Veggies, Veggies, and More Veggies!

It’s no secret that I am a veggie fan!

I sometimes choose them as my main and only entree, because they are filling, nutrient filled, and DELICIOUS!

I thought to myself, as I roasted a pan of baby squash and a pan of brussels sprouts yesterday, “I should do a post with all my veggie recipes!” Then I realized, “Oh, too bad it’s not an actual measured recipe!”

I’m that girl who just tosses things into the pan with olive oil-I eyeball it! So, I compiled a list of links to some amazing veggie recipes from my friends at Greatist.com, BuzzFeed Food, and others….so you can do it the “right” way.

29 Ways to Eat Vegetables That Are Delicious

Brown Bag Salad Recipes

SkinnyTaste Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan

9 Mouth-Watering Spaghetti Squash Recipes

51 Easy and Healthy Veggie Sides

If you’re interested in what seasonings I do use for dishes like these:

10960733_10204481038520008_1116741649_oI source most of these things from Costco and Trader Joes, FYI.

Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning

Lawrys Garlic Salt

Dorot Frozen Crushed Garlic

Dorot Frozen Basil

Red Pepper Flakes

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Your favorite balsamic vinegar (toss roasted brussels in it after they’re done, or boil it down to a beautiful reduction to glaze them with-also makes a pretty presentation for company)!

It’s that easy! I hope this gave you some ideas to incorporate more veggies (and healthy deliciousness) into your meals! If you have your own favorite recipes and links, send them my way at SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com, or leave them in the comments! Can’t wait to see what you try!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

An Award? For Me? :)

Gooood afternoon, everyone!

I wanted to just thank my friend over at Artsy Architette for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger award.

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I believe she put it flawlessly:

“These blogosphere community awards are always nice to give and receive, to know your fellow bloggers enjoy what you are putting out there.”

The Beauty Blogger Award has the following rules:

1. Link back the person who nominated you.

2. Post the award on your page.

3. Tell seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate seven bloggers and let them know they have been nominated.

As I have done number one and number two, it’s on to number three.

Seven facts about me:

1. I am (still) obsessed with the LC by Lauren Conrad collection at Kohl’s, and I am anxiously awaiting a good sale and coupon combo so I can buy the new white skinnies with floral dsigns up the sides!

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2. I just cleaned out all of my closet space, as well as my entire vanity and the 2 giant drawer organizers full of beauty/hair products I own. I have a serious shopping itch, but I am trying to wait until I find out about my skin-removal surgery before I go nuts.

3. I wear a size 11 shoe, complain about how hard it is to find size 11 shoes, and yet….I own about 50 pairs of size 11 shoes. Half(if not more) of those are still in the boxes, and haven’t been worn but maybe once. Shame, shame!

4. I absolutely hate drivers who don’t use their blinker!!!! HATE them with a passion! (I second this. How am I supposed to know you want to get over in front of me within a HAIR of my bumper, if you don’t give me some sort of sign…like ya, know…your freakin’ blinker!)

5. I use my horn in my car…..a LOT. Everywhere….parking lot, freeway, intersection….I don’t discriminate!

6. I have a lot of TV shows I really enjoy watching, but don’t have cable. I rarely have time to catch up with them on my Hulu Plus either….so when I do, I’m up until 2 am catching up on Glee, Grey’s, Whitney, New Girl, etc.

7. My dream job is to own my own Event Planning business. I would love to be responsible for coordinating fabulous (not to mention, FIERCE-looking) events. Then, I’d be able to wear all those shoes!

My seven nominations:

1. Fit Girl Lifestyle

2. Muffins and Mocha

3. 2 Fat Nerds

4. My Last Fat Year

5. On the Go Fitness

6.Fat Girl to Fit Girl

7. Trying Not to Be Fat

So, that is that. Definitely check these blogs out if you get a chance. If health, fitness, or even just fun reading are up your alley, I can promise you won’t be disappointed. These bloggers are truly talented, and I always look forward to post notifications!

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back later with some rants and updates….after my dentist appointment.

Ugh. Why can’t teeth be self-cleaning, like lady parts? I dread the dentist!

This makes me feel better! 🙂

A good message for everyone!

A good message for everyone!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

You Want Some Water with That? (Or, the Latest Recipes in my Repertoire).

Why, hello all! I was originally going to do the latest installment of the 30-Day Challenge today, but I’m sore and lazy, so I will post the recipes as promised, and you will most likely see my half naked body in the next day or two. 🙂 I have been drinking water like my life depends on it (wait…..) as of late, and trying to cut out all juice and other sugary beverages, hence this post’s title. It seems to be going pretty well! I carry hard cups with me everywhere, and I drink at least 32 oz at bootcamp, and at the gym. At this rate, I should be see-through any day now!

