Fitness Challenge – Week 1

I had to choose a way to document my fitness journey in the coming weeks so since I already have this kickass tool I call ma blog, I decided I would use it.  I can type faster than I can write anyway and sharing the posting for my leaders to see is as easy as copy, paste, post so if you’re wondering why you’re reading a lot about me lately, this is it!  And don’t worry, I’ll still have some great recipes to share along the way and I’m sure some stories that will make you laugh (no doubt at my own expense) so stay tuned!  The Farmer’s Wife is still here, I’ve just decided to get a serious fit on before I turn 30 in July (dun dun duuuuun).

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep and a few small changes to your lifestyle can bring about.  I say this because I’ve been happily awake for the past hour getting my morning together – eating breakfast, typing this blog, checking emails and I even sold a few things that I get to collect on this morning.  Life is good.

I’ve never been a morning person but last night I was really tired and instead of fighting through it and getting the laundry folded and put away, typing out this post sleepy, or working on a few unfinished projects I listened to my body, had my routine hot bath and went to bed instead.  I woke up this morning on my own without an alarm at 6:20.  Amazing because anyone that knows me knows I dislike mornings and do not get up early normally.

Like all things, it’s good to try something new once in a while so I decided to get up and get some breakfast (my stomach was rumbling anyway) and now I’ve really enjoyed sitting here in the peace and quiet listening to the other members of my family snore away upstairs.

I think my muscles really needed a good sleep too.  I had a hard leg workout Monday afternoon and all day yesterday I was stomping around like a bull moose because I was SO SORE.  Stairs?  Bad.  Peeing?  Bad.  Tying shoes?  Bad.  And by bad I mean good.  At least I know my muscles are working and I’m one week closer to achieving my goal.

I’m doing well with my diet too, I’m used to eating a minimum of 2000 calories per day so the quantity of food isn’t a problem for me, sometimes it’s just the prep work and trying to be creative enough to keep my palette from getting B. O. R. E. D.

The personalized plan I received includes a LOOOOOONG list of approved foods and the best part is they’re foods I already enjoy eating.  I’m allotted a certain number of macros a day of healthy fats (butter, bacon, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, avocados), carbs (veggies, fruit, grains) and proteins (MEATS) which are OF COURSE my favourite part.  I don’t restrict myself from any kind of treat I’d like to have either (dark chocolate, a glass of wine, all natural ice cream or potato chips) I’m just aware of the times and amounts I’m eating them in. It’s great!  (PS – if you’re already interested in what I’m doing it can be found on the Weight Loss Rebels site, just email Meg, m.brown@weightlossrebels.com,  and she’ll hook you up!  The next challenge starts June 16 and people are already signing up!)

Today is another workout day and my lunch will be a bowl of homemade tomato basil soup with some FULL FAT sour cream (I’ll post that recipe soon too) but for now, it’s time to get the youngest daughter up and take her to school!  I’m ready to go and have a full belly so I can already see this will go well.

Ciao for now!  Kim.

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Beef Stroganoff. Lite.

In the last few days I’ve met a number of great chickas.  We’re all partaking in the same fitness challenge through a company called Weight Loss Rebels.  WLR is run by an amazing gal named Meg with a little help from her followers-turned-ambassadors, they’re all a wealth of great information.

She’s based out of Alberta which I really like and she has a no-bullshit philosophy on life, fitness and best of all, food.  I wrote a post last week about feeling fat (it was a really down day for me) and every time I feel that way I just have to log onto the Fit Bitch Facebook page and read a few of Meg’s, or her ambassadors, posts and I realise I’m not alone.  They get me.  She’s such a sport for putting up with my 429 daily questions, I really appreciate her guidance and expertise and am pumped to be part of this program.

Back to food.  This is what I had for supper tonight.  It was delightful and fit well within my macro goals.  My only problem was I only tasted the first bite because I burnt my tongue.  Idiot.  You know it’s good when your eyes eat it and your mouth hastily hits it before your brain can even think about saying STOP, blow on it! (that’s what she said).

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Put the beef and bacon in my saute pan with the water and the beef stock and put on a lid.  I like to let it simmer for about 30 minutes on medium just to make the meat a little more tender.  Otherwise if the cow we butchered was older, it’s like chewing on leather.

After a half an hour, take the lid off and turn up the heat.  Add the yogurt and stir.  Keep on the heat another 5 minutes until it reduces and thickens up a bit.

