Weight Watchers Simple Start – I finished!

Orlando

How gorgeous is that shot at Lake Eola here in Orlando? A few days ago a few mommy friends and I hit that park for a 2 mile walk with our babies. Since starting Simple Start, I have turned my fitness intake up so much and it feels…so good.

I can’t believe that it has already been 2 weeks since I’ve started Weight Watcher’s Simple Start program. As cheesy as it sounds, I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. I’ve always associated losing weight with being deprived. I would get anxiety at the thought of having to give up the things that I love. But it’s true what they say…if I want things to change I NEED to change. And luckily, the Simple Start program has made this easy. I won’t regurgitate what I’ve already mentioned but I will say that if you’re looking to start a weight loss program but the Weight Watchers point system intimidated you, give Simple Start a try.

Fruit smoothie

Not gonna lie – it was tough the past few days. The key with this program (and with all weight loss programs) is planning ahead. I forgot my lunch at home one day and was totally thrown off. It was difficult to find healthy options. I made one bad decision and well, the entire day went down. But, hey…I got back up and the next day and I did better. I’m not even going to pretend like it has been easy, because it hasn’t been. But I’m learning and I hope to do better now that my Simple Start days are over.

Onions and green peppers

Aaaand, Simple Start has inspired me to cook. Yes, y’all. Veteran Clumps readers know that I married Esposo for his cooking. Yeah, I love him too but really it’s his cooking that sealed the deal for me. ;) The man has spoiled me so much so that the most I cook is…a green smoothie and kale chips. But I ran into some recipe ideas that included green peppers and onions and I couldn’t hold back. ‘Twas delicious!

I’ve got nothing but fantastic things to say about the Simple Start program. And for my Pinterest lovers, follow Weight Watchers on there. I’ve been pinning like a mad woman.

With the support of my Mom and Mom-in-Law, I will continue on this journey. To my fellow WW kids, if you have any advice for me, send ‘em my way!

 

I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their new Simple Start plan and write about my experience. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

A Month of Thanks 2013: Day 4 – Esposo’s Cooking

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I really don’t know what I was eating before I met Esposo. Clearly I was eating somethin’ because I’m not exactly a skinny girl. I know how to cook but I don’t like cooking. I just don’t. But I am so thankful for my wonderful husband because in the almost 2 years we’ve been married and the 1 year we dated, I have never had to prepare a meal. He cooks everything at home. And he serves me.

Yeah, I got it maaaaade.

The Best Green Juice EVER. Thanks Skinny Limits!

Green smoothies.

Y’all know how much I love them. I could easily drink my weight in green smoothies and have been doing so for many years now. A few weeks ago, a brand by the name of Skinny Limits reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in trying their green juices. At first I was all snobbish like “OMG, green juiiiiice? But I’m totally married to green smoothiesssss.” But green is green, right? Plus I’ve heard that green juice is great for cleaning out some toxins. I couldn’t do a full detox because I’m still pumping for Elle (can you believe it? 9 months!) but could I incorporate Skinny Limits juices in my regular diet?

Um, yahhhh….

Skinny Limits

So here are 3 reasons why Skinny Limits Rocks:
-They will ship FRESH juices to you.
-Their juices are absolutely delicious.
-Their juices are absolutely delicious.

Yes. So good that I had to mention it twice. These juices are amazing! I’ve always been weary about jumping on the green juice bandwagon but one sip of Pure & Simple converted me.

And here’s the thing: juicing isn’t cheap. It isn’t cheap if you juice at home and it isn’t cheap if you have someone else juice for you. But, c’mon…you get what you pay for and if I’m going to pay $49 a day on juices, I want them to be juices that I can at least tolerate.

Welp. I can more than tolerate Skinny Limits’ uses. I could live off of them. They are just beyond tasty. I was given a 3-day trial of juices and so I really got the chance to fall in love with them.

