumbers from my salad dipped in the hummus! I was insatiable! When I got home, I chugged some water, and took the dogs for a long walk. I went over to my friend Chad’s for supper and visited with him and Bella. As soon as I got there I was ready to eat. Of course, we had steaks and I was ready to put them on the grill but he wanted to finish watching one of the twelve games he was flipping between at the time. So I ate some almonds and tried my best to calmly wait for him to finish his game. It was difficult and it was pretty obvious to him because he laughed and said, “Hungry huh?” I just quietly nodded with a guilty look on my face! He finally took the hint and started his grill! I gobbled my steak and brown rice and finally filled the bottomless pit that was my stomach that day! I can’t really complain though. I’ve lost a couple inches and a couple pounds and the best part is that I’m feeling great! More energy, I’m sleeping better, I’m getting my routine down. So far I’ve only needed my SPARK once a day. There was one day that I needed another one but that was just because I was staring at a computer screen from 9-7 and I couldn’t have coffee… This weekend I’ve cooked a couple of really good things. I did forget to take some pictures before the food was devoured; but, I got some before they were cooked 🙂 I made some pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and guacamole on Sunday. And tonight, I made some grilled tilapia and roasted green beans and red potatoes. I’ve never really been a huge guacamole fan, but I’ve gotten to where I can eat it with a little salt. I found some organic, blue corn tortilla chips that don’t have any sugars, but they do have carbs and calories so I’m still careful not to eat too many of them! For those of you that are interested those are Garden Of Eatin’ Organic Blue Corn Chips. They are delicious and a healthier alternative to regular chips when veggies just won’t do it! I’ve also been eating a lot of Simply Organic roasted almonds, green and purple grapes, strawberries, and apples. I bought some Brown Sugar Splenda to sweeten Sweet Potatoes, but you have to be careful with that because, while it is Splenda, the serving sizes are small! 1/2 tsp. packed. So, use it but don’t be too generous with it! I’ve also been substituting coconut oil and olive oil for butter and no one has really missed it. And if they did, they added it to it while fixing their plates! Pork Loin is among the many, many things that my mom doesn’t like to eat. That woman and her pickiness, I swear are going to be the death of me 😉 So, I made her pork chops with the same marinade on them as the pork loin. I put a lot of stuff on my pork loin, but it’s worth it! I bake mine in the oven; but, you can do it on a grill if you’d like.

Pork Tenderloin:

1 pork tenderloin,

1/2 cup Dale’s sauce,

1/2 cup Worcestershire,

1/4 cup Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing,

3 Basil leaves,

2 Sage leaves,

4 green onions,

Garlic salt, white pepper, onion powder, and red pepper to taste.

The pork loin usually comes cut in half; however, if yours isn’t, I would cut it in half. It takes FOREVER to cook if you keep it whole. Pour the dressing, Worcestershire, and Dale’s over the loin. Sprinkle the seasonings to taste. Chop the basil, sage, and green onion. Sprinkle that over the top as well. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. You can also use Herbs De Provence on this and it’s delicious! I just refuse to buy the Herbs De Provence because it’s about $10 for a jar of it and that’s just ridiculous. Although, I did find some at Ramey’s for $3.99. This is also really good with Peach preserves. I know that sounds weird but it’s really good! I can’t have any preserves though so that’s for you unhealthy people out there. 🙂 I’m sure you can get organic preserves or no sugar added preserves too if you’d like.

Roasted vegetables are a Hall family favorite. Mostly broccoli but I mix it all together to make it go further; plus, I really like carrots and corn. I added asparagus to this too because I know my brother and sister in law love it. I’m not opposed to it, but it drives me crazy breaking off the tough ends! It takes forever! So, I only do that every now and then. 🙂 Its’ really easy and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. I used Simply Organic Canned Corn, Organic Baby Carrots, and Organic Asparagus Stalks, but I used a container of chopped and cleaned fresh Broccoli from Kroger. It’s cheaper and it’s easier to use! Roasted Veggies:

1 bunch Asparagus,

1 bunch regular carrots or 1 pkg. baby carrots,

1 can corn,

1 pkg. chopped broccoli or 2 medium heads broccoli,

1/4 cup olive oil,

Garlic powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste.

Lay the carrots and asparagus on the bottom and put the corn and broccoli on top. Splash the olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle the seasonings over them. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes. Until the carrots are soft. This is also good with a little lemon juice. roasted veggies

My sweet little niece hasn’t been eating very well lately but she devoured this! Mostly the broccoli and the carrots and then some of her mom’s pork! I caught little Mr. “I’m not hungry, I don’t like that, that smells gross, can I have some candy” Jeffery digging some out after we put it up and I was a little disappointed when I noticed there was no more broccoli left.. 🙂 Bottom line, it was delicious and healthy and everyone enjoyed it without realizing it was “diet food.”

My mom, ever the picky one, had to make some rice because she didn’t want to try my mashed sweet potatoes. She said that she would never in her life eat mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, or sweet potato casserole. The only sweet potatoes she eats are sweet potato fries and baked sweet potatoes. I told her that one of these days I was going to blind fold her and feed her all the foods that she won’t eat because of what I tell her it is or because of the way it looks. Seriously, she bakes a sweet potato, opens it up, and puts pretty much everything that I put in this in it, then mashes it up and stirs it all around so that it looks exactly the same as my mashed sweet potatoes, and eats it like it’s going out of style… It’s pretty much exactly the same thing except it’s baked and served with the skin on. Hmmm…maybe I should make twice baked sweet potatoes and see if she’ll eat that!!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

6 sweet potatoes, peeled,

1 tbs. coconut oil,

1 tbs. ground cinnamon,

1 tsp. brown sugar Splenda,

Splenda to taste.

