Saturday, February 26, 2011

Autumn's Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

This is one of my go-to dishes when I need something SUPER quick and easy...(you may have noticed that really, this is a theme in my cooking)!

1 package (14oz) Oscar Mayer turkey smoked sausage
2- 3 packs tri-colored bell peppers
3 medium yellow onions
1 can (29oz) tomato sauce
black pepper, to taste
olive oil cooking spray

Start by pre-heating a skillet and a large pot over low to medium heat.  While they are heating, get started chopping/slicing the onions.  No need for perfection here, I just chop into bite size pieces (you can chop all of them and then add to the pot or, like me, add them one at a time as you get them chopped).

Before you add the veggies, spray the pot liberally with the olive oil cooking spray...

Add the onions and sprinkle them with your taste.

As the onions start to cook, get to chopping the peppers; again in bite size pieces.  Of course, you'll need to remove the seeds and white membranes from the insides of the peppers.  As you get them chopped, add to the pot with the onions.  Continue cooking until the onions are soft and the peppers still have a bit of a snap to them, about 10-12 minutes, I'd guess (I didnt time it). 

Meanwhile, cut the turkey smoked sausage into coin shaped, bite size pieces.  Spray the skillet that you've pre-heated with the olive oil spray.  It should be sizzling hot!!!  Add the sausage and brown/char it on each side. You can skip this part if you want, but it really adds and extra layer of flavor to the dish that is soooo good!

Once the veggies and the sausage are done, add the sausage to the pot with the veggies and stir in the tomato sauce.  Simmer for about 10 minutes and BAM! It's done.


Till next time...

Lots of Love,


Thursday, February 24, 2011's whats for dinner

I stopped at Wal-mart on the way home tonight to pick up a few things. 

Got some good lean meats....pork cube steak, turkey ham, turkey breast cutlets, and some lean roast beef deli meat.  Excited to try the turkey ham for breakfast...I bet that will be crazy good on the grill~!

Thinking about making Shelly's (Eggface)
Philly Cheese Steak Casserole with the roast beef---
it looks SO good!

I've been cooking on my hamilton beach grill a lot lately...tonight wasnt any different.

I opened the pork cube steak, beat the crap out of a piece of it, seasoned it with seasoned salt, garlic powder, and pepper.

Slapped it on the grill for 7 minutes...

while that was cooking, I nuked an individual serving of green giant broccoli and cheese and BAM...dinner was done.

Great stats and very yummy!
  Give it a try....its simple yet yummy.  There are so many other things that could be done with pork cube steak, too.  Play with your food---try new things and have fun!

Till next time....

Lots of Love,


French-Honey Grilled Chicken Tenders

Quick, easy, good; low in calories, high in protein! My kinda meal~!

So, I bought a pack of fresh chicken tenders a few weeks ago.  One night as I was laying in bed watching tv, suddenly this idea hit me... I dont remember what inspired it, but it's definitely a keeper!

Ingredients: (one serving)
4 oz fresh chicken tenders
1tbsp sugar free imitation honey
1tbsp kraft free french style dressing

I put the chicken in a little 8oz tupper ware bowl.  Added the dressing and honey, stirred it up well.  Then, let it sit in the fridge until I got home later that night, probably about 8-10 hours.

Got home, heated the "foreman" grill (Hamilton Beach brand) for five minutes.  Then, put the chicken on and cooked it for about 7 minutes. 

The results.... it was good!  Very moist and juicy!


Hope you try it, hope you like it!

Till next time...

Lots of Love,


Scope Results

For those of you wondering... I posted previously about getting a scope done because we (my surgeon and I) thought I had an ulcer.  Allow me to tell you about that day.
My sister drove to the hospital and dropped me off.  For some reason, I thought I'd be there for a while, but it turned out I wasnt so she basically had to turn right back around to come and pick me up....well almost.  She had time to get home and shower and then she had to come back and get me. 