Skinny Limits Juice Cleanse Instructions

Skinny Limits makes it simple by providing you with thorough instructions and a color-coded and number system that tells you when to drink which juices.

Skinny Limits Pure and Simple

Balance juice is made up of kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger. Esposo and I couldn’t get enough of this juice. This was our favorite. I love greens but I would have never thought that a juice with parsley in it would be so tasty. The sweetness from the apple and the zing from the ginger  had my tastebuds dancing up a storm. I could easily drink this juice every day.

Pure & Simple has the same ingredients as Balance except it eliminates the ginger. I found it to be just as tasty.

Skinny Limits Scorpion Lemonade

Scorpion Lemonade has lemons, agave nectar, cayenne and filtered water. I’m familiar with the taste of this because I’m one of those crazy people that has done (and suceeded at!) the Master Cleanse. It is far from like a conventional sweet lemonade. The lemons were super fresh and of all of the drinks, I found it to be the most refreshing.

Skinny Limits Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon has raw cashews, vanilla bean, cinnamon, agave nectar and filtered water. This was my second favorite drink. Each 16 oz bottle has a good 300 calories of sweet creamy goodness.

Who are these drinks for?

Anyone! I’m a big fan of detoxing so if you’re feeling like you need to jumpstart a new diet or refresh your body from the inside out, detoxing is ideal. And even if you don’t plan on detoxing and just want to introduce some new tastes in your life, these drinks are perfect.

Skinny Limits bottles

 

Are these shipped safely?

Yep! A huge box arrived with my drinks and they were packaged nicely and every drink was nice and cold.

What could make these better?

Uh, let’s see…if someone could come and make these for me every few days, I think I’d like these A LOT better. :cool:

Way to go, Skinny Limits. Keep rockin’ out and making delicious and healthy juices that can be made available nationwide. For more information about Skinny Limits, be sure to visit their site. And if you’re in the Austin, Texas area, you can visit the Skinny Limits HQ.

So who else loves green juice? Why didn’t you guys tell me how great they were?

A Super Sweet Twitter Party with Dunkin Donuts…and prizes!

Dunkin Donuts

So apparently it’s Fall and I’m buggin’ because in hot and humid Florida it STILL feels like the middle of summer. I should be used to it since I’ve lived here my entire life but dang, it would be nice to have real and obvious seasons, ya know? Luckily, I can kiiiiinda get the feel of Fall through one of my senses: lé taste, darlings!

Aside from the leaves droppin’ and beauty brands releasing their gorgeous fall collections, September is the start of something else…the pumpkin menu at Dunkin’ Donuts! New pumpkin menu items, including a new Pumpkin Pie Donut, and a new Frozen Pumpkin Coffee Coolatta, are at Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. These pumpkin delights are only around for a limited time so it’s either consume them in great quantities now or cry about it later.

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice

Did you know? Dunkin’ Donuts offers guests one of the largest varieties of pumpkin food and beverages of any national restaurant chain. Want to know more about the ready-for-fall Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin menu and other DD offerings? Join in the fun with all of the Dunkin’ Florida regional Twitter handles including: @DDCentFla, @DDNeFla, @DDTampaBay, @DDSWFLA, @DD_Gainesville, @DDPanhandleFL & @DDSoFla, our host @JoscelynRC and co-hosts @ClumpsofMascara, @MakeitAllWork, @paulabendfeldt, @teachme2save and @BBAbushka for the #DDFuelsFlorida Twitter Party on Thursday, September 26 from 7-8pm EST!

Learn about the latest news brewing at your local Dunkin’ Donuts at the oh-so-virtually yummy event and RSVP to be eligible to win $500 worth in mGift prizes via the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app!