….on to the good stuff!!

To start, some of you may have noticed I really like pesto. I recently decided to make my own pesto, instead of buying store bought. I use my old Trader Joe’s pesto jar to store it in, and voila! Pesto on demand when the mood hits me!

I use my handy dandy Magic Bullet blender, but you can easily use a food processor instead. Not gonna lie…I don’t really measure things. I usually just need enough for one meal or one serving, and I put enough ingredients in the “tall cup” attachment to make it.

Sondra’s Presto Pesto:

Ingredients:

Fresh Basil Leaves

Pine Nuts (I just buy the amount I need at Sprouts. More economical, less wasteful)

EVOO

Fresh Garlic

Shredded Parmesan Cheese ( the hard stuff!)

What You Do:

Add all ingredients to blender, pulse for about 45 seconds, or until it develops a coarse grainy texture……and you’re done.

If you don’t own a Magic Bullet, that probably made you reaaaallllly want one, huh? Lol.

With this pesto, I made a yummy shrimp dish last night:

Pesto shrimp scampi with broccoli and parmesan. Yum!! ❤

Sondra’s Pesto Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli and Parmesan:

What You Need:

1 lb whole, raw, peeled shrimp

1 bag broccoli florets (I prefer the Fresh and Easy steamer bags. They were recently on sale for 99 cents, and I just stick in the microwave for 2.5 mins and they’re cooked perfectly for this recipe!)

2 tbsp garlic, diced

2 tbsp EVOO

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp pesto

Shredded parmesan

Vermicelli pasta (you could also use spaghetti or fettuccine….I just had vermicelli on hand)

What You Need to Do:

First, get your water started for the pasta. I had the water going while I cleaned and prepped ingredients, so that by the time it’s ready to strain, the main part of the meal is ready to go. Add half your EVOO and some salt to taste to your pasta water (I use garlic salt).

In a sautee pan, you want to get your EVOO heated up. Coat pan, and add garlic, pesto, and butter. Add shrimp, and sautee on medium heat. Shrimp cook quickly! When you see the pink start to form, flip them to the other side, and add broccoli. Flip pan a few times to evenly coat all ingredients, and turn heat off. Add parmesan, and let it start melting while you strain the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like. I typically add EVOO and garlic salt to my pasta after straining.

Next? Simply put some pasta in a dish, top with the scampi, and it’s DINNER TIME! I typically do not indulge in pasta, but I made dinner for Josh and Alex as well. You could easily eat this without any pasta, and it’s actually really great cold the next day! Great source of protein, a good amount of vegetables and healthy fats, and it’s deliciously rich without excessive cream sauce or ridiculous amounts of butter.

Tonight?? Tonight was pork roast!

I caught a great sale on Pork butt roast at Fresh and Easy yesterday, and decided to try my hand at a roast. It’s so hot outside, that I definitely have my regrets….but I am excited!

Sondra’s Bootylicious Pork Roast (Get it?!)

What You Need:

Rub:

Dijon mustard

Pesto

Garlic salt

Asiago cheese

Pepper

EVOO

Cayenne Pepper

Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

Roast:

2-3 lb Pork Butt Roast (Or whatever cut you want. I’m no expert!)

Whole garlic cloves

What You Do:

In a small bowl, mix equal amounts of mustard and pesto ( I eyed mine to the size of my roast, which was 2.95 lbs). Add all seasonings, and stir in a bit of EVOO until smooth.

Trim fat off roast, and put in the center of a roasting pan. I coated it in EVOO and garlic salt like the package suggested, and then rubbed my mixture to coat all sides as well. I added some whole cloves of garlic on top, because roasted garlic is a favorite of mine! Also, when trimming the fat, I put a couple of cloves in the fold of the roast, near the bone. The package recommends cooking the roast 20 minutes for each lb.

Before!!!

During!

Dinner is served! And, my house smells FABULOUS!!!

Typically, you want to let a cut of meat like this “rest” for about 20 minutes before you slice and serve.

For sides, I used Fresh and Easy’s new Kitchen to Go line. From the Italian family, I got the Garlic Potatoes: Baby new potatoes with garlic, rosemary, lemon and onions! As a BzzAgent, I was recently chosen for a Fresh and Easy campaign, and I used my $2 off coupon on the potatoes, and only paid $2 for them! This new line of practically ready-to-eat meals is not only on a gournet-level, but you have the choice to pick just a side, or create an entire meal for four.

