Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe Review: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

I've been looking forward to doing a recipe review on Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti for a long time. Every time I made this recipe I forgot to take pictures for my blog. However, you all are in luck, because I finally remembered!!

This is one of my very favorite dinners! I found this recipe at Half My Size. I had never eaten Chicken Spaghetti until we moved to Texas. It is one of the many things I have fallen in love with since moving to the South.

The ingredients

First, I mix together the soups, rotel, and canned chicken. My recipe calls for canned chicken, but feel free to use fresh cooked chicken breasts if that is what you prefer.

Don't forget to cook your pasta. We did not use spaghetti, because this was all I had.

Jon is very talented with a knife, however I am not. This is why Jon bought me this chopper from Pampered Chef. It's so easy to chop things now!

I chop my Velveeta in small squares so it melts better.

The last thing you want to add in are the cook noodles.

I put this in the fridge overnight, to cook to next day while I was at work.

This really is one of my favorite dinners!

. . . . . . . . . .
Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
Source: Half My Size

1 pound Kraft Velveeta Light Reduced-Fat Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product
12 1/2 oz canned chicken, drained & flaked
10 3/4 oz Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream Of Chicken Soup, undiluted
10 3/4 oz Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream Of Mushroom Soup, undiluted
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilies, Rotel
4 oz canned mushrooms, stems and pieces, drained
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
14 1/2 oz cooked whole-wheat spaghetti

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to mix well.
Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Stir again just before serving.

Serves 8 (1 cup each); 7 pointsplus+

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My Bling

Do you remember my free bling? Check out the story here.

This is the free bling God provided for me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Exercise for Your Health


Here is the latest Get Fit email from Dr. Jacobs.

The secret to better health — exercise
Whether you’re 9 or 90, abundant evidence shows exercise can enhance your health and well-being. But for many people, sedentary pastimes, such as watching TV, surfing the Internet, or playing computer and video games, have replaced more active pursuits.

What exercise can do for you
Millions of Americans simply aren’t moving enough to meet the minimum threshold for good health — that is, burning at least 700 to 1,000 calories a week through physical pursuits. The benefits of exercise may sound too good to be true, but decades of solid science confirm that exercise improves health and can extend your life. Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and several types of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancers. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, reduce stress, control your weight, brighten your mood, sharpen your mental functioning, and improve your sex life.

A well-rounded exercise program has four components: aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility training, and balance exercises. Each benefits your body in a different way.

Fighting disease with aerobic activity
Aerobic exercise is the centerpiece of any fitness program. Nearly all of the research regarding the disease-fighting benefits of exercise revolves around cardiovascular activity, which includes walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Experts recommend working out at moderate intensity when you perform aerobic exercise — brisk walking that quickens your breathing is one example. This level of activity is safe for almost everyone and provides the desired health benefits. Additional health benefits may flow from increased intensity.

Protecting bone with strength training
Strength or resistance training, such as elastic-band workouts and the use of weight machines or free weights, is important for building muscle and protecting bone.

Bones lose calcium and weaken with age, but strength training can help slow or sometimes even reverse this trend. Not only can strength training make you look and feel better, but it can also result in better performance of everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying bundles. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself. In addition, more lean body mass aids in weight control because each pound of muscle burns more calories than its equivalent in fat.

Ease back pain with flexibility exercises
Stretching or flexibility training is the third prong of a balanced exercise program.

Muscles tend to shorten and weaken with age. Shorter, stiffer muscle fibers make you vulnerable to injuries, back pain, and stress. But regularly performing exercises that isolate and stretch the elastic fibers surrounding your muscles and tendons can counteract this process. And stretching improves your posture and balance.

Preventing falls with balance exercises
Balance tends to erode over time, and regularly performing balance exercises is one of the best ways to protect against falls that lead to temporary or permanent disability. Balance exercises take only a few minutes and often fit easily into the warm-up portion of a workout. Many strength-training exercises also serve as balance exercises. Or balance-enhancing movements may simply be woven into other forms of exercise, such as tai chi, yoga, and Pilates.