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I ate it with half a potato with butter and sauteed brussels sprouts and butternut squash then I made my lunch for tomorrow – booyah!

Beef Stroganoff.  Lite.

3 pounds beef cubes
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp liquid beef broth
3/4 cup full fat greek yogurt

Good luck to all the other Hardcore participants, I’m so excited to see what the coming weeks bring!  Kim.

Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Stock

I’m supposed to be doing my taxes right now so I don’t have long to spend on here (shit).  I actually don’t mind taxes and numbers much so as long as I can do them uninterrupted I’m usually okay but for some reason I’m not feeling it today so I’m playing tax hooky writing about dinner – chicken pot pie.

I like chicken pot pie.  It’s the ideal leftover food meal.  The Farmer dislikes leftovers A LOT but if I kind of reinvent them I can sneak a few leftover meals in here and there.  I don’t like to waste so it’s in my nature to make the leftover meal or make him make his own food if he won’t eat it.

It’s versatile too.  Say the Farmer doesn’t like traditional chicken pie veg like peppers, mushrooms, peas and leeks (oh, wait, he doesn’t) then they’re easily subbed for onion, corn, carrots and BACON.  It doesn’t taste the same but whoever wrote the rule book on chicken pie didn’t put bacon in it so they should be fired anyway.

I wasn’t actually going to write a post on chicken pot pie, I was again feeling too lazy and didn’t take any pictures.  Nevertheless I will include the recipe below because it’s a fantastic one.  I was literally walking out my door with a chicken carcass to feed to the cats when my brain was like NOOOOOOOOOOO, STOP!

The chicken we had for supper on Monday fed us then and I stripped the remaining meat off for the pie but just because I didn’t have any meat left to make soup with doesn’t mean I can’t make stock and freeze it right?  Right.

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Yep, that’s a farm chicken carcass in the pot and everything on the plate is the skin.  I have never cooked chickens with skin this thick before, it’s unreal.  The meat is so firm and there’s so much of it.  That was a 6.5 pound chicken and it was so juicy and full of flavour.  There is no hype over farm-fresh, if you can get it, get it.

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This is me filling the pot with water.  From here I put the lid on and turned on the burner.  It’ll simmer there for a few hours until all the flavour has come out of the bones.  I’ll season it a bit and then it’ll hit the freezer until the first rainy spring day when I feel like making chowder or soup.  #resourcefulness never gets old.

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I put the chicken pie in the oven and took about 3 minutes to get this stock going, took 25 to type this out and now my pie is done!  Can’t wait to dig in.  Easter’s coming up, save some of that turkey!

Chicken Pot Pie
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, cooked
1/2 cup real bacon bits or crumbled cooked bacon
2 1/2 cups chopped chicken
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
egg white or egg for brushing on top

Saute all the veggies together with the bacon bits and add the chicken.  Sprinkle with the flour and salt and pepper then add the chicken broth and milk.  Cook until thick and put into a casserole dish.  Top with pastry and cook at 400F for 30-35 min.  If you have leftover mashed potatoes and gravy you can sub them for the stock, milk and flour mixture too, that also makes the pie thick and creamy.

Pastry topping
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cups coconut oil (or shortening if you don’t have any)
cold water

Put flour and salt into a bowl and cut in the coconut oil until the flour is in pea-sized balls.  Add cold water 1 Tbsp at a time and mix until dough forms a ball.  Roll out on floured surface and put over the chicken mixture.  Poke with a fork to let steam escape.

Enjoy!  Kim.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Bummer it’s on a Monday but if you have a super great Irish friend like we do I’m sure you were partying into the wee hours of Sunday morning too, yah!

St. Patrick’s Day was always the day I wanted to have my kids on.  I was born on Canada Day and Nana was born on Halloween so I thought it only fitting to have a child on another fun holiday such as this right?  I didn’t fail completely, they were born March 8 and March 9 so I was pretty close but not quite.  Anyway, instead of celebrating another birthday today, I just celebrate the start of spring since we’re a little over halfway through March and it’s coming, coming, coming; I saw geese yesterday which confirmed it!

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On Saturday night, someone asked what St. Patrick’s Day was all about and I realised I didn’t really know.  I don’t like not knowing stuff so I decided to find out then I figured I’d share so next time you’re having a conversation with someone about why the majority of the population drinks green beer today, you can tell them and look like a smartypants too.