 

Party Details:

What: #DDFuelsFlorida Twitter Party
When: Thursday, September 26, 2013 from 7 to 8 PM EST
Where: Twitter
Hashtag: ##DDFuelsFlorida

 

Who to Follow:

Host: @JoscelynRC
Co-Hosts: @ClumpsofMascara, @MakeitAllWork, @paulabendfeldt, @teachme2save and @BBAbushka
Moderator: @DDCentFla@DDNeFla@DDTampaBay@DDSWFLA, @DD_Gainesville@DDPanhandleFL & @DDSoFla

 

Prizes:

Up to $500 worth of mGifts (mobile gifts), i.e. virtual gift cards via the new Dunkin’ Donuts app. (Virtual gifts can also be received via text, email and Facebook Connect).

 

RSVP:

To be eligible to win prizes, you must RSVP, be 18 years old or older and actively participating during the Twitter Party. Click below to RSVP or at http://twtvite.com/DDFuelsFlorida.

Hope to e-see you there!

The Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Files: Breakfast Egg Scramble

Spinach and egg scramble

Did I ever tell y’all that I up and went gluten-free? I’ve been dairy-free for almost 8 months now but this gluten-free thing is new. Elle’s eczema got worse (yep, I’m still pumping and giving her my breast milk) and worse and her pediatrician said that I should try going gluten-free for 2 weeks to see if her skin cleared up. And guess what? Her skin DID clear up. And so began my gluten-free life.

I’m going to be featuring a few of my dishes with y’all in case some of you are also eating the same way. And  honestly, even after I stop breastfeeding, I think I’ll continue the gluten-free life. Reading Wheat Belly has enlightened me on a loooooot. Epsoso is also being supportive and limiting dairy and gluten too.

Breakfast

Even though I love my gluten-free cereals, I’ve been wanting to slowly cut processed foods out of my diet and have fresher ingredients ALL the time.

Can’t get any easier than this. I toss in 2 cups of spinach, 2 eggs and season with just a dash of salt and pepper. Sometimes Esposo adds smoked turkey and bam, a complete and tasty meal that only took 5 minutes to scramble up. For some added sweetness, I’ll have an apple or peach on the side.

And that’s that!

Food Yum: My newest favorite salad…tabbouleh

I’ve got a little more time in my hands so I think I’m going to start re-cranking out more Food Yum posts. My eating habits have been changing over the past few months and when I tell folx about ‘em, they always want to know what kind of recipes I make. 

Long time readers know of Clumps of Mascara know that I don’t make a dang thing in my house. Except green smoothies or sweet potatoes. I also make homemade baby food but actual meals for actual adults? Yeah no. Esposo has been the chef in our house since we’ve been married. Even when we dated, he would come over to my house and whip up delicious meals for me to eat. Lately we have both been on a weight loss mission (sigh…again) and we are both gluten-free. I’ve been dairy-free for 7 months and the thought giving up bread would be the death of me. But actually, it isn’t. Reading the book Wheat Belly really put things into perspective for me and loosing 4 lbs without trying confirmed it. Wheat is no bueno and we’ve been trying to find a ton of alternatives for it.

You’ve heard of tabbouleh, haven’t you?

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This traditional Levantine Arab dish consists of primarily parsley, bulgar wheat and tomatoes. Easy, right? You can spice it up by adding onion, a splash of lemon, garlic powder, salt and pepper but we’ve found that simplest is best. Esposo whipped this up for the first time a few months ago and I’m hooked. He know HAS to make it at least once every 2 weeks.

In this batch we added sunflower greens…our newest and favorite green. I’ve never been much of a salad eater but tabbouleh is addicting. And so so flavorful. And so so  easy to make. To make it gluten-free we swapped bulgar wheat for quinoa. A good batch will last in the fridge for 3-5 days and that’s usually enough for us both to have 2 servings a day.

Tabbouleh

Basically tabbouleh is amazing. Try it soon, y’all. You’ll thank me! Here’s the recipe that we used. I definitely prefer it without cucumbers though. I love veggies but I loathe cukes. Yucky.

Any salad lovers in the house?