Exercise at a glance
In a nutshell, exercise can:

• reduce your chances of getting heart disease. For those who already have heart disease, exercise reduces the chances of dying from it.
• lower your risk of developing hypertension and diabetes.
• reduce your risk for colon cancer and some other forms of cancer.
• improve your mood and mental functioning.
• keep your bones strong and joints healthy.
• help you maintain a healthy weight.
• help you maintain your independence well into your later years.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Feedback vs. Failure


Here is the meeting summary from March 22, 2011.

I know that ___________ works for me, and that ___________ doesn’t work for me.

Take the time to fill in the blanks here from your past experience.

(For example: I know that that keeping fresh fruits in my house works for me and I know that keeping a jar of icing in the house does not work for me!)

Learning From Previous Weight-Loss Attempts

The ability to learn from previous weight-loss efforts can be key in setting a successful course for the future.
When it comes to success at weight loss and weight-loss maintenance, understanding the behaviors that support and sustain weight-related accomplishments is key.

Looking at Behavior Change
Behavior change is a process, not a single event. With weight loss this becomes quite complex because so many behaviors are involved. Each attempt at weight loss, regardless of outcome, is an opportunity to identify what worked and what didn't work. Understanding the behaviors that encouraged weight loss can help to create a confidence that reinforces weight-loss success.

Learning From a Model
Smoking cessation is a behavior change that has been studied extensively. Researchers have looked at smokers who were interested in quitting and the factors that were associated with their motivation to do so. They found that smoking-cessation interventions were best suited for those smokers who had the following: a strong desire to stop smoking, multiple past attempts to quit, high self-efficacy and/or a hospital emergency visit that was related to smoking.

In smoking cessation, past attempts to quit are connected with a heightened readiness to change. In studying readiness to change in smokers, researchers have shown that those who are at a higher degree of contemplating change are more likely to be ready to quit.

Preparing for Weight Loss
Applying the findings from research on behavior change in smokers to weight loss reveals the importance of reviewing past behavior. Researchers identify the stages of change as useful in assessing readiness to lose weight. Studies show that applying this model may be helpful in addressing the multitude of factors that affect weight-loss behavior.

In weight management, each step that allows for learning about personal behavior that impacts weight loss is valuable. A study of a group of women who were successful at maintaining weight loss showed that they had developed skills that reflect self-discovery and consciousness about personal behavior. All in all, looking at previous weight-loss attempts can help chart the future for success.

Don't let small obstacles get you down. A successful loser still experiences gains and losses.
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest, but he didn't have success on his first climb. Had he given up after his initial attempt, Hillary wouldn't have achieved his greatest feat.

Many people who are successful in weight loss have experienced gains, plateaus or setbacks. They achieve their goals by persevering and learning from their mistakes.
You may step on the scale at some point and see a gain or no movement. You could emotionally beat yourself up and give up. But look at the big picture and how far you've come. Aren't you eating healthier? Feeling better? Aren't your clothes fitting better?

A friend or family member would probably tell you that you look great and have done an amazing job with weight loss already. Your Leader and fellow meetings members would also applaud your success so far. So treat yourself like a friend and continue to follow the plan. Maintaining lasting weight loss will involve weight fluctuations; don't be derailed by a small setback.

Albert Einstein defines insanity as: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

If what you are doing now isn’t working for you, then continuing to do it the exact same way isn’t going to get you to your goals. Take a moment to learn from experience. When you were losing weight before what were you doing differently? Define what works and what does not work for you and make a goal. Over the next 6 weeks I want you to set an achievable, realistic goal to either surround yourself with the things that work for you, or to remove the things that do not work for you from your daily life.

Just remember that you have all made a personal goal to be healthier, and that alone is worth celebrating!