Any hoo---so I got thru registration and waited for them to call my name.  The nurse, Susan, came to get me and took me back to my "prep and recovery" room.  She got everything ready to go and another nurse, whose name I cant remember, came in and drew what seemed like a gabazillion tubes of blood from me (it was only 2 oz all together) for my two years labs.  I am still waiting to hear the results of those...

Then, I got wheeled to the operation room on the fancy hospital bed (that was fun, lol).  Once in there, I was hooked up to the oxygen and we waited for the doc to come in.  The nurse explained to me that they would give me meds to put me to sleep and one that would have an amnesia affect on me.  The last thing I remember is one of the nurses putting the mouth guard in.  The rest of the day was foggy, at best...lemme tell ya---that medicine works!  They tell me I spoke with the doc after my procedure....ZERO memory of that. 

So anyway...the results....I do NOT have an ulcer.  That's good and not so good.  Good that I dont have an ulcer because, well, that's just good.  Not so good because now I dont know why I have had chest pain (3x since surgery--almost 2 years out) and a burning sensation in my pouch every now and then.  I am waiting on my doc to follow up with me to see what he wants to do next.  I should probably call him, but truth be told...I dont want to and right now I dont have time to deal with it.

Here is a pic of what I was given from the procedure.  Due to the lack of memory, I am not totally sure what each view is or means, other than I dont have an ulcer....I will talk to my surgeon about this whenever I get to see him. Sorry if this is gross to look at for some of you, but for us post-ops and maybe even pre-ops it's cool to see what our "insides" look like post-op.

Weird looking, isnt it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Sorry everyone, that its been so long since I posted.  I've been so busy lately, just havent had time or brain power to blog.  Plus I went on a bit of a slippery downward slope and frankly, didnt wanna talk about it.  But, I will soon--Lots to talk about... Just wanted to stop by real quick and drop a line (or a few of em) and give a quick update. 

Till next time...
Lots of Love,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where's Waldo....I mean Autumn?

I am alive, I promise!  Aside from the quick chili post yesterday, I haven't blogged all week!  My bad!  It's been very busy getting back to reality after being off for what seemed like an eternity with the flu.  I've got lots to share.  Good, bad, and really, really, really ugly.

First things first.
As promised, I did my official weigh in on February 8th.  If you recall, I posted last week in this blog... Celebrating Successes! that I cheated and weighed early.  Although that days weigh in wasn't officially official, it is now.  LOL.  When I weighed in on the 8th at 6:45am I was just out of bed, butt naked, after my morning pee, having consumed nada since the prior evening I was....drum roll please...233lbs.  No changes in the 3 days since I cheated and weighed early, but... I am perfectly okay with that!! It's weird how even though the number on the scale may not always change, I continue to see and feel the changes happening in my body.  :-)

Intermission:  Pardon me while I get up to let my dogs out...Bandit, my 17 year old shi-tzu poodle, whom I've had since he was 3 weeks old, is growling at que to let him out!
Bandit boy

Sasha girl

I'm back....let's see how much I can get done before he starts yapping...I mean barking, letting me know he's ready to come back in...

Let's see....what's next?

I had an appointment on Wednesday with my surgeon for my 2 year check up (a couple of months early).  I scheduled with him because I've had three episodes of chest pain in the past year, the most recent was last month.  After talking with him, he scheduled me to have an endoscopy done because he thinks I might have an ulcer on my pouch.  To this day I continue to have to take an acid reducer (I talk WM brand OTC) every day.  If I miss 2-3 days or more, my pouch becomes VERY unhappy and quickly reminds me that I haven't taken the medicine.  My scope is scheduled for Tuesday morning and I am also going to get my 2 year blood work done.  The scope is a relatively easy, non-invasive procedure.  They'll give me some lala land drugs to knock me out and the doc will run a scope that has a fancy little camera on it down my throat and through my esophogus, to my stomach so he can see if there is an ulcer. It'll be over in a matter of minutes and I will be back home within a few hours.

