Pan Fried Pork & Second Dinners

Two weeks and two days after my surgery, and I finally cooked a meal! The first 5 days post surgery were a disaster that left me eating nothing. The following 3 days were bad, but I managed to eat some yogurt and cashews. I have increasingly been getting my appetite, as well as my excitement for food! Food is nice once it isn’t making you ill. The week from me being okay enough to eat until tonight was full of stopping by my mom’s house for dinner, eating frozen meals, and eggs (I am completely infatuated with eggs & it’s a little weird).

Today my mom, two sisters, Brandon and I went to see the venue to finalize some details and visualize decor. On the way back we stopped and got Chipotle. I was really nervous I’d get sick, but I am sitting fine! Knock on wood. Like I said, my appetite is back, so two hours later I was starving again. I had some pork in the fridge that sound fantastic. And the rest is history!

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I never ate pork until I moved in with Brandon’s family. Now I’m a pork fanatic. His mom taught me how to cook it the right way (she taught me how to cook a lot, actually!). Since I didn’t want to break out the grill, I put some oil in the pan and let it heat up. While it was heating, I seasoned both sides of the pork with a lot of salt and pepper, as well as paprika and garlic powder. I cooked the pork on both sides for 3-5 minutes.

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I also made green beans with bacon in them. We have macaroni salad from a few day old craving, so I used that as well. Voila! Quickie second dinner. Second dinner is a weird thing in my life. Brandon and I wake up between 10:45-1:00 every day since he works second shift and we don’t go to bed until 3-4 am. We skip over breakfast, and usually eat whatever within a half hour of waking up. Brandon will have a snack before work. Sometimes I eat dinner at my mom’s. If I am home, I just snack a bit until 8 or 9 when I cook dinner. When Brandon gets home at 1 in the morning, I eat some leftovers or just snack a little more. Our eating schedules are so incredibly messed up. I don’t know what is breakfast, dinner- whatever! I just go with it.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the wedding is 43 days away!

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My Bridal Shower!

Brandon and I get married in 48 days! Can you believe it?!?! The engagement was going by so slow and we were so eager to just have a month left, and now that there is a month left, we are in a frenzy to get everything done! Weddings on a budget are stressful, crazy, and emotional. I put all those feelings aside for a day… okay, I put them aside for like, 4 hours, for my bridal shower!

The event was hosted by my Aunt Vicki at her lovely home. There weren’t many people there, less than 20. It was just the ladies from his family and mine. Okay, my side of the family includes my Arby’s family as well. Brit, Leslie, and Olivia are part of that “we may not be blood related but you’re family” situation. And I actually call Brit my adopted sister because of how much time she is with my mom and Sophie, and just overall how big of a part of my family she is. Anyhow. It was just family. Perks of having no friends, I suppose!

I was extremely nervous just because I always feel like I have to prove something to people, and furthermore, that I have to make sure every single person is entertained and satisfied with their time. Brandon’s family drove kind of a far way, so I especially wanted to make sure they had a great time. And I’m pretty sure everyone did! We played a few games, did gifts, and ate some delicious food. My aunts are great cooks. I’m blaming them for me being so chunky!

Overall it was a great day, and once it was all over, I sat there and thought to myself, “Okay. That was it. Now there is nothing standing between me and this wedding. No showers. No dress shopping. It’s just me and a few weeks.” Did I mention there are 48 days left? Yeah, I did? Okay- because that’s coming up fast!

In other news, recovery from surgery is bumpy, but I’m doing okay. I’ve got my two week visit on Thursday!
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my dad is dead (happy fathers day)

My dad passed away a few days before my 15th birthday and a few days before his 40th. I tell people I don’t remember anything about the night he passed away, but I remember it all. I just don’t like to talk about it. Every time I think about August 19, 2008 I get a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes. I remember it all. The days following are a haze, and I don’t remember the funeral, but I remember my mother crying. I remember her holding me and my sister. And I remember her stuttering through her sobs that daddy was dead.

My dad hated getting his picture taken. We only have a few dozen pictures of him, if that. I took almost all of the pictures from my parents wedding day from my mom’s basement, stashing them in my photo albums. Other than that, I have his college yearbook which holds a small picture of him, a sports picture from when he was younger, and two pictures from his adulthood. I do not have a single picture of my father and I together. Not a single one.

