Monday, November 24, 2014

Healthier Lasagna

I love lasagna.... Actually I love all pasta, all Italian food. Y'all, I married a man with lots of Italian blood in him. My last name is Italian. My body? Loves Italian food....especially my hips. You can imagine how much I've missed lasagna with my weight loss. On Caleb's birthday, I decided to splurge and have some. It was amazing....but not so healthy. 

It got me thinking though....What if I could pump it up with veggies and lower the fat content? I could do that.....

I shredded one and a half cups of carrots, four stalks of celery and an onion. I sauteed them for ten minutes in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and two tablespoons of diced garlic. 

While that was cooking, I browned three pounds of ground venison. You can also use lean beef or ground turkey or even chicken.

To my veggies, I added two cans of diced tomatoes, one small can of tomato paste and two jars of spaghetti sauce. I seasoned my sauce with three tablespoons of oregano.

After the sauce simmered on medium heat for about twenty minutes, I added in the ground deer meat.

While that was simmering, I cooked my lasagna noodles. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while they cook. After the noodles were cooked, I drained them and began layering my lasagna.

I used low fat ricotta cheese and mozzarella in my lasagna. Just throw it in the oven for 30 minutes and it's all done! 

No, you cannot tell it's healthier. You can't taste the extra veggies. And you sure can't tell it has deer meat in it. I made three pans of lasagna with this. You can freeze two pans for later! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

First Tennessee Game

Ryan and I have looked forward to the day we could take Caleb to his first Tennessee football game. We are huge Vols fans and we wanted to share that with Caleb. Luckily for us, he was just as excited as we were!

Caleb must be going through another growth spurt lately because he can eat all day. We started out with lunch at Cracker Barrel.

We visited the Bass Pro Shop just north of Knoxville. Of course my two guys want to stay in the fishing department. Caleb tried to examine every single lure there. Do you understand how many rows of lures Bass Pro has?

We had dinner at Aubrey's and then headed to the stadium. There was so much Orange and White! I loved it!

We passed the ESPN College Football bus! Tebow was there and it was so exciting.

Caleb was in awe of the field and stadium. He kept saying, "This is the same field I saw on TV!!!"

By halftime, we had a worn down little boy. The couple beside us left at halftime and offered their seats for Caleb to lay down on. I wrapped him up in all of the blankets.

Five minutes later.... I had a passed out little boy! The Tennessee stadium has some of the loudest fans in the country. And my little boy can sleep through it all. Unbelievable.

Once he was warm and cozy, he slept through all of it.

So he technically made it through half of his first Tennessee game!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Finds

I'm going to change things up a bit today. We're getting closer to the holiday season and there are some fabulous deals I'm loving. Since losing a lot of weight, I've found myself really wanting to restyle my entire wardrobe. 

I've noticed I'm trying bolder prints and brighter colors lately. I recently purged my closet of all of my too large clothes and have fully accepted my new smaller size. It was tough at first because it was sort of a security blanket kind of thing. But I really don't need to give myself an easy excuse if I regain any weight. 

Now that my closet isn't as full, I can shop around for great new things. I thought I could share some of the things I'm loving with y'all today! 

I love pretty dresses or tunics with leggings and boots in the fall. This pretty dress is a steal today! It would be so cute paired with these boots

I'm pretty sure these rain boots would be fabulous around the marina. I love anything with anchors. A red tunic and navy leggings would be awesome. 

I don't own any grey boots yet, but these would also be cute. I like the quilted look at the top and that they're easy to clean. With Caleb around, I need things that can just be wiped off and still look great. They have them in black and brown too! 

I absolutely love these leggings! Under a solid colored tunic and paired with the right boots, they would be so cute. 

I'm also starting to plan out a new room for Caleb. We are going with a sportsman theme. I want to do a lot of neutrals so things can change and evolve as he grows older. I think this quilt would be perfect for him (minus the rock star and guitar pillows). 

I'm also fairly sure I found something I desperately need in my life! How cute is this notepad? I am a sucker for stationary. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wishing and Hoping

It has been so cold here this week! It feels like the holidays are just around the corner and we decided to kick off the season early!

We drove through a light display this week and it was beautiful. Everything was set to music and it was really pretty! We stayed warm and saw lights.... Total win! Someone spent some serious time putting up all of the lights. They have a lot more patience than I do!