The way you respond to a slip-up or a setback is going to determine your success on the scale. You can either dwell on it and send yourself into that gaining spiral, or you can learn from it forgive yourself, and move on to your weight loss goals.
Remember, no weight loss journey has ever been perfect, but you just have to remember that you are worth it, and that you deserve to be happy at your goal weight.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: Finally Feeling Pretty

On March 15 I celebrated my birthday. It was my second year in a row being at my goal weight!! That is such an incredible accomplishment to celebrate.

Something that I want to do this week with my Flashback Friday is to go back a remember just how far I have come.

Throughout my weight loss journey I kept track of important dates. I tried to keep track of both scale and non scale victories, so that I would have a record to refer back to on those weeks when I did not lose much weight or had a gain. There were so many milestones along the way and I did not want to forget about anything.

On March 24, 2009, I had written down that I lost another 5 pounds, which took my total to 39 pounds lost! That's practically 40 pounds lost from October 2008 to March 2009!!

Just nine days before I had my picture taken for my birthday. This picture became so special to me, because it was the first time I had felt pretty in years. It's sad, but true. This picture was something that I wanted to show to others, because I it was obvious that I was making progress.

Feeling pretty on my birthday, March 15, 2009.

Do you keep a record of your victories and stumbles? If not, maybe you should start. It is a great way to stay encouraged while you are on your weight loss journey.

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe Review: Pineapple Angel Food Cake

This past weekend the weather is Texas was in the 80's and 90's! So, when I was supposed to make a dessert for a church potluck I decided to try new! What says summer/spring more than pineapple, coconut, and cool whip?

I have had this recipe for Pineapple Angel Food Cake for a while and I am so glad that I finally made it!

Two ingredients for the cake, angel food cake and crushed pineapple

Mix the two ingredients together.

Pour into a pan that had previously been sprayed with PAM.

Make sure the batter has been evenly distributed and bake.

This is what the Pineapple Angel Food Cake looks like when you take it out of the oven.

After I made the Pineapple Angel Food Cake, I decided to top it with 1/2 cup of coconut and a cool whip pudding icing.

Cool Whip Icing
Adapted From: Dogwood Radiance

8 oz Cool Whip Free
1 small box vanilla pudding mix (dry)

In a large bowl, beat together whipped topping, and dry pudding mix until blended. Spread on cake.

Serves: 16; Points+ 3

This was a new way to make icing, so I was nervous about how it would turn out. However it was delicious!

Then I spread the icing on top of the cake.

I topped it with 1/2 cup of coconut.

For fun I added some mandarin oranges to make it look pretty.

This cake was so good!

All together the cake with topping had 16 servings; 4 points+ per piece of cake.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Snack Ideas

One of the biggest contributors to my weight loss success was that I attended Weight Watchers meetings. Even after reaching my goal weight I continued to attend my local Weight Watchers meeting for ideas, encouragement, and accountability.

The ladies at my Weight Watchers meetings always had the most incredible ideas. Not to mention they would share new low points+ foods! I had a small notepad in my purse that I used to write down all the new foods I learned about at my meetings.

I wanted to share with you some of the most recent low points+ foods that I found.

I am addicted to these Cinnamon Burst Cheerios. They taste like Cinnamon Teddy Grahams. They are yummy and you are allowed to have 1 whole cup for only 3 points+!
Cinnamon Burst Cheerios
Serving Size: 1 cup
3 points+

This Blue Bell ice cream I learned about by accident. Our Bible study group always has dinner together before we study the Bible. My friend Elise and her husband John were in charge of bringing dinner. So, John had gone to the store for ice cream and was trying to pick something healthy for us. He made a great choice, because this is only 2 points+ for 1/2 cup!
Blue Bell No Sugar Added Ice Cream
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
2 points+

Special K knows what they are doing. They always come out with the most wonderful food. This is another product that does not disappoint.
Special K Cracker Crisps
Serving Size: 30 crisps
3 points+

What's your favorite low points+ snack?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8 Ways To Mess Up Your Plan


Here is the meeting summary from March 15, 2011.