Photo Credit: Google.com

Often times, you can create a whole meal for a family of four for under 15 dollars, in less than 20 minutes! Does it get much better for a bootcamp going, recipe-blogging diva on a fitness mission? NOPE! The dishes are preservative free, nutritiously conscious, and amazingly delicious. Don’t even get me started; Ashley (yup! YOU MADE IT TO A THIRD BLOG ENTRY!) and I have our routine that we call “Gym ‘n’ Easy.” When we hit the gym Weds-Fri at lunch, we hit Fresh and Easy right after! They have $6 cold lunch combos wtih options like gourmet cheese and fruit protein boxes, delectable BBQ chicken salads with fresh fruit and greens….plus you add a drink and a side like chips, apple slices, or a mix of pineapple and strawberries….for six dollars. And then there’s the clearance section where we tend to find a tasty dessert for under $2. It’s delightful! Plus, F&E stores use 30% less energy than typical stores, and with things like self-check out, store-brand fresh and inventive products, and helpful knowledgeable staff? Fresh and Easy has set a new standard for green and efficient stores across the board.

Photo Credit: Google.com

One last gush about Fresh and Easy? They, like most stores, have started a new loyalty program called the “Friends Card.” You get points for every dollar spent, and 2-3x points for select items periodically. You can also load special savings onto your card easily from their website, and 500 points=$5 to shop with! I currently have $7 in points that I am saving. Once I get to a big dollar amount, I think I’ll make a fabulous dinner for Sean and I, to celebrate our success in our new fitness endeavors! And, it will be a ridiculously healthy meal!

Check out the selection and the amazing differences that Fresh and Easy brings to grocery shopping here!

Speaking of these new fitness endeavors, those of you who’ve known me for awhile know that I am not a fan of eating breakfast. I drink protein smoothies or pre-made protein shakes, because the thought of eating in the morning typically makes me feel really sick. Lately, knowing that I’m waking up early for boot camp (which, I might add, is kicking my BUTT), I have been making a conscious effort to wake up thirty minutes earlier, and make myself a protein-packed, real breakfast. You need feul to kick ass, right?

Today? I used a whole wheat sandwich thin (I like Splitz brand, which I grabbed an 8-pack of at F&E for $2.99), and toasted it. While it was toasting, I got one egg in a small skillet, and hard cooked it with salt and pepper, topped it with a slice of F&E sliced mild chedddar (they were on sale 2 for $6 Monday!) and then topped the sandwich thin with it, and voila! 15 grams of protein, 290 calories, and the perfect feul to get me through the morning. I took a protein shake to work in case I was hungry when 12pm came around, but I was still feeling great, and didn’t even end up drinking it.

Goooooood Morning! All you need is a paper towel, and you’ve got a healthy and amazing “grab and go” power breakfast!!

Well folks, that’s all for now. But I  really am trying to make more of an effort to share my recipes on here; I really just throw ingredients together, and my ideas fortunately come to good conclusions. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dreadful, hard, or expensive. It can be efficient, delicious, and affordable! I’m here to help!

Hopefully, you see something that you like, and you try something new. If you try my recipes, or you try Fresh and Easy, let me know how it goes! Time for me to eat my dinner, soak in some more epsom salts, and get ready for bootcamp in the morning, and the gym at lunch!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Mini Margherita Madness!!!

So, most people embarking on a journey to higher and healthier living would typically avoid something like pizza.

I have been struggling the past couple of months to finally ditch the 200 pound zone, and as of Saturday, I am officially 196.6 lbs!!!

With that being said, the true challenge now is to keep losing until I hit that miraculous 175 lb mark, and simultaneously keep myself from being utterly bored by healthy eating in the process. I have been doing a protein smoothie in the morning, a light lunch, and a sensible dinner. On nights that I hit the gym, I usually just have one of my ready-made protein shakes from Costco, so it can help my muscles recover and such.  Tonight? I decided to make one of my favorites! Margherita Pizza!

Not only is this recipe SUPER simple, but with the fact that I usually cook for myself only, I have been able to concoct a quicker, easier, more convenient, and MINI version of it.

Ready-made whole wheat pizza dough, all-natural pizza sauce in a jar, good-quality mozzerella (I’m 1/2 Italian….Kraft is NOT), and fresh tomatoes and basil make this meal a cinch…and you can make one big pizza, a couple little ones…whatever your (healthy) heart desires!

What you need: (today, I picked up all the fixins at Fresh and Easy for less than 10 bucks!):

Ready Made Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Mozzerella, packed in water (I prefer ciliegine, which is a bit bigger of a ball than pearlini mozzerella, but again, you can easily use shredded as well). Typically, I like to just kinda pat the mozzerella dry and absorb some of the excess moisture, as sometimes it will tend to pool on top of your pizza if you don’t.

Fresh basil

Fresh tomatoes

A Jar of pizza sauce

What you need to do:

Shape your crust to desired size, and place it on a lightly oiled pan

Spread tomato sauce on crust

Place cheese on sauce

Add basil

Add tomatoes

Bake at 450 degrees for about 12-15 minutes (usually, you can refer to the directions on your pizza dough), and dig in!!