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Courtesy Denver Library – http://www.denverlibrary.org

According to Wikipedia, today was the day the Irish Saint, Patrick, died and those that celebrate Lá Fhéile Pádraig (the day of the festival of Patrick) do so in His honour to commemorate the day Christianity came to Ireland.  Celebrations involve parades, festivals, wearing of anything green and something called “ceili” which is a traditional Gaelic gathering involving folk music and dancing.  Because it’s a religious holiday that falls during Lent, all Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol are lifted for the day and that’s why everyone gets to drink green beer!

Today is actually a public holiday in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Montserrat, a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean but St. Patrick’s Day is recognized in countries throughout the world.

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Courtesy Premier Life – http://www.premierlife.ca

It is tradition to wear green or shamrocks today; the colour green has been associated with Ireland since the 1640’s and green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn today since at least the 1680’s.  Saint Patrick also used the three-leaf shamrock as a way to explain the holy trinity to Irish pagans; the first story appears in print in 1726.

St. Patrick’s Day is an obligatory holy day for Roman Catholics in Ireland and is also a feast day in the Church of Ireland.  Because of this, when St. Patrick’s Day falls within the Holy Week (the last week of Lent before Easter), the festive celebrations are moved to another day to honour the avoid the observance of feasts during solemnities.  Historically, this happened in 1940 when St. Patrick’s Day was moved to April 3 and again in 2008 when it was observed March 14.  The holiday does not fall within the Holy Week again until 2160 but the secular celebration will always be held on March 17.

In the 1990’s, the Government in the Republic of Ireland decided they wanted to use St. Patrick’s Day as a catalyst to showcase Ireland and the culture they embody.  They set up a group called St. Patrick’s Festival and set out to create an annual event that would show the world what it was like to be Irish and what their country and culture were all about.

The first festival was held March 17, 1996 and was a three-day event becoming a four-day event starting by 2000 and eventually a five-day event by 2006.  In 2009, the five-day Irish festival saw nearly 1 million visitors take in the outdoor concerts, theatre performances and festivals and fireworks!

In Canada, the longest-running and biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival held is in Montreal, Quebec; the parade has been held without interruption since 1824 but St. Patrick’s Day itself has been celebrated in Montreal since at least 1759 when Irish soldiers were stationed at the Montreal Garrison.

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Courtesy Wikipedia – http://www.wikipedia.org

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated around the world for centuries but the farthest celebrations have taken place outside of earth’s atmosphere aboard the International Space Station!  Chris Hadfield, the Canadian-born astronaut well known for his quirky YouTube videos posted from space, celebrated 2013 in traditional Irish style with a green sweater and shamrock bow-tie.

Regardless if you find this information useful or not, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland says that everyone is Irish on March 17.

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Courtesy Wikipedia – http://www.wikipedia.org

From one Irish descendent to another – may the luck of the Irish be with you today and always!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Cheers, Kim.

Homemade Hamburger Helper. And “I feel fat”.

Today I felt yucky.  I have had a monster headache for most of the day, felt bloated and fat, tired (probably STILL from that bullshit time change we have to participate in), lazy, unmotivated…  Too many verbs to name here anyway.

So what do you do when you feel fat and lazy?  You cook comfort food and take one picture for your blog because you feel like “meh”.  Then you eat a Kit Kat.  And I seriously almost drove 20 minutes to get a Blizzard just now.  Actually it’s still early, I might still do that.  I could rock a cherry Blizzard right now.

So somewhat off topic but not really because it relates to my feeling fatness, why is it so hard for us to just accept our bodies the way they are?  I would love to hear your feedback on this in the comments below because I just feel like I am constantly up against it with myself, I’m my own worst enemy.

I was having a chat with my BFF today about it and she agreed.  We both LOVE the way each other looks (like I would probably trade her bodies and I think she would trade me mine too) and we’d be perfectly happy in each others’ skin.  The question I have is WHY CAN’T WE BE COMFORTABLE IN OUR OWN SKIN?!  WTF.