Food Yum: Avu Avu Restaurant Review + giveaway

[NOTE: This post is written by Esposo. He was invited to a media event at the restaurant Avu Avu. Jealous doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling looking at these pictures. By the way, he took the pictures too. Talented chap, isn’t it? I’ll keep him.  Carry on!-B]
Avu AVU

It’s good to be the king.

And kingly is how I felt upon entering the warm and inviting (if a tad dark) dining room at Avu-Avu. It’s not often I get greeted by a pretty hostess, given a colorful lai, and given a tasty tropical drink all within my first five minutes. It’s not quite the Hawaiian vacation I’ve been dreaming of, but that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Now all of this might have been because I was there as part of a group of social media allstars dubbed the #AvuAvuCrew, but I’d like to think it’s all part of the usual package. As I sat down with Droolius, Tasty Chomps, Eating Orlando and more, I couldn’t wait for the rest of my intro to the Buena Vista Palace’s new Polynesian concept.

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To be blunt, this meal was amazing. Instead of doing things in typical restaurant fashion, Avu-Avu serves their dishes family style and gives you unlimited access to the goods. (Waistline’s beware!) We started out nice and easy with edamame dip and tropical chips to snack on alongside our the previously mentioned cocktail. Then we got down to business. And by business I mean PORK.

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The Monsoon Platter may look like your typical Chinese/Hawaiian combo of potstickers and rib bites, but wait until you taste the guava chai barbecue sauce. Out of this world. No, that is not a typo. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, guava CHAI. Stop looking at me like that.

I know it sounds strange, but that sauce (which I need bottled, STAT) is only the tip of the iceberg. Each protein on the menu is paired with an innovative sauce or marinade using flavor profiles I’ve never seen before.

Expertly grilled skewers featuring Coffee Colada chicken breast, Root Beer BBQ pork, and Kalbi Marinated sirloin will have you asking for extras and needing to be wheeled out the door.

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And did I fail to mention that the Monsoon Platter comes with a trio of tasty dipping sauces? Just make sure to only use them on the chicken potstickers or I shall be forced to thrash you.

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To accompany these finely flamed feastables there was a tossed salad featuring toasted coconut and rice crackers with a carrot ginger vinaigrette as well as steaming bowls of stir fried udon noodles with lemon garlic broccoli. I know what you’re thinking, but fear not: the noodles weren’t at all greasy and the broccoli was expertly steamed so that it still had some bite to it. No limp lifeless veggies will be found here.

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That’s not to say there were no negatives at all. The Citrus Ginger shrimp was kind of disappointing after all the greatness surrounding it, and it seems as though the cooks prefer to grill the Kalbi Marinated Sirloin on the rare side. That’s just fine for a predator like myself, but if you’re one of the masses who’s afraid to let his beef “moo” as it comes to the table, make sure to let your server know your preferred doneness.

As we closed out the night, all missteps were forgiven as dessert was served. Caramelized Pineapple Coconut Milk Cake was quite the mouthful to say and to eat, but eating it was an unforeseen pleasure.

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You see, I don’t like coconut. Never have. Never will. But THIS concoction had me wishing I hadn’t been quite so enthusiastic about the guava chai rib bites. A rich, but not too rich yellow cake, laced with pineapple chunks, and bathing in a bowl of coconut milk was just what the doctor ordered and a perfect way to end the meal. Especially when I had the brilliant idea of dumping some of the milk sauce into my coffee. Yum.

At $29.95 a head and unlimited eats, I’d say that Avu Avu definitely goes into the “win” column. The food prep was top notch, the staff gracious and inviting, and the sauces were insanely good.

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The only thing I’d suggest is that they start selling that guava chai rib sauce before I’m forced to raid coroporate headquarters for the secret recipe.

 

Want to win a dinner for 2 at Avu Avu? Shoot an email to Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com with the subject: Feed Me. I’ll be giving a gift certificate away. I’ll be choosing a winner on April 28th at 8 PM EST.