Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eat Clean on a Budget with Easter Dinner Ideas!

This is such a special week for my family, y'all! We celebrate Easter with our families and it is packed full of traditions, memories, and time with the ones we love. It also means food! But I know most of us want to know how to enjoy a wonderful family Easter dinner and still not compromise our budgets and healthy eating habits that we have established over these past weeks together. I have some options for you that will still leave your whole family happy and not add to the scale!

This week at ALDI, I splurged a little. We have saved so much money in our grocery budgets and I was craving some of my more expensive meals. Now that you have the hang of this you can space them out in your weekly meal plans, but I did want to go ahead and share them with you now. Even though I splurged, I got a bunch of food and still stayed under a hundred dollars for the entire week! I don't know about you, but anywhere else I can easily drop $150-$200 on groceries. ALDI saves my family so much money and I think the produce and meat not only taste better, but stay fresher longer than other brands I have tried.

This week my before tax total was $94.84 for all of this food!!!! We pigged out this week and my little boy is going through yet another growth spurt. He ate two ears of corn at dinner one night and really surprised us!

Monday: Corned Beef with Cabbage and Carrots ($13.62) 

This is such an easy meal, but it is amazing in the crockpot! The meat is a little bit of a splurge, but we do end up with leftovers the next day. I absolutely love cabbage prepared this way. You simply dump the carrots in the crockpot, cut up the cabbage and place on top. Then lay your meat on top of your cabbage and I poured the seasoning packet over the meat. Cook on low all day and you can come home to a delicious dinner!

Tuesday: Frittata ($7.37)

I love breakfast for dinner! I have a recipe {HERE} and you can literally throw in anything you choose. I had some mushrooms and tomatoes this week. I sauteed them with a little garlic and some olive oil.

I also added some chopped, cooked bacon. I tried the new "Never Any" line from ALDI and it was delicious! This frittata is great heated the next day for breakfast!

Wednesday: Turkey Sausage and Grilled Veggies ($11.36)
Early spring means lots of grill time for us. We love evenings on our patio watching Caleb ride his four wheeler and our puppy play in the yard. It's a great time for Ryan and me to just unwind from the day and catch up.

I wrap my corn in foil and make packets to hold my bell peppers and mushrooms. We simply grill everything until tender and the sausage links are cooked through. I do add a little olive oil and garlic seasoning to my veggies and they are wonderful!

Thursday: Pot Roast with Carrots and Side Salad or Sweet Potato ($7.06)

Simply dump the carrots in the crockpot, add your meat and a half cup of water and cook on low all day. I serve with a side salad, but you can also serve with a sweet potato and it is delicious!!!

Friday: Grilled Steak and Veggies ($11.42)

I bought a cut of Carne Asada steak and marinated it with some of my garlic and a little olive oil. I also added some onion seasoning from my pantry. I let it sit in a baggie in my fridge overnight. I grilled it with asparagus, corn and mushrooms. This was by far my husband's favorite meal. I sliced the steak into thin strips after cooking and it had so much flavor! 

Saturday: Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and a Salad ($3.92)

I coated my chicken in paprika, salt and pepper and grilled it. We kept it simple with a sweet potato and a salad. I baked all my sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and kept them in the fridge to just grab and go this week with dinners and lunches. It make a big difference! 

Easter Sunday: Ham with Pineapple, Sweet Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Steamed Cauliflower ($17.37)

I actually baked my ham and pineapple earlier in the week so I could have part of it for lunches on my salads. This ham really helped stretch my grocery budget this week. You can cut it up and serve it with brown rice in a stir fry for lunch or dinner or on a salad. You just a lot for your money! The ham was only $10.81 and I got a bunch of meat from it. I also saved my ham bone to make bean and ham soup later on. You can find my recipe {HERE}. 

ALDI has the best deal in town on pinaepples! You can get fresh pineapple for $.99 each! If you've never had fresh pineapple, you are missing out.

Just rip off the top, gently shave off the sides, and cut around the pineapple leaving the core (center). 

I rubbed and sprinkled just a little organic light brown sugar on my ham and pineapple. Add about an inch of water to your baking dish and cover everything in foil. Bake at 350 degrees. You typically bake your ham for 22 minutes per pound.

Serve with sweet potatoes, steamed brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. This meal is still special and delicious without sabotaging all of your efforts!

The rest of my budget went to salads and eggs for the week for lunches and breakfasts. I made an extra frittata to change things up! And I will leave you with a grocery list {HERE} to keep things simple!

Don't forget to find the amazing deals I discover at ALDI by following them here:
ALDI Website:
Pinterest (for GREAT recipes):

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My posts with ALDI are wrapping up this week. If you have enjoyed our posts and ideas, please shout out to ALDI and all over social media! Tell us you want to see more! The way you do that is by sharing this post.

I appreciate each and every one of you who has taken the time to do that for me! I'd love to keep posting for all of you! And from my family to yours, we wish you a happy Easter and may God bless each of you! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weight and Inch Loss Updates

I'm guessing it's about time for a long overdue weight loss/inch loss update, right? We all like those, am I right? Last year was a real struggle for me. My health battle was my main focus and I regained about 30 pounds. My energy levels were off because I was doing everything I could to just survive. I was misdiagnosed for most of the year and then I faced a real diagnosis. Reality hit me square in the face. I could either let it define me or I could learn to manage it the best I could. I decided to tackle things the best way I knew how: through living a healthy lifestyle. Everything over the past four years has taught me that a healthy lifestyle doesn't just help my waistline. It touches every aspect of my life. I took the time to dial down what worked for my body and then I relentlessly pursued a happy, healthy life. 