This is a mixture of good and bad for me.  Good because at almost two years out, this will be my first scope.  Having to get scopes done can be very common for post-ops, especially when there are complications. I've been beyond blessed in this journey and have had ZERO complications!  Bad because I just dont like the idea of having to face this issue of having chest pain, but I know I need to.  Good, again, because I know I will figure out the cause of my chest pain (even if it's not an ulcer--if it's not, we'll continue to dig until we find the cause).  I am hoping it is an ulcer because compared to other possibilities, an ulcer is EASY to deal with and treat.  I will keep you all posted on this...

Intermission again---Bandit wants back in!  LOL.

Okay, back to it...

I also met with the dietician that day.  I have been working on trying to figure out how many calories I should be consuming daily to lose weight.  It turns out that for the past year, I haven't been eating enough calories and my body has been in starvation mode....which has been part of the problem that has resulted in me not losing any weight over the past year.  At first, the idea of eating more scared the pure ish outta me, but now I am SO glad to be figuring this out!  My dietician said considering the amount of exercise I do that I should have a daily goal of 1800-2000 calories, but if there are days I just can't get that much in, she said never go below 1400.  So, I am continuing to eat several small meals/snacks through out the day and most days I am getting within that 1800-2000 range. I am trying to keep my focus on protein first, getting a minimum of 100 grams a day, veggies and fruit.  Some days are a little shy, but that's okay.  This is a process!

Okay, moving on...

A bit of very, very ugly...

Deep breath...okay.

Part of this blog is meant for me to be accountable to myself.  It helps me, greatly, to take accountability for my choices by sharing them with you all, even when I screw up royally...which I did.  The day I made the chili (posted yesterday, made it Friday---see post... Autumn's ChiliI went to WM to grab the ingredients.  I found myself in a bit of a funk this past week and just felt overwhelmed and stressed with everything I've got to do.  The result of me not dealing with it the right way?  I F'd up.  Bad.  When I was shopping for the ingredients for the chili I wanted to splurge a little bit and have some fritos scoops with it.  I KNEW I shouldn't have bought them.  I tried to convince myself that I would just eat one serving size and not lose control with them.  I. was. wrong.  I started eating them as soon as I got in my truck (after I inhaled the 3 muskateers candy bar that I also "splurged" on).  I munched on them all day.  Two chips here, three chips there.  Before I knew it, the whole bag was gone.  Empty.  I ate every single one of them.  FAIL.  1760 calories and an ungodly amount of fat.  So not worth it. 

I felt horrible.  I texted a friend of mine and she helped me to not allow that to send me into a downward spiral (thanks Sarah!).  Why did I do that?  Why did I buy those chips knowing I shouldn't have?  Why did I eat the entire bag in one day?  I dont know.  But...I refuse to let that set me back.  I choose to learn from that mistake and not do it again.  This journey is hard, but every day I must remind myself to take it...

Moving something fun and amazingly awesome, which also helped erase some of the guilt of eating the chips because I burned off all of the calories, plus some!

Yesterday, I participated in a 2 hour Zumba event for heart health.  The "Party Hearty" event was incredible!  I had so much fun, met lots of amazing women, and got in one of the best workouts I've had in a long time!!   Let me tell you, even though it was a blast, when I got home....I felt it~!  I was zonked out.  I realized that I have a lot to learn about Zumba before I am ready to start teaching my own classes.  I am still getting my certification on March 18th, but I definatley need to enhance my knowledge and skill before I start instructing classes!  I know I will be able to and now I have met so many awesome women who have amazing talent and I can't wait to learn from all of them!  I also can't wait for the next Zumba event!!!  We've got one coming up on the 26th and another on March 7th!!! 
That's me...that giantly tall chick in the red, between the two ladies in pink.
Arms in the air, doin my Zumba thang-thang!  Loved that event!!!

Alright...time to wrap it up.

I will quickly share what I've been eating on for the past hour and a dinner.

Marinated chicken tenders, cottage cheese, and fresh strawberries!  Yum!

All right, ya'll...I think that's it for now.

Till next time...