Molto bene, no?

What’s awesome is that you can easily alternate other healthy ingredients. Diced veggies, lean meats….eating healthy doesn’t have to be a punishment!

For example: Fresh and Easy pizza sauce is not only super yummy and fast, but it literally is just basic ingredients, with no crazy crap added. 1/2 a cup is sixty calories, and for my little pizza, I only used a tablespoon!! Peep the label:

Nothing but what I would have used if I took the time to make my own sauce at home. Sometimes, it’s just nice to know what the heck you are eating. You’d be surprised how much better you feel when you trade soda for breakfast protein smoothies (that don’t taste like crap….more on that in another post), and McDonald’s McChickens for homemade, fresh and healthy eating.

Just wanted to share. This meal was just as fun as it was fast! What more could a 196.6 lb girl ask for?

Now, I am going to eat that gorgeous pizza, and hit the gym for Zumba tonight!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

30 Day Challenge Part SEVEN!

Well, it’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it?

Truth be told, I have been so wrapped up in my regular life, I haven’t been motivated to come home, sit down, and get to blogging work!

But, I promise not to keep falling off the face of the earth. Honestly, this blog is the one thing that has kept me sane and ridiculously optimistic through all of the crazy changes since surgery. It really is imperative that I take that small chunk of time for myself to share my story. So, I apologize for the delay, if you were waiting. And I am back!

Wouldn’t you know? It’s 30 Day Challenge Time (it was, like 2 weeks ago!).

And heeeeeere we go! (I apologize in advance for looking like an utter ragamuffin. But I worked all day AND came home and made cornbread muffins and chili. Cut a girl some slack!).

Front View!

Side View!

Bonus points to me for having super stick-out collarbones, no?

In other news, my birthday went off without a hitch! Wore a tiara at work, Sean took me to lunch and spoiled me with presents…went out that weekend with my friends and got a table in the V.I.P. section and we had a blast.

The Ladies! 🙂

This next one is blurry…but it’s the only photo I have that shows my dress. An all-sequin Jessica Simpson dress that I’ve only been able to wear twice. It was already too big at this point, but I didn’t care. All hail the sequins! Lol.

BFF's since sixth grade!

The weekend after that, Sean took me on a surprise weekend getaway, and managed to keep the whole itinerary a secret. We ended up at one of the swankiest hotels ever, and went to Universal Studios; the one theme park I never made it to!

The view from the terrace in our swanky lanai room! 🙂

One of the best surprises...EVER!

Best boyfriend...EVER.

THEN! St. Patty’s Day weekend, a great friend came to visit, and Alex, Josh and I took her to The Shout House in the gaslamp. It’s a deuling piano bar, and it is a BLAST! Alex and Josh requested an inappropriate song and a birthday shout-out to me, which resulted in me being called on-stage once again, but this time, instead of getting to sing, I was summoned to sit on top of the piano and be serenaded….during the song, a waiter came out with a dildo in a gift box. Don’t ask….just know that I was mortified. Yet, I couldn’t stop laughing….

I'm light enough to be lifted onto a piano, now! YESS!

May I just point out that my outfit that night made me super happy? I got my nude/blush trench for 50% off at Forever 21. That’s what happens when you get down to a size Large, apparently. I’m not complaining! Although, for some reason, it seems like the plus-sized lines all got significantly cuter once I could no longer fit into them! Conspiracy? Possibly!

Too freakin' cute! Target skinnies, Report wedges, Forever 21 top and trench, and necklace and all my accessories were Forever 21, too!

Overall, it’s been a good month so far! Health-wise, I am doing well. Had my physical and my Vitamin B-12 and D levels were low, so now I have to get a series of Vitamin B-12 injections, and I have to take 50,000 units of Vitamin D twice a week. This has prompted me to look into options outside of just my daily multi-vitamin and calcium+D supplements I have been taking regularly since surgery. It’s made me re-think my nutrition in general. I am in utter LOVE with a site called Greatist.com, and I receive the daily email newsletter that has tons of motivation and information. My current fave:

The Complete Guide to Workout Nutrition

Check it, and the whole site, out! It never hurts to have information at your disposal. Who knows what you may learn? It could be just the thing you need to get back on track….or to just get started!

I think I am done here! I still have two weekdays to get through, and then a movie date with my love this weekend!

Not to mention, Alex and I are going to see Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker in concert Saturday night. SO. STOKED. I love them both. Thompson Square will be opening…but I don’t really care about them.

And so, I shall leave you with my favorite on-the-way-to-work song!

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Love you all! Make the rest of the week count!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO