May 26, 2014

Summer Corn Salad

This weekend, my aunt and uncle hosted their annual Memorial Day weekend barbecue.  Of course, in true family barbecue tradition, it was a pitch in meal.

I had a couple strategies for what I would bring...

Strategy 1:  I decided to bring a healthy veggie salad that I could eat and not feel guilty about.

Strategy 2:  I have been wanting to try this recipe I found on Pinterest for banana pudding.  It is Paula Deen's recipe, so we all know how that goes as far as fat and sugar go.  HOWEVER, I still wanted to try it.  So, instead of making an entire batch that I would be tempted to eat my way through at home, I decided to make it to share.  I had one serving and it was delicious.  I sent some more home with family and I am taking some to work to give to some co-workers.  I still got to indulge in trying a dessert I have wanted to try, but I don't have the guilt associated with it -- which is what I WOULD have if it was still in my fridge calling my name.

Today, I would like to share the recipe for the corn salad. I found the recipe on the all recipes website. I have invented a few of my own dishes, but I mostly find them online.  I am going to share it here, but I cannot take credit for anything other than following a very simple recipe.

This recipe is just so pretty.  It really is like summer in a bowl.

I started out cooking 8 ears of corn in a pot.  When they were finished, I ran cold water over them to help cool them off.  Then, I began cutting the corn off the cob.  I love it when the corn comes off in these big pieces.  Fresh sweet corn is one of my favorite things about summer eating!

I set the cut corn off to the side to cool and then began on the rest of the salad.  The recipe calls for garden fresh tomatoes.  Well, I don't have any of those yet.  When it comes to store bought tomatoes, I prefer the sweetness of the grape tomatoes.  I cannot WAIT to make this salad when I have tomatoes straight from the garden though!  

Anyway, I sliced the tomatoes in two and added chopped sweet onion and fresh basil.  I rolled the basil leaves and sliced them into little ribbons (I, uh, learned that from Rachael Ray back when she did 30 Minute Meals...thanks, Rach!)  

Next, I put in the corn and added some salt and pepper.  The dressing is simple!  I just mixed 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar.  I tossed it together and put it in the fridge to chill for later.  This would be yummy at room temperature also.

This was a great dish.  I can definitely see myself making this as a light summer side dish.  I think it would be fantastic paired with fish or shrimp.

It was a big hit at the barbecue!  Enjoy!!

Summer Corn Salad

8 ears of corn, cooked
3 large, fresh tomatoes (I used a container of grape tomatoes and a container of yellow cherry tomatoes)
Half of a sweet onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Cook ears of corn.  I used boiling water, but this could be awesome with grilled corn also!
  2. Take the corn off the cob and place in a dish.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Chop tomatoes, onion, and basil.  Place in your salad bowl.
  4. Add in corn and toss together.
  5. Combine vinegar and oil.  Toss into the salad.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

May 19, 2014


I could start this blog entry with a metaphor about how my mission to get fit is like a roller-coaster, but I am not.  That is a given, right?

Right. (And it has been used 6 million times, Courtney...)


This past Friday I chaperoned the Senior class trip to Kings Island.   Because I did not want to sit around all day staring at people having fun (most of the other chaperones had already stated that they did not plan to ride a single ride), I invited Tim along with me.  He agreed, but his only stipulation is that I actually got on some roller-coasters with him.  Well, ok, then...

Ok...before I continue...some back story.

I have been afraid my whole life.  Afraid of change.  Afraid of making mistakes.  Afraid of disappointing others. Afraid of getting hurt.  Afraid of failure.  AFRAID.  This past year has been particularly difficult for me.  I have had to face challenges in my professional life that I have NEVER encountered before.  These challenges put me face to face with the fears mentioned above.

When all of these fears came to a head, I had to make the decision to be a little more selfish -- to stop putting my professional life before my mental health and to stop always putting the needs of others before my own.  Of course, I will always put the needs of my children first...that is a given.  HOWEVER, I will not put the needs of people that don't give a crap about me and my welfare before myself.  This has been something I have been working on.  It has not been easy, and lately my stress levels have started to build up again.  What can I say?  This time of year is a busy and stressful one for school counselors.  It is kind of like our "tax season."

So, fast forward to this past Friday.  I am about to board my first roller-coaster in years with Tim. I am nervous.  I am wondering why I am doing this.  I get on.  We climb the first big hill.  We go down.  I scream. I LOVE IT.  It was so much fun!!!  I screamed the whole way, but it was so freeing. I felt alive! It was the best stress relief I have EVER experienced.  For the rest of the morning, I couldn't figure out why.  I mentioned it to Tim and he said, "You were allowed to scream."  Wow.  Never thought of that. So true.  I was allowed to scream when I was afraid.   I mentioned it to my friend later that day and she agreed with the screaming part, but she also said, "Courtney, you were allowed to have fun! You had no responsibilities at that moment other than to enjoy yourself."  Wow, again.  So true.