 

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This upsets me, obviously. I sometimes forget what he looks like. I will remember the outline of his face, but not the details. I remember his clothes, but not him. And I have long but forgotten the sound of his voice and his laugh. But that wasn’t my dad- getting his picture taken. He was so shy and reserved, hated to be seen smiling in public. He was not the picture guy. I think that’s the reason I try to get a picture of everything. I try to take as many pictures of Brandon, us, and our families because someday somebody will need them. Brandon’s family is big on video- they have tapes and tapes of family get togethers. I wish we had just one tape of my dad. I wish I had just one picture of him that wasn’t blurry, old, or tattered.

When my dad was alive, I didn’t appreciate him. I didn’t love him like I should have. I remember one time he told me he loved me over the phone when I was on vacation with a friend, and it was the strangest thing to me. Not that my dad didn’t love me. We just weren’t those people. I wish that I would have told him I loved him more. I wish I wasn’t such a moody teenager blasting Avenged Sevenfold and exaggerating my hardships (I didn’t have any, I was just making them up). I would give anything to hear him talk to me again, to tell me he loves me. Those awkward car rides to school in the morning where he listened to Dave and Jimmy in the morning (which is now my favorite talk show, by the way) could have been a little less awkward. Those nights we both enjoyed sitting and watching the History channel, we could have talked. Some nights we did. He promised me he’d take me to Gettsyburg after I graduated high school. We never got that far.

My dad didn’t see me graduate. He didn’t teach me how to drive stick shift like he said he would. He didn’t get to meet the love of my life, and he won’t get to meet our kids. He won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. He didn’t get to see my brother grow up into an annoying teenager, or my sister become a beautiful and insanely smart girl. He missed some of the happiest moments in my life. This breaks my heart. It truly does. And though he was there in spirit, as everyone likes to say, without a doubt there has always been something missing since the day he passed away.

I have only been to his grave once in the 6 years he has been gone. I didn’t get out of the car during the funeral. It wasn’t until a few months ago with the support of Brandon that I visited his grave. It was weird and surreal. You see his name, you known he is buried here, but you don’t accept it. He wasn’t there for me. My dad doesn’t rest in the ground at a cold and lonely cemetery. He rests in our memories. Those memories are beginning to fade, and it scares me so much.

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Appreciate your family. Appreciate your mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. I tried to make my life something it wasn’t when I was younger. I tried to make my family dysfunctional. Now I would give anything to have my dad back. You don’t know when your family is going to be gone. One day my dad was a happy and healthy 39 year old, and the next he was dead. All I can say is to value what you have, appreciate what you have, and give unconditional love.

Lemon Chicken, Thyme, and Self-Love

This past week has been so stressful for me for a plethora of reasons, and it is only Wednesday. Between a flub with my job, anxiety with my surgery (which is tomorrow!), Brandon starting back at the factory, and general worries about money and our future- I have not had time to appreciate my life. I often let myself get so wrapped up in the negatives that I forget the positives. I have been trying to tell myself at least 5 things that I love about myself and 5 things I appreciate about my life (I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but believe me, for me it is) every day.

I love that I am compassionate.
I love that I have a belly full of stretch marks.
I love that my eyebrows naturally arch the way I like.
I love the fact that I know a thing or two about cooking.
I love that I am trying to love myself.

I appreciate my support team- I now have two very loving and very large families that are always there for me.
I appreciate my home- We had such incredible luck landing a nice house instead of getting an apartment.
I appreciate my mother- She is part of my support team, but she is so much more to me.
I appreciate my fiancé- He gives me the strength to get out of bed. He gives me encouragement to be a better person. For that, I am grateful.
I appreciate myself- Sort of. I appreciate the effort I am trying to make to love myself and love my life without sweating the small stuff.

And with that, here is today’s recipe. This recipe is LIFE CHANGING. It really is. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but this recipe is delicious and so incredibly easy to make. Not to mention it is great for you. I got this recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny. She has so many amazing recipes I can’t wait to try out. Even though she doesn’t post anymore, her blog will keep me busy for a while!