I have a very healthy relationship with food and exercise now. I am blessed with wonderful relationships and friendships. And I have peace finally... and my body is showing it.

I am only 4 pounds heavier than my lightest adult weight two years ago. But then it doesn't end there... My actual measurements tell me I am at my smallest size ever as an adult. I am more muscular than I have ever been. Thank you, Zumba® fitness!

My previously measurements in 2014:

Bust 35.5
Waist 27
Abdomen (My belly pooch) 33.5
Hips 37.25
Right Upper Leg 21.5
Right Lower Leg 16.25
Right Calf 15
Left Upper Leg 21.5
Left Lower Leg 16.75
Left Calf 14.75
Right Arm 10.75
Left Arm 10.75

As of today:
Bust 35
Waist 27
Abdomen 32.5
Hips 36.5
Right Upper Leg 21
Right Lower Leg 15.75
Right Calf 14.5
Left Upper Leg 21
Left Lower Leg 16.5
Left Calf 14.5
Right Arm 10.75
Left Arm 10.75

I eat things I want in moderation and I workout to have fun. I don't torture myself! I simply workout with all of my favorite people twice a week in our Zumba® fitness classes. I sweat and laugh! Sometimes I eat doughnuts and fried rice, but I refuse to feel guilty and eliminate anything that brings me joy. I don't have fried rice every single day and I don't eat until I am stuffed sick. It's all about balance and moderation. I plan to talk about my lifestyle a little more in depth in the next few weeks. Do you have any specific questions for me?

If you're motivated by my progress or just plain happen to like stopping by my blog, would you take a moment to share it on Facebook? I really appreciate it!  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where Have We Been?!?

I've got so much to catch up on! I was talking to my husband this weekend and I realized that blogging is just on the back burner of my life right now. Our Zumba® fitness ministry at church has taken over and is growing bigger than anything we ever imagined. We moved to our church's gym and had a huge party to celebrate it. I thought maybe we'd have a few extra ladies, but I was not expecting close to 80 women to show up! I can remember the days when there were only five of us working out together. To lead almost 80 was a very exhilarating, humbling experience. 

I will say it time after time, I cannot do what I do without these two ladies by my side. They are my best friends and I am so encouraged by them every day. There are even times they ensure my own sanity! If I ever need an example of amazing Christian women, I look no further to my left or my right side. God has blessed me beyond measure with these two. 

No party would be complete without zebra striped balloons and tons of girly colors! 

I was so amazed by the number of women who poured through the doors! Area businesses donated over $1000 worth of prizes to giveaway to our ladies throughout the night. It was just amazing!

This guy right here was my rock throughout the week leading up to our party. I had a feeling it would be my largest class ever and I was so nervous. I am probably the shyest Zumba® instructor you will ever meet. I love my girls, but lots of new people really do overwhelm me. I'm fine once I get to know everyone, but dang I am a wreck before that! My husband was so sweet and gave me pep talks throughout the day. 

When I'm not teaching Zumba® fitness, I am spending lots of time with this little one. We went on a field trip to the Tennessee Aquarium and had a great time together.

Until a couple of days later.... I put on my new workout pants for the day and I felt anything but fierce. I thought my allergies had kicked up, but class really seemed to drain me. I got in my car to come home and I don't really remember making it to the bed. I remember asking my husband to just call my dad to let him know I probably wouldn't be at work the next day. I never call in. 

I ran a high fever all night and then we woke up with a sick Caleb the next morning. We both ended up with Type A flu. I also had a respiratory infection. For two whole days we never left the bed. Caleb and I have never been sick together nor have we ever had the flu. Luckily, Ryan took great care of us and he never caught the flu. 

I was able to drink ginger tea throughout my illness and I think it helped me so much. I also never had a migraine during my sickness.

On day three Caleb was doing a lot better! His temperature got scary high. We were borderline going to the hospital with him.

I can say I've never seen him sleep this much in his whole life. He's always on the go and I would much rather him stay active.

On Monday, I was back to Zumba® class but I took it very easy. 

By the following Thursday I was back to my regular self! My Zumba® mama made me a new sign for our new spot and I love it! She played off my initials and it's so cute!

My high school Z-baby is back too! She finally got a different job and we have her back in class. I am so excited!!! 

Caleb's school pictures arrived too. Can y'all believe how big he looks? He's just in Kindergarten!

We have finally welcomed spring and things around the house are looking gorgeous! I enjoy just sitting outside watching Caleb play.

I've started refreshing my wardrobe and I've picked things for our upcoming trip. I am looking forward to pretty spring pictures with Caleb. I've been working out harder in class and the extra effort is paying off. It's so exciting to try on clothes now!

I also took a trip to ALDI this weekend so watch the blog this week for that! I have some Easter dinner ideas, grilling ideas, and crockpot ideas!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clean Eating with ALDI ... And How Much I've Lost While Doing It!

We're back for another week of money saving, waist trimming, family friendly meal planning ideas with ALDI! I've had a lot of fun talking to everyone about trying their own local ALDI stores and checking out the fresh produce, great meat selections, and other fabulous deals you can find. I personally love their cheese. So do my hips, but that's not helping me win my Biggest Loser Challenge in my Zumba® fitness group either. Luckily all of these clean eating posts have pushed