So, I guess it took a roller-coaster to help me understand that I need to give myself permission to have fun and to scream every now and then.  Now, I don't plan to walk up and down the streets screaming like a lunatic when I have a bad day, but I will try to get better to voice my concerns so that the stress doesn't build up so much.  THIS will be hard for me.  I despise any form of confrontation.

I guess the point I am trying to make with this extremely  long rant is -- give yourself permission.  Give yourself permission to feel.  Give yourself permission to let it out.  Give yourself permission to enjoy life.  You don't have to be so wrapped up in your responsibilities that you forget what it is like to really live.

Have a great week!

Daily Dose of Del Signore

May 6, 2014

Getting Over It

This month I vowed to try some fitness activities that take me out of my comfort zone.  Well, so far so good.

I started T25 even though I had a lot of conversations with myself over whether or not it was a good idea. When looking at previews of T25, I had the following thoughts...

I cannot make my body move like that!

Is that actually a pool of sweat on the floor in front of that one guy? Yikes!

It looks so haaaaaaaard! 

Damn, that looks painful.

THEN, I saw before and after pictures of people who completed the program.  This picture is the one that sold me!  I think the words that actually came out of my mouth when I saw this were "Great Odin's raven!!" (No joke...)

photo courtesy of Team Beachbody

So, I ordered it and got started last week.

Last week, my kids started swimming lessons at my gym.  While watching them swim I decided that it would be cool to start swimming as a form of exercise in the evenings.  First, I would do T25 at home and then I would drive to the gym to swim.

I arrive at the gym, get my locker, and walk to the pool.  It is FILLED with senior citizens.  I have NO CLUE why this intimidated me, but it did.  I felt like I had stepped into the movie Cocoon.  (If I was in Cocoon, who did that make me?  Steve Guttenberg?)

Is it sad that you younger whippersnappers who are reading this may not even know who Steve Guttenberg is??  I feel sorry for you.  He is Hollywood ROYALTY!  But, I digress...

Walking to the pool I am thinking...

That is a lot of older folk.  Am I like invading their turf or something?

My arm flab is disgusting.  I would look so much cuter without it.

Why do I care how cute I look at the gym?  

These old men are awesome!  They swim so much better than me.

Are they judging me?

Why I am the only one not using one of those little foam bar bells?

Despite these ridiculous thoughts, I got into the pool and swam laps for about 30 minutes.  They were slow laps, but they were laps.

What is the point of me sharing all of this?  I guess the point is that if we are insecure about some things we can try and talk ourselves out of GOOD things.  I am trying so hard to ignore that negative voice in my head and step out of my comfort zone.  It is RIDICULOUS to avoid a pool because there are lots of people in it. They were, by the way, lots of very sweet people.  It also makes ZERO sense to avoid trying a new workout because it might be hard.  Waaaaaah!  Poor baby has to sweat!  Get over it! Isn't challenging yourself the point!?  This is just another way of making the excuses that I discussed earlier this week.  One thing I am learning lately is that if I am comfortable with a workout it is time to shake things up.  I am proud of challenging myself more lately!

It made me think of this awesome quote I saw recently.  It said:

Cry a river. Build a bridge. Get over it.

It may seem harsh but I love it.  Step outside your comfort zone.  Challenge yourself.  We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for!

Meal Plan Ideas...BREAKFAST

I know that when it comes to eating healthier, it is so difficult to come up with meals that are healthy AND taste good.  It is so easy to get bored...and with boredom, comes bad choices.  This week I am going to offer some ideas for each meal of the day.  Of course, we need to start with breakfast!!

What I eat for breakfast usually has to be something quick and portable.  Here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas...

Shakeology Shake

I make a chocolate Shakeology shake nearly every weekday morning.  I love them because they are healthy, tasty, filling, a quick fix, and something I can drink on the way to work.

I usually blend mine up with unsweetend vanilla almond milk, one banana, and some peanut butter.

Sausage "McMuffin"

This is the unhealthy McDonalds version.  I usually devour my healthier version too quickly to take a photo!

I love breakfast sandwiches and have always been a sucker for a Sausage McMuffins from McDonalds.  For obvious reasons, they are not the best choice.  Every now and then I will do a copycat version.  I use Bob Evans turkey sausage patties, Kraft 2% milk singles and whole wheat English muffins.  This breakfast sandwich really is delicious.  I try to be careful though because I know that sausage is packed with sodium.

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Crockpot version

I love to make steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot.  I then refrigerate it and portion it out for the week.  I like to warm it up, add a little milk, and some sliced bananas.  I also like to add in some walnuts if I have them. Organize Yourself Skinny has a lot of great oatmeal recipes!