LEMON CHICKEN & THYME

You’ll need:
• 3-4 chicken breasts
• Juice of two lemons
• Zest of one lemon
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
• ½ tsp. sea salt
• 1 tsp. pepper

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To do:
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
• Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper: set aside.
• Place the chicken breasts I a baking dish and pour mixture over top, kaing sure to completely coat them.
• Bake for about 40 minutes, depending on how big the chicken is.
• Enjoy!

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Nutritional information:
• Serving size: 1 chicken breast
• Calories: 150 per serving
• Fat: 4 grams
• Carbs: 2.4 grams
• Fiber. 0.08 grams
• Protein: 25 grams

I altered this recipe just a bit. I have had a terrible experience with mincing garlic, so I just used garlic powder. Not the best substitution, but it worked. And I put my lemon and thyme in the pan with the chicken so it could hopefully soak up some of that flavor. That’s about it! See? Quick and easy recipe. Oh, and if you’re worried about the price of this meal like I was, thyme is only 99 cents and lemons are about a dollar each! I buy my chicken in 3 pound bags for the week since I make a lot of chicken recipes, and it’s just under 7 dollars at Walmart. A great and cheap meal. Paired with some veggies and maybe some rolls, it’d be hearty enough for just about anyone.

 

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After my surgery I am not allowed to lift a lot, but hopefully I will have strength to cook! The first few days I know I won’t want to do anything, but I’m not sure how long I can eat frozen meals for. Okay, so Brandon isn’t THAT bad of a cook. He is my dedicated grill master, and actually makes dinner sometimes. He just has no idea how to follow instructions! One time he asked me how to make something from a box with instructions on the back of it. Such a goof.

Also, does anyone else have an issue with their pictures not uploading? They uploaded fine when I first started the blog, but now I have to save my post as a draft and then go edit the draft to add pictures.

Until next time!

 

Zesty Shrimp

Shrimp freaks me out. I had a taste of breaded shrimp years ago, and admittedly, I forget what it tasted like.I just know that the texture and appearance freak me out. A lot. Brandon loves shrimp. He’ll eat an entire bag himself (and has before). For his sake, I decided to try it. I must love him because let me tell you, dinner tonight was a trip… and not a very good one. I found a recipe for zesty shrimp and quinoa, but we aren’t ready to jump on the quinoa bandwagon yet, so we substituted brown rice instead. Here’s the recipe:

Zesty Shrimp and Quinoa

You’ll need: • 1 bag of shrimp • 1 cup quinoa • 1 onion • ½ teaspoon pepper • 1 clove garlic, minced • ½ cup soy sauce • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar • 2-3 dashes of hot sauce

Directions: • In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, garlic and hot sauce. Stir and set aside. • Start cooking your quinoa. • While quinoa is cooking, begin cooking shrimp: heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and onion to pan. • When the shrimp turns pink, add the sauce to the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently. • When the shrimp is cooked, add quinoa to pan and stir until well combined.

I modified the recipe, as I said. I used brown rice, and I used a little bit of butter instead of olive oil because I don’t have any. I also put crushed red pepper and onion powder in the melted butter for more flavor. I also didn’t combine the rice at the end and just served the shrimp over it. Here is my finished product-

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It looks good, but as anyone who has ever cooked- or eaten- food before knows, what looks good may not always be good, and what looks gross may be delicious. First off, this was not zesty at all. I added at least a fourth of a cup of frank’s red hot and still couldn’t taste it. There was way too much soy sauce for both of our preferences. I was instantly disappointed by the lack of spice and the over abundance of soy sauce, when I did not use as much soy sauce as the recipe recommended and used more hot sauce.

I tried a piece of shrimp and was so turned off by the texture that I wanted to gag, but instead I shoveled a big helping of rice into my mouth. I did this for about 3 or 4 pieces before I tapped out. I gave Brandon the rest of my shrimp and just ate rice for dinner. Even now, a while later, I’m still totally freaked out by the fact that there is shrimp in my body. I think of it touching my lips and shudder. It’s safe to say I’m never trying shrimp again!

That is one of the best (and worst) parts of food and cooking, in my opinion, is trying out new things. By saying that, I know I shouldn’t swear of shrimp forever. There are so many recipes and options out there for shrimp that I’m sure maybe I’d like it, but it just isn’t my thing. At least I was adventurous, even if it was only in my kitchen.