I’m sure it has a lot to do with the skewed image of perfection the media spews all over us daily and the airbrushing in magazines and the unrealistic standards we set for ourselves based on false hopes of bodies that look nothing like our genetic makeup has programmed for us.  Actually, I think that IS the reason so many of us are uncomfortable in our own skin.  It’s also why so many unrealistic, unhealthy diet programs that pump you full of pills and false hopes are flourishing lately.  They’re a bandaid solution for something that has to come from within along with a proper education of what it will take to make a lifestyle change, not just a temporary change in your waistline.

Eat More Food Made By Plants

Compared to even one year ago, I am getting much better with how I feel about myself.  It’s only taken me my whole life but I’m almost there.  Choosing to eat more food made by plants is one way I’m achieving this goal.  I hate reading food ingredient labels because I feel like if I have to turn over a package to read the caloric intake info, I already know it’s bad for me and I’m looking for a way to justify putting it in my body.  You know what doesn’t have caloric intake information?  Fruits and vegetables.  I can eat carrots or pea pods or cucumbers all day long and still feel satisfied.  I take one look at a those notorious “they’re only 100 calories” snack packs of cheese puffs, fruit bars, cookies and crackers and think, I’d rather eat 400 calories of veg than that anyway because it’s made BY a plant and not IN a plant.

Little indulgences so I don’t binge eat and drink are also ways I’m coping.  It’s okay to have a piece of chocolate.  It’s okay to have a drink.  It’s okay to bake a cheesecake and eat half…okay, that’s a stretch but if you can spell everything that’s in it, it’s one step in the right direction right?!

Anyway, back to comfort food.  Sometimes you just need it.  Like my BFF says, food is good for the soul.  Our souls, minds and bodies are all connected, we need indulge them every so often without thinking of the consequences the media is undoubtably going to remind us of every 17 seconds.  It’s one of the reasons I pay ZERO attention to the news and current events, there’s just way too much negative out there and I’d rather try and focus on positives.

Even as I type this I am starting to feel better, I have been given one body to live out my life with and if I don’t make the best of it, what good was it for God to give it to me anyway?  Indulge yourself every so often and do small bits to keep yourself happy; feed your soul, it will nourish your mind.

This recipe is easy to make and tastes awesome too, I got the double thumbs-up from the Farmer for making it tonight and that doesn’t happen often.  He said it tasted like KD and I guess that’s a compliment?!  It’s a recipe I completely forgot about actually, Nana used to make it for us when we were little so I’m glad I remembered it tonight.  Everything must happen for a reason, even those days you feel fat.

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All seriousness, this was all that was left after the Daughters and the Farmer ate.  Good thing I had some turkey breast in the fridge from last night too; this serving was enough to satisfy my soul anyway.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

1.5 pounds ground beef (ours are packed in bigger bags because we’re BIG EATERS, just adjust if you have 1 pound bags)
1 onion
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped fine
2 cups dry pasta
1 can tomato soup
water
3 monster spoonfuls of Cheez Whiz

Fry the ground beef with the onions and garlic clove until cooked, season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomato soup then use the can to measure three more cans of water into the pan.  Add the noodles, cover and cook on med/high for 10 minutes or until the noodles are done.  Add the Cheez Whiz and stir.  Serve your soul.  Cheers, Kim.

The Importance of Family

I love my family so much.  They are really the meat and potatoes of my life.  This week we went for supper and swimming with the Farmer’s brothers and their families and that was just peachy.  The Farmer, the Daughters and I love swimming but it was such a treat to go with his brothers, my sisters and my niece and nephew too.  I just LOVE.  THEM.  SO.  MUCH.

Other than swimming, I’ve been off the grid this week.  You see, I had this evil plan to punish the Farmer Sr. for being the kind, generous, giving and loving man that he is so I decided to switch around the laundry room and the office at their house while they were away playing in Vegas for the week.  Really now, I teed it up as a mega-suprise for my Mum (the Farmer’s Mom) because she’s been saying for at least 13 months that she’s wanted to do it but the reason she’s been saying for 13 months she wants to do it and hasn’t actually done it is because the Farmer Sr. DID NOT want to do it.  Hence, the title of this blog – The Importance of Family.  When you love your family unconditionally, they can’t disown you if you (or me in this case) decide to do something like this.  Plus, this gives him the upper hand the next time he wants something REALLY bad.  (See Dad, I was thinking of you all along!)

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They left Sunday morning and got back Thursday afternoon so I really had about 4 days to get all the work done and if you consider I have to run my own life in that time as well, it was tight but I started planning this about 5 weeks ago so, cross my fingers there were no big hiccups, I hoped it would all go over smoothly.