Are you "cheating"?

"Stop!" screams your conscience as you swipe a handful of mini-candy bars from your co-worker's communal candy dish. If no one actually sees you take them then the calories don't really count, right? Some call it "cheating." Sneaking. Closet eating. But one of the reasons dieters "cheat" is that they're often so strict with themselves that they end up feeling deprived.

Remember that healthy eating includes lots of good choices with a few "naughty" ones as well. Devising some strategies to help you enjoy treats rather than "cheat" will help keep you on the straight and narrow. Here are some suggestions to try:

1. Plan for treats
Making sure you get to enjoy your favorite treats every once in a while will help you from feeling deprived. Pick a night each week when you can indulge in something decadent like a piece of chocolate mud cake. Give yourself permission to truly enjoy your dessert! Taking time to savor a treat is always more satisfying than gobbling it down with feelings of guilt or shame.

2. Put your pantry on a diet
If most of the foods in your house are healthy, then you're already halfway there. If you must have tempting foods around for a special occasion, store them out of sight or buy them at the last minute. On the big day, enjoy your favorite foods and send any leftovers home with your guests.

3. Choose your friends wisely
Beware of any "friend" who continually tries to coerce you into "just a cappuccino" which you know really means a cappuccino and a slice of carrot cake with frosting an inch thick. Put these friends on hold until you're feeling strong enough to say "no." Or suggest a different kind of get-together such as a walk in the park or an afternoon at the movies.

4. Count the cost as well as the calories
Allocate so many dollars per pound you plan to lose and save the money in a separate account or piggy bank. Or "pay" yourself so much every day you stick to your weight-loss plan. Then treat yourself to something fabulous like a new outfit or a day at a beauty spa.

5. Picture yourself
Find some not-so-flattering photos of yourself and place them strategically at prime temptation spots—the fridge, the cookie jar or in your desk drawer. That way you will be reminded of the positive changes you're trying to make to your life whenever you're tempted to overindulge.

6. Surround yourself with witnesses
Tell everyone you are changing your eating habits. Give them permission to remind you of your dedication to better health if they catch you transgressing. Make sure you have chosen friends who will support and encourage you. The last thing you need is someone who will try to trip you up.

7. Check up on yourself
Write down every single thing that passes your lips each day. If you often eat when you're upset or stressed, try to record this too. If you gobbled up a candy bar after arguing with your partner, you probably need to find alternative ways of coping with your moods. Next time try phoning a friend or going for a stress-relieving walk.

8. Keep a sense of proportion
We all slip up from time to time. We all forget our best resolutions and bend the rules. It's not the end of the world. The worst thing you can do is give in and say, "Well, I blew it. Let's forget it. I'm never going to succeed."
Now, that would really be cheating. Not just cheating on your diet, but cheating on yourself and your health as well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Way To Freedom


"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. " - Galatians 5:1

All year I have been learning about freedom. God has been working on me and my heart to show me how to live a life that is truly free. Galatians 5:1 says that Christ has set me free. I am no longer a slave to sin. That is a burden that I do not need to carry.

I thought that at some point along this journey that I would suddenly, divinely feel free! I was expecting a kind of big "ah ha" moment where I would be able to wrap my mind around how my life is supposed to be now that Christ has set me free.

I have yet to have my big moment. However, God has been giving me jems of truth along the way. My most recent "jem" is something that I learned when I read a Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today, When I Am Free. The author, Lynn Cowelll, talks about how, "In order to be free, I have to be free of me." I have to let God work in each area of my heart to set me free from myself! I never thought about freedom this way.

I am beginning to understand that I am on the road to freedom. I cannot fully understand a life of freedom, because all I have known are the chains of sin. I need God to help me comprehend such an incredible truth and reality I have in Christ.

Do you remember the Chilean minors? There were so many painstaking hours put into their rescue. For days, people tried to come up with a good solution to rescue those 33 men. When they came up with a plan that would work, it was decided that the best time to perform this rescue was at night. The experts did not want these minors to rescued during the day light. The minors had spent 40 days underground and they needed time to gradually transition back into real life, so that they did not freak out and go into shock.

God does the same thing with us and our freedom! Freedom is a reality for anyone who is in Christ. But if we experienced that freedom in one fail swoop it would be overwhelming and possibly put us into shock. God knows that He must show us our freedom gradually over a period of time, leading us out of the dark prison and taking us into the light!

Along the way, God will remove the chains and anything else that is trying to keep us from the light.

Wow! God is awesome! Thank you Lord for loving us enough to show us the way to true freedom!

Are you living in the freedom that Jesus died to give you? Are you like me and you are on your freedom journey?

I pray that you will give God permission to show you the way to freedom!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Facebook Fan Page

Last week I made a Facebook Fan Page for my Living a Changed Life blog.

I do not know about you, but I am on Facebook all the time. I thought it would be great to be able to post low points+ foods, links, recipes, and more!

I hope you will check it out.

Click the link here to visit my Facebook Fan Page.

I also added a link down on the right side of my blog page called, Facebook Fan Page.

Don't forget to "like" my page.

Saturday, March 19, 2011



Here is the latest Get Fit email from Dr. Jacobs.

What type of headache do you have?

Headaches are familiar to nearly everyone: in any given year, almost 90% of men and 95% of women have at least one. In the vast majority of cases, however, the pain isn’t an omen of some terrible disease.

About 95% of headaches are caused by such common conditions as stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, changes in estrogen level, weather changes, or caffeine withdrawal. The three most common types of headache are tension, sinus, and migraine (see table below).

Mixed headaches
As understanding of the different types of headaches has evolved, researchers have altered some of their beliefs about tension and migraine headaches and the relationship between the two. This is largely because of the realization that some headaches don’t neatly fit either category. “Mixed” headaches have characteristics of both types, and because they’re hard to classify, treatment can be challenging.

For instance, the more intense a tension headache gets, the more it resembles the sharp, throbbing pain of a migraine headache. Likewise, when a migraine headache becomes more frequent, its pain begins to feel like that of a tension headache. Thus, experts now believe that headaches fall along a continuum ordered by their characteristics: the occasional tension headache is at one end and the migraine headache is at the other. In between are chronic tension headache and chronic migraine, which are often lumped together as chronic daily headache.

This doesn’t mean that all headaches share the same mechanisms. Experts still generally believe that tension headaches are stimulated by muscle tightness, while migraine headaches are caused by the dilation and inflammation of blood vessels. However, if you have migraine headaches frequently, you may develop muscle tightness, which can trigger more headaches, creating a vicious cycle.

Headache caused by a medication or illness
Some headaches are actually symptoms of another health problem. Many non-life-threatening medical conditions, such as a head cold, the flu, or a sinus infection, can cause headache. Some less common but serious causes include bleeding, infection, or a tumor. A headache can also be the only warning signal of high blood pressure (hypertension). In addition, certain medications — such as nitroglycerin, prescribed for a heart condition, and estrogen, prescribed for menopausal symptoms — are notorious causes of headache.

Because the following symptoms could indicate a significant medical problem, seek medical care promptly if you experience:
• a sudden headache that feels like a blow to the head (with or without a stiff neck)
• headache with fever
• convulsions
• persistent headache following a blow to the head
• confusion or loss of consciousness
• headache along with pain in the eye or ear
• relentless headache when you were previously headache-free
• headache that interferes with routine activities.

Always take children who have recurring headaches to the doctor, especially when the pain occurs at night or is present when the child wakes in the morning.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Chocolate Cake

This morning, I want you to laugh with me! I want to give you just a glimpse of some of the most joyful times my family ever had.