Caleb has so much excitement this year! It's fun watching him get into it. He was certain he spotted Rudolph flying above us.

He was so excited to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas this year. He also asked for stuff for his daddy. Bless his little heart! I'm pretty sure he wants things for his daddy so that he can use them too....It's just a hunch. 

I got tickled because Caleb looks so big sitting on Santa's lap this year! There's absolutely no fear of the man in red. We completely understand that Santa equals lots of toys.

Our family is ready to celebrate the holidays! I'm sure it's going to be fun, action packed, and blessed. This is our year to have my stepchildren with us for Christmas and we are anxiously counting down the days until we can all be together. I'm begging Ryan to bring down my decorations and tree already!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blessings, Positivity, and Struggles

November is a time for all of us to count our blessings. I've noticed so many friends (myself included) on Facebook listing something they are thankful for each day in November. It's such a breath of fresh air for Facebook! I love seeing people acknowledge the little things that add up to very blessed lives. I feel as though Facebook can be such a negative thing at times. 

I admit that it's tough reading my Facebook feed. There's so much drama, negativity, and ugliness. I absolutely love seeing many of my friends and family combating the negativity with posts of their families, scriptures, inspirational stories, and joy! I love sharing in the happiness of others. 

Even though there is still a lot of happiness on Facebook, it can also invoke problems for others. 

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A lot of women struggle with insecurity and comparison. I admit I have been there. It's tough sometimes, especially when we are struggling personally. It is so very easy to get caught in the trap of comparing your life to what people present online. For those of us who do not abuse social media and load up our pages with negativity, you're only going to see the highlights of our lives. I don't know if you're like me, but I only post the happy stuff! Sure, it looks like my life is all sunshine and butterflies if you go by what's presented online. But the reality is I am a real person who struggles. There are some periods of my life that are easier than others. I am beyond blessed and I realize that. I focus on my blessings more as I get older and the negativity seems to not be such a big deal most of the time. 

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I believe in happiness and positivity. I believe in respecting my husband and family. Do I struggle with them sometimes? Yes! It's because we spend time together and are growing together. It's a natural part of life. 

I believe in not posting things I wouldn't want my own mother or my mother-in-law to read. I respect those two women and I value their opinions. If there's a question that I would bring them any sort of embarrassment, I don't post it! We all have those people in our lives.... the ones that we would hate to disappoint. Whoever that is for you, keep them in mind when sharing things on social media! 

I respect my employers and my job. I won't post anything negative about the company or people who have supported and cared for my family for all of these years. Complaining about a hard day's work once isn't worth tarnishing all of the times we have been taken care of over the years from a family owned business. The good far outweighs the bad, but people mostly remember the bad when you blast it on social media. 

I also understand that the internet lasts. It's not going to forget those really embarrassing or trashy pictures people are always posting! Anything I write or share could possibly be viewed by my own child one day. I can't possibly teach him to live a certain way if I don't do the same. How embarrassing is it going to be for some of these children when they get a little older and finally see how their parents have acted online? 

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I get overwhelmed easily. I resist change, even good change. I am OCD and it drives some people crazy. I seem snobby when you first meet me because I am so terribly shy and it makes me awkward. Most people realize I am far from snobby once they get to know me....and then I don't ever shut up. I talk way too much. I hog the middle of the bed. I roll my eyes even when I don't mean to. I am a planner and I expect everyone else to be on the same exact page at all times. I have very high expectations for people. I don't trust easily. I've had my heart completely broken. I've broken a few myself. I've hurt people. I'm bossy.....extremely bossy. I'm spoiled and I expect to maintain that status at all times. My memory is horrible. I get my feelings hurt so very easily. I take everything personally. 

I am flawed, but I am so blessed. I focus on the good and try to put the bad out of my mind. I can't change the past. I can only inspire, be kind, and appreciate things now. I try my best and I work hard. I'm just as flawed as the next person, but how I conduct myself is what makes the difference. A positive person attracts good people, looks for the best in all situations, and makes the most of the things given to them. It sometimes doesn't come naturally, but there's plenty of opportunities to practice it. 

Find the joy in your life. Count your blessings. Focus on all the things you can be thankful for. And be happy for those around you! It will change you inside and out. 


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