Lots of Love,


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Autumn's chili

I have to laugh at myself b/c I remember how I used to think that making chili was so complicated,  lol.  It's really one of the easiest and quickest dishes to make!  Most of us have our own's mine.

2 lbs 93/7 lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cans chili ready tomatoes (I used WM Great Value brand)
2 cans ranch style beans (that's the brand---black and yellow can--see pic)
2 cans chili beans (I used WM Great Value brand)
1 can (just 60z) tomato paste
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup chili powder.
S&P to taste
non-stick cooking spray

Heat pan over medium heat.  Chop onion.  Spray pan. Add onions and sprinkle with S&P.  Saute onions until soft.

Add meat.  Break up and cook until well browned. 

When meat is 3/4 way done, add half of chili powder and cumin. Stir it into the meat really well and cook until meat is fully cooked.  Add remaining chili powder and cumin and cook for about five more minutes.

I know this may seem like a crap-ton of seasoning, but trust me--it works and it's good!

When the meat is fully cooked with all seasonings, add the tomato paste and stir it into the meat well.  This will create a very thick mixture...I like thck and meaty chili...  Allow it to cook in for about 3-5 minutes, stirring all along.

Then, add the chili tomatoes and the beans and stir it all together really well.  Bring to a slight boil over medium heat.  Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer at least 30-45 minutes.


Now, clearly this is a jy-nourmous pot of chili.  I make this huge batch and I do this...

Divide it into one cup containers and freeze them!  That way, all I have to do is pull one out and defrost it/nuke it for a quick protein packed lunch or dinner! 

Using the exact ingredients I used, each cup sized portion yields:

Calories: 243
Fat: 6g
Carb: 26g
Fiber: 8g
Sugar: 6g
Protein: 21g

WIN!!!!  :-)

Till next time...

Lots of Love,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Autumn's Chocolate Peanut-Buttery protein drink

Before this drink, I was well under calorie goal for the day, dag-nabit.  After this drink, I'm still under the goal, but at least it got me over 1000 calories for the day.

8 oz milk
1 scoop Body Fortress Chocolate Peanut Butter whey
1 packet diet swiss miss hot cocoa mix
1 tbsp SF butterscotch pudding powder
1 tbsp SF peanut butter syrup
1 tbsp SF butterscotch syrup
1 tbsp peanut flour
5 packets of calorie free sweetener (I like sweet)

Put milk in blender, then syrups, followed by remaining dry ingredients. Blend for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into a mug.  Heat for 30 seconds. Stir.  Heat for 30 more seconds. Stir.  Top with whippage and a few chocolate sprinkles.  Enjoy.


Hope you try it, hope you like it!

Till next time...

Lots of Love,


Celebrating successes!!!!

So, how was your Saturday?  Mine?  Mine was a little something like this...

Woke up early for Zumba!  Only to find like a gazillion more inches of snow on the ground.

Ugh, it Spring yet?  I am SO ready for it.  Anyway, I made my way through the snow and made it to the gym.  Today was my first day back after being sick with the flu since last Thursday.  Let me tell you---if you've never had the flu, try not to get it!  It is horrible.  The last 10 days have been THEE longest and most miserable days of my life.  I'm glad to be back!  The workout was incredible!  It felt so good to move my body again and sweat!!  It's hard to believe that me, a formerly morbidly obese woman, gets a high from working out and sweating!  I love it! 
Cant get the pic to be any bigger w/o being blurry, but thats Gena B doing her thang!
I was right there on that same stage with her!  Love it!  She's awesome!!