What you must first understand is that the men in my family are always trying to get people to laugh. I even married a man who is just like Dad and brothers. Most of the time this annoys me, because if I am angry I just want to be left alone to pout! However, my Dad and brothers, Kyle and Jake, refuse to let me have my way. It's as if they make it their mission to get a smile out of me.

Growing up my family loved to laugh together. My brother Kyle was so funny that we could watch a silent movie with him and his fake commentary of the movie would have us on the floor laughing! Those were good times!!

This is me and my silly Dad the last time we were together in July 2009.

Hands down, my Dad's favorite comedian is Bill Cosby. My Dad owned Bill Cosby as Himself on DVD and he would watch that it over and over again! It never got too old for him. Dad loved that both he and Bill Cosby had five kids. Bill was a man that my Dad could relate to.

I think that most of my family would agree that our favorite part on that entire DVD was Billy Cosby's skit about the chocolate cake.


This skit would have us on the ground laughing so hard that we were crying, because as a family we could completely relate to what he was talking about!! He was describing our family!! We loved this skit so much that we would even quote Bill Cosby and sing, “Dad is great give us the chocolate cake!”.

There are times when I get really sad, because my parents are now divorced and our family has changed so much. However I am so thankful for memories like these that I will always cherish. Bill Cosby will always hold a special place in my heart, because he brought my family together through laughter.

Thanks Bill!

Here is a video of the skit I am taking about. I hope you enjoy watching it!

Bill Cosby Chocolate cake by Spookytime

Visit Tia for more flashbacks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birthday Pictures

I want to start by saying...

My birthday is so close to St. Patrick's Day that you would think I have had a St. Patty's Day themed party, however this is just not true. I haven't even liked the color green until the last few years. Maybe next year I can combine my birthday and St. Patrick's Day. I guess you will just have to wait and see.

Here are a bunch of pictures from my birthday that I wanted to share with you. Let me just start by saying that I have the most amazing husband! You will come to agree with me by the time you finish this blog post, at least that's my goal.

Jon made this invitation for my birthday party. He did such a good job! He knows that I am crazy about the Elephant and Piggie books! Jon sent this invite out to our friends telling them to keep this a secret from me.

I had to work all day. I got home to find Jon cooking and there were flowers waiting for me on the kitchen table. They smelled so good!

Jon had gotten off work and rushed home to start making my birthday dinner of Chinese food. He told me that we had guests coming over! I was so surprised!

I am madly in love with this man!

Brenda and I work together and she was one of my many surprise guests! We decided to make our NCAA picks while Jon was busy cooking up a storm.

Jon chopped up these very spicy Chinese peppers, so that he could add them to his food. I am a baby and cannot tolerate many of these in my food, so Jon makes two separate dishes.

Our friend Bryan, Tabitha, and Wyatt showed up next with a birthday present for me. Isn't it beautiful!? They are so sweet and I just love it!

Tabitha, Wyatt, and me...Jon and I are really love this family.

Now it's the guys turn for a picture. Wyatt and Jon are matching.

Jon did an incredible job on dinner. He made all of my favorite dishes!

I just had to take a picture with my food, because it was so good!

For months I have been telling Brenda about Jon's Chinese food and this time she got to see for herself, just how good it is!

We went with Peanut Butter Rice Krispies treats this year. They were good! Oh I am holding on the my birthday tea light candle.

I was going to label my cup, "Birthday Princess", but thought that would be taking it too far.

Michael stayed later than everyone else, so we played the game of Life.

I was a teacher making $90,000 a year!

Jon was a police officer making only $30,000 a year.

By the end of the game I had 5 children! I had twins (a boy and a girl), then I had a baby girl, and then I adopted twins (a boy and a girl). There wasn't enough room in my small car for everyone.

It really was a great birthday party!! I had so much fun visiting with friends. I was showered with love and I am so thankful for that. Jon did such an incredible job, didn't he!?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...