Western Omelet Egg Scramble

When I go out to breakfast, my favorite thing to get is a Western omelet.  I make my own version at home where I have more control over what goes into it.  I just beat up a couple eggs and toss in some small bits of ham, green peppers, and onions.  I scramble the eggs in a pan and melt a slice of cheese over top.  Yum!

Breakfast Burritos

I basically take the Omelet Egg Scramble and eat inside of a whole wheat tortilla.  I like to eat this with turkey sausage instead of ham though.

Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

I like to toast up a multi grain sandwich thin, spread on some natural peanut butter, and top with banana slices.  Simple, but yummy...

Banana Blueberry Muffins

These are healthy and made with all natural ingredients.  I got the recipe from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.  They are delicious!

What about you?  What are your go to breakfasts?

May 3, 2014

Taking the Excuses Away!

I have made a million and one excuses as to why I cannot do the best I can do with this who healthier lifestyle thing.  I have started to analyze common excuses (all of which I have made many times) and have realized that they are all just that...excuses.   Let's take a closer look at these, shall we?  You know, just in case you are using these excuses to wait to start tomorrow or the next day...or the next day...or on the day where the planets are aligned just so...

Listen, I know we all have busy lives.  I work full time, have kids, and commute over an hour each way to work.  So, trust me, I have used this excuse more times than I can count.  The reality is though, is that there is time.  There are tons of awesome work outs that you can do AT HOME that only last a half an hour or less! Here are some of my favorites:
  • Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (Costs like 10 bucks at Target.)
  • Jillian Michaels Body Revolution
  • Focus T25 (These workouts are AWESOME and only last 25 minutes!!)
  • 21 Day Fix (These are only 30 minutes!)
Had a hard day at work and don't think that you could even think about working out?  Do yoga!!  There are also some great yoga DVDs out there.  I have been doing the yoga workout from the 21 Day Fix workout series lately on nights where I have been particularly stressed at work.  They really relax me.  The important thing is to find something that you enjoy, but that also challenges you a little bit.  Get a variety of videos or line up a variety of activities so that you don't get bored.  I know I would give up right away too, if I did exactly the same workout every night.

Don't want to invest money in workout videos?  Well, I have an answer to that too (You hate me right now dont you?  Damn, she keeps taking away my excuses!!! Bitch...)

Try the Fitness Blender website!  This website has TONS of totally free full length workout videos!  There is everything from yoga, to cardio, to Tabata training workouts!  Do yourself a favor and check it out.

It can be, yes.  There are ways around that though!  Your grocery does not have to make you sick to your stomach if you follow some of these tips:  (Not trying to be a know-it-all...just know that this has worked for me!) 
  • Plan your meals for the week ahead of time and make a shopping list!  Only buy what you need for the week in order to stick to your plan. I know that if I don't do this and build a list I am grabbing something here and something there and before I know it my grocery bill is insane.  Plus, I get home and have a bunch of healthy food, but nothing that goes together to make a decent meal!  Plan, plan, and plan some more!
  • Buy produce that is in season.  Not only is your produce going to be more tasty, it is also going to be plentiful and on sale.  For example, I LOVE watermelon, but I don't buy one during the winter because they are expensive and the watermelon that IS available in January tastes like poo.  
  • Buy frozen veggies!  These are typically cheap, tasty, and EASY to prep.  How many times have you bought fresh broccoli only to not make it and when you are ready to actually cook it, it has gone bad in your crisper?  This is why I buy frozen broccoli florets.  I like the Steamfresh bags.  What is easier than popping the entire bag in the microwave.  You don't even have to dirty any dishes!  Score!!
  • Buy the off-brand versions of healthier foods.  Grocery stores like Meijer, Kroger, and even Target have their own brands of healthier choices -- from meal staples to snack items.  I shop at Meijer and I can actually afford to buy some organic items because they have their own Meijer Organics line and the prices are outstanding!

Trust me, I know.  I have always been the only one in my house working towards fitness goals.  When my husband does try to do this for himself, he has his own method that doesn't always coincide with how I want to do things.  You may not feel like you have support in your home or even among your friends, but there are plenty people out there (present internet company included) who are like-minded.  One of my favorite things to do is join Facebook groups.  I get lots of ideas and support that way.  I have also made a lot of friends.  If that isn't your cup of tea, then the best I can say is that weight loss and fitness are a very personal thing.  We all have a method that we prefer and we all have individual goals.  My alone feeling is a large reason why I decided to document my journey via blogging.  I sought out weight loss blogs and read so many inspirational stories! I saw so many success stories and it helped me realize that this whole thing IS possible!  I decided that I wanted to do the same thing for others.  Plus, I really enjoy writing.  Please feel free to e-mail me or find me on Facebook any time!  I am always more than happy to cheer you along!

YOU CAN DO THIS!!  Excuses are not going to get you any closer to where you want to be and they certainly aren't going to make you feel any better.  Believe in yourself enough to let the excuses go.


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