Gena B-the most amazing Zumba instructor EVER had me and another girl (who is also training to become a certified instructor) get on stage with her again today.  I love that feeling.  Today, as I was shaking my booty in front of all the ladies, I couldn't keep the smile off my face. I love that feeling and I was totally having a private moment to myself.  As I was up there it dawned on me how powerful it is for ME to be up there on that stage doing Zumba.  Two years ago or prior to that there is no way on God's green earth that I would've even been at a gym, let alone on the stage in front of a room of 50+ women shaking my booty off.  Sometimes we can be our worst enemy, but in that moment I felt so very proud of myself!!!  I still have work to do.  I am always a work in progress, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc, but I am very happy with my progress and I am starting to find and understand that feeling of being proud of myself.  Instead of beating myself up when I look in the mirror and see fat, I am going to start putting focus on celebrating my successes and being proud that I have worked very hard over the last two years and I have lost 179 lbs and counting!!!!  As easy as it is for all of us to be our own worst enemy, lets try to stop doing that as much (I say "as much" because I know it is impossible to stop being our own worst enemy completely) and lets start being proud of ourselves and happy with our progress!  Celebrate with me!  Celebrate your successes! The biggest ones and the smallest ones!  Be happy and be proud of yourself!  You deserve it!!

Moving on...

So, after Zumba I made a quick run to Aldi and got a few things.  Scored some really good fresh strawberries and blueberries; a huge cantaloupe; lots of water; and a few other things. 
The strawberries are GOOD, ya'll.

Then, came home and attempted to do some of my school work.  FAIL.  I just cant seem to focus to get any of it done.  I have this huge learning plan that is due next Friday and I haven't even started it.  Probly gonna regret that this coming week... Eh, it happens, right?  For some reason my heart and my focus just isn't on school right now.  Don't get me wrong, I am glad to be getting my Master's degree.  I know when it is all said and done in May of 2012 I will be happy I did it.  I just wish I could click my heels together and make it be May of 2012 RIGHT NOW!!! 

I would much rather focus on myself--my mental, emotional, and physical health than to focus on school. 
At least, I'd like it to be...

Moving on, again...

I am happy to report that I cheated again...LOL.  I cheated and weighed myself yesterday morning.  I know I committed to only weighing once a month, but I can feel and see the changes in my body happening (finally, after a one year plateau) and I just wanted to see what the scale would tell me. I told myself I wouldn't beat myself up about it and technically this one doesn't count; only the official weigh in on the 8th of each month will "count". Well, the scale didn't disappoint!  I was one happy chick and totally did a happy dance in my bathroom after I saw the number!!!  I am back down to my lowest weight of 233lbs!!!  I know to some people who might read this, that may seem like a lot...but for someone who used to weigh over 400lbs, that is excellent!  Last time I weighed 233 was in August 2010 and if you recall from my previous posts, September, October, November, and most of December proved to be very challenging months for me and I gained 17.5 lbs.  So glad to be out of that rut and back on the losers bench! :-)  Even without working out (well, unless you count jumping around a few times on my mini trampoline that I scored for $29 bucks at Wal-mart) at all over the past nine days, I managed to lose weight.

That thing sure is fun to jump around and swing my hips on!!!
Oh, and that's my Sasha girl in her cage stayin all warm n'cozy!  She says hi~!
Bandit boy didnt make the pic, but he's in there too and growling at me as I type this...

I have been counting calories using (an AWESOME tool to use) and I've been focusing on eating more calories in more frequent "meals" throughout the day.  I was scared at the thought of it, but um....ya, it's totally working!  I try to eat every 2 to 4 hours, small meals or snacks.  I don't always get it done, but most of the time I do.  At least I have been able to this past week since I've been home.  Doing that is keeping my metabolism going and is keeping me burning calories and has helped me lose a little over 3 lbs in just a few days!  I'm a little nervous to get back to work, school, and internship this coming week because it's going to make it challenging to eat that often, but I am certainly going to try.  For my next small, short-term goal, I am looking forward to getting into the 220's!!  One small step at a time to get to my ultimate goal of losing another 50-60lbs and being a woman whose weight starts with a ONE....for the rest of my life!!! :-)

Moving on...

I have a lot of recipes that I want to share with you all.  Please be patient with me as I try to eat some of the things I already have before I go making more big meals!  I am single with no kids so sometimes, it takes a while for me to work through the food I have on hand.  Lately, I've been trying to eat the odds and ends things that I have in my fridge and freezer before I go adding to them!!  I do think that very soon I will be making a big ole pot of my yummy chili~! 