Put the sweet potatoes in a boiler and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 15 minutes. Until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water off and add the coconut oil, cinnamon, and Splenda. You can add a little Parkay Spray Butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray. And if you aren’t dieting you can add regular brown sugar and regular butter. I thought about chopping up some pecans and throwing them in too. I was just in a hurry! mashed sweet potatoes

Ms. Ellie Frank ate this up too! Even though my mean mama wouldn’t even taste a bite! URGH! I hate when someone says my food isn’t good when I know it is! Annoying! 🙂 She really liked my guacamole though… I guess I’ll have to give her a break on the mashed sweet potatoes. She and my dad both said it was the best they ever ate! They were probably just saying that but I thought it was pretty good too! The secret to good guacamole is a good avocado. There are lots of ways to tell if an avocado is ripe or not. Firmness and color are great indicators; however, I use a little trick that is much easier. Flick off the little dried up stump that is on the end of the avocado. If it’s brown, it’s too ripe; if it’s yellow, it’s not ripe enough; if it’s a pretty green color it’s just right.

Guacamole:

3 ripe avocados,

1 lime,

1/2 red onion,

4 green onions,

Salt to taste.

Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out the green. Roll the lime on the counter top, cut in half, and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Chop the onions and add to the avocado. Sprinkle in the salt and mix it all together until all the chunks are out! I ate it with the Blue Corn chips that I mentioned earlier but you can also eat it with veggies. My family has never been really big on fish. Unless it was fried of course! 🙂 I bought Tilapia filets from the meat department at Kroger. They didn’t have any packaged already so I asked for some at the counter. They were about a half inch thick. I wanted a nice sweetish, soy sauce type of marinade on them so I mixed together a sort of dressing. It was really simple to make and I already had all the stuff at home. Grilled Tilapia:

3 tilapia filets,

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil,

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar,

1 small lime,

1 small lemon,

3 tbsp. soy sauce,

1 tsp. brown sugar Splenda,

1/2 tsp. minced garlic and ground mustard, Salt, red pepper, and black pepper to taste.

Lemon Pepper, for the top of the fish.

Place the fish in a shallow dish.

tilapia

In a separate bowl, mix oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, Splenda, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and peppers. Stir it together really well and pour it over the filets. Then sprinkle with lemon pepper and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

tilapia marinade

I transferred the filets over to a foil covered cookie sheet and sat that on the grill. I allowed it to cook about 5 minutes on each side. Now it got really tender and a little hard to flip, so they fell all apart. I suggest wrapping the filets in individual tin foil pockets. It’ll be easier to cook and clean up is just unwrapping the fish and throwing away the foil! Serve with a little dish of cut up lemons and limes to squeeze over the top while you eat! Yummy!!

Okay, so I promise I know other way to cook vegetables other than roasting them but that just seems to be the theme this week! I made roasted red potatoes and green beans on the side of this tilapia and it definitely worked really good together! I bought fresh green beans from the farmer’s market. With these, you have to snap the ends off or they’ll be kinda stringy. So wash them and snap the ends off before you use them. You can do fresh frozen or organic canned if you want, but for AdvoCare purposes fresh is best! 😉

Roasted Red Potatoes & Green Beans:

7 small red potatoes,

1 pound green beans,

1/2 cup olive oil & vinegar dressing,

1 small onion,

Garlic salt and black pepper to taste.

Scrub and chop the red potatoes into small wedges. Clip the ends of the green beans. Place the potatoes in one side of a casserole dish and the green beans on the other side.

roasted potatoes and green beans

Chop the onions and sprinkle on. Pour the dressing over and season judiciously.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Check on them every 10 or 15 minutes and stir. This will help the veggies cook more evenly. The beans will still be a little crunchy but the potatoes should be fork tender! Everyone seemed to love this! Especially my mom! She said that if this was diet food, she’d eat it every day!! Judd really liked the fish and I thought the boys wouldn’t touch it! Jeffery took a bite of mine and said it was good but he just wanted chicken! 🙂 Melissa seemed to like it too so I would say it was pretty well received! 🙂

I took the puppies walking again today right before I started cooking supper. They were not a hundred percent impressed. Duchess came with us this time and I couldn’t find her leash so I just let her walk free. I got a quarter of a mile into my walk and I looked back to see where she was. The silly girl had just laid down and was waiting for me to come back to her. She was like “Ok, I’ve had enough, you have fun and I’ll catch up later.” lazy duchess lazy duchess 2

I took her back home and continued to walk before Whiskey tuckered out on me too. He didn’t lay down though… I was walking along with his leash in my hand when it suddenly started to pull back. I looked back and my sweet, silly boy had decided he was going to walk back to the house with or without me. So I turned around and took him back. It’s funny though… He started running when we got to the house… one minute he could barely walk another step and the next he had enough energy to run back home!

Whisker's in a hurry

Oh well… I guess I’m going to have to start bringing him back halfway through!! These lazy bums! 🙂 Ya’ll have a good night! Can’t wait to see what the next couple days have in store for me!!