Make sure you follow me on Instagram to keep up with my fascinating (huge eye roll here) life!

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“Skinny” Fajitas

I am not shy about my weight. I love my body. All 285 pounds. I’m extremely into the body positive movement. With that said, when I found out I have a gallbladder full of gigantic stones, I knew I had to change my eating habits. Not because I want to be thin. Not because I ever want to fit into anything but a size 2x or 3x. But because my health is important to me, and I want to have a long future with my family. Brandon and I talked about eating healthier for a few days. I had already cut soda out of my daily routine, and basically cut out fast food. He, on the other hand, loves mountain dew and french fries. But he, too, agreed that our health is important to our future and even our well-being now. So he let me do a “healthy” grocery shop. Granted, I still bought us frozen pizza (nobody wants to cook a meal at midnight when we get off work), I have a week full of meals that are good for us. So watch out for some good posts!

We had turkey burgers for the first time this week, which was a great experience. We basically made the decision after the first bite to never get ground beef again and stick with turkey. Both of us were very pleasantly surprised. We are both terribly picky eaters. But golly- they were good. I spent a good hour or two planning meals that both of us would eat. The first one I wanted to try out were “Skinny” Fajitas.

 

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I didn’t really follow the recipe because fajitas aren’t that hard. I just wanted a basis of the calorie, protein, carb, etc. count of the meal. So we just basically went with the flow. Here’s how I did it:

Skinny Fajitas

What you’ll need:
• 2 chicken breasts
• 1 red pepper
• 1 green pepper
• 1 lemon, cut in half
• 1 medium onion, diced
• Chili pepper
• Paprika
• Onion powder
• Garlic powder
• Low carb tortillas
• Sour cream (optional)
• Cheese (optional)

How you do it:
• Boil the chicken
• While the chicken is boiling, cut up your veggies and mix them together. Slice half of the lemon to put in the pan later on.
• When the chicken is cooked, dice it or cut it in strips, whichever you prefer.
• Place the chicken in a skillet with a little bit of butter, along with the spices.
• Immediately add the mix of peppers, lemon, and onion & mix it in.
• Cover the pan and let everything simmer together on medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Remove the lemons that are in the pan and let the mixture simmer another 5 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
• Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the mix before serving.

 

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Brandon added spices as everything cooked together because he’s crazy for spices and kept saying, “We should have gotten fajita spices, this isn’t going to be spicy enough!” He’s so stinkin’ cute, I can’t stand it. I told him that stuff is bad for you and to just do what I told him to. Ha! That’s how it should be ;P

Without the sour cream and cheese, these bad boys are relatively good for you. A serving size of 2 fajitas totals in at about 299 calories. Other stats are 10.5 g of fat, 29 g protein, 27 g carbs, 15 g fiber, 420 mg sodium, and 7.5 mg cholesterol.

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I served this meal with cornbread. Always a staple in our household! Must be the southern in our blood. It’s such a hearty meal. Our main concern with this “healthy eating”, and I’m putting it in quotation marks because I don’t like to think of it as a diet or really a lifestyle change, just a minor alteration to our food- something we enjoy quite a lot- is that we wouldn’t get full. We both are big people with big appetites. Moderation is fine and dandy, but we like to feel full. With this meal, we definitely felt it!

So far, I’ve been doing good with altering my diet. We both don’t want to change our entire lives for something as trivial as food, but we understand a little change is definitely needed so we are happy and healthy and live to be 150. We love eating out, and today we tried out Charley’s, which serves philly steaks and whatnot. We both got chicken meals, and mine clocked in at only 400 calories, high in protein, low in carbs. I know people deprive themselves of eating out, but that’s not something either of us want to do. Part of our relationship and who we both are individually is so on the go, being out and doing things, and we are going to try to keep it that way as long as possible.

I get my gallbladder out in a week- AH! It’s the first surgery I’ve ever had, and honestly I’m more worried about the catheter and being able to keep my stones. Also dying. I’m worried about dying. But that’s totally uncalled for since it’s just a routine procedure. I’m sure I’ll be more nervous as the days tick by.

Until next time, internet!