Here's what my eats so far today have consisted of:
9:30am-Breakfast: 2eggs on whole grain English muffin with mustard
1:15 (had large time gap between eats because of being out and about) Lunch: turkey tenderloin wrapped in bacon, side salad with ff french, pickle spear, one ounce blueberries, 4 strawberries.

Those turkey tenderloins are SO good grilled on the Hamilton Beach Grill~!

3:15- (craving pickles) 3 pickle spears and two caramel corn rice cakes (weird combo, I know)
7:00- Trader Joe's grilled chicken burger on whole grain bread with ff mayo, green beans
As I was taking the pictures and working on this blog, I decided to have a few more strawberries, around 8:45 and a string cheese at 9:10.
Around 10 I may have another snack--maybe some oatmeal flavored with sugar free syrup (really hits the sweet tooth)
Before bed, around 11 or 11:30, I may try to have a protein shake.  I haven't had one for a while.  I bought the new Body Fortress Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor.
Its good, maybe I'll do something with that! 

So far today, my calorie count is under 1000 (only 937) and I have been trying to get in between 1500-2000 calories a day.  I need to eat some more, but not sure if I will be able to get to that level today.  It's kinda crazy how some days its really easy to get the numbers in and some days its not.  The past two days were really easy because I was having "bottomless pit" days... egh, I digress...!

Alright ya'll.  I think that's enough rambling for now.  Remember, take care of yourself, celebrate your successes, even the littlest ones, and take it...
and eventually, you WILL reach your goals! 

Till next time...

Lots of Love,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter weather, flu, pizza, & chicken....It's been an interesting day!

I made my way out wasn't easy.  Here in Indy we've just had one of the worst winter storms ever.  Ice and snow are every where, but mostly ICE...and it is effin COLD.  My driveway and the side streets are solid sheets of thick ice.  It ain't perty... I hadn't left the house since Tuesday morning and I spent about an hour chiseling the ice off my truck.  It was nuts.  I finally got thru it all and headed out.  I had to take my sister to work which is the only reason I left.  I'm recovering from the flu and learning very quickly that I can't push myself...cuz I will LOSE.  While I was out, I decided to run to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things and to get my eyebrows threaded (cuz lawdy did they need it).  After that stop, I made a pit stop at the dollar store for dog food. Then, came back home, EXHAUSTED.  It was about 4:15 and I hadn't eaten since about 11:00, so I was hungry and needed to eat.

For whatever reason, since I've been sick I have had some weird cravings.  I say weird, not because the food is weird, but because the things I've been craving aren't normally things that I crave, ever.  The list includes french toast, sunny side up "fried" eggs (especially the eggs), tuna, and pizza.  Like I said, weird; but I have eaten a crap load of eggs and french toast (WLS friendly version, of course) this week, a few cans of tuna, and a couple doses of pizza. 

Anyway, moving on...when I got home I was super tired and pretty hungry (did I already say that?). I wanted something quick and was again craving pizza.  I also thought some grilled chicken sounded good and ta-da....this lunch was created!  Super quick, super yummy, & packed with protein!

Most of us have our own versions of mini-pizzas, nothing really new or fancy about this one...Mini Cheese Pizza:
1- Healthy Life Light Multi Grain English Muffin
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  While it's heating, place the English muffin (split in two) on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  This will help get it crispy.  Once the oven in done pre-heating; take the English muffin out, divide the sauce and spread evenly on each half.  Then, divide cheese and sprinkle even amounts on each half.  Put back in the oven and bake for 7 minutes!  Yuuuum! 

Yeah, I know, I pizza sheet is a bit um, used.  I need to get a new one...

While all that pizza action was taking place, I also grilled up that chicken breast on my Hamilton Beach grille.  Seasoned with S, P, and GP...grilled 8 minutes and wha-la!  Juicy, moist, and tasty chicken.

I followed the #1 rule and ate my protein first which rendered me unable to eat the second pizza, o' happens.

Well, I think that sums it up. I'm gonna get some rest now...

Till next time...

Lots of love,