I have an amazing friend who happens to be a plumber and a good friend from high school who is an electrician plus the Farmer can do anything he puts his mind to (except mudding and taping, but we have another bestie that can rock that) so coordinating the job was done.  All I had to do now was the labour.  No big deal.

So I’ll start with some before pictures, this is the office/toy room when we arrived Sunday morning.

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Lots of light, a really fresh colour and right beside the garage entrance so it’s a great place to have the washing machine, especially when you live on a farm.  There’s a bathroom off this room also but right now it was doubling as craft storage.  I took care of that also.

This was the laundry room/appliance pantry.  A chest freezer, standup freezer, refrigerator, washer and dryer were all in here.

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Really relaxing warm colour, south-facing with lots of light and warmth and the perfect size for an office for one.  The room used to be squared off so it wasn’t so limiting but when the Mum renovated their ensuite they stole a little room from an unused closet in here so the washer and dryer ended up not squared off and it’s become a little tight.

Next step?  Manual labour.  I just started moving things out of here and there and everywhere.  The kitchen and dining area were full of everything and there was a deep freeze plugged in in the hallway for a bit but at 5:07pm Thursday afternoon I (with great help and support from the Farmer) had everything out back together.  Not bad considering they pulled in the yard at 5:41pm.

The plumbing was done Sunday, electrical done Monday and the only drywall that needed to be replaced was a small piece on one wall.  That was also amazing since the electrician wired up a 220V for the dryer and dedicated plugs each for the washer and refrigerator and they weren’t on the same walls.  Only one small piece of drywall came out for the plumbing and that work was done in about an hour.  These two are so professional and I would highly recommend their services to anyone.  And for anyone looking for carpentry or full renovations, please check out Ask Homes & Renos, they’re local to us and I used to work with the owner.  He’s also highly qualified and professional and I built his website so I like showing it off.  How do you like that?  I plugged myself on my own blog, win win!

Push, lift, grunt, haul, repeat.  That’s how the next few days went.  While Mum was being picked on in Brad Garrett’s comedy club and less than 24 hours before they came home, this is what the laundry room looked like.

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Panic attack!  Wednesday night was stressful for me.  That’s when the Farmer came to my rescue.  I had already moved the washer, dryer and the upright freezer but needed to get the desk into the office and the chest freezer out and he was right there to help.  I got the desk in and on a recycled rug that came out of the living room and finished up the office late Wednesday night.

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I put together one of the wicker shelving units that had some parts missing, changed out two really old, dated flourecent fixtures with a flush-mount and a brand new ceiling fan, repainted the shelf in the corner to match the new digs, stole a plant from here and there and a console table from the hallway, hung the pictures and the clock and voila! New office.  Finishing touch?  WordPlay Designs, of course.

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Thanks to the Farmer’s Brothers, the drywalling in the office was done by Wednesday as well but the mudding and taping wasn’t.  I needed that done in order to get the paint on and get the laundry machines into place so we called in a bestie who hates doing it but is amazing at it and he was amazing to help me out.

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 By 3pm I had two coats of paint on, the chest freezer was in place, the standup freezer was in place and I was cleaning and organizing the smaller things in the room.

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The refrigerator is coming and it’ll end up in the corner on the other side of the fireplace.  It’s at our house anyway so it needs a special trip (that’s another long story related to an upcoming blog post on Maytag Ice2O Refrigerators and a defective part they posssess).

Anyway, once I had everything put back together and the wordart up in the laundry room, the only thing left to do was colour on the deep freeze with dry-erase markers!

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These two are the bestest best little helpers.  I love spending my time with them and am so blessed to be able to do so.  I bought them whiteboard markers to doodle on the freezer with since it’s such a big canvas so they helped draw a picture for their grandparents before they got home.

Not a day goes by that I don’t count the blessings in my life and my family is the biggest one I have.  Without their support, love and encouragement I would not be the person I am today.  I love and cherish you all.

So, here’s to you Mum and Dad.  I truly am sorry if I overstepped a boundary with you but hope you enjoy it as much as I hoped you would.  I love you both very much.  You’re beautiful, helpful, kind, caring and the best in-laws, parents and grandparents we could ever ask for.

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All my love to you, enjoy your new spaces!  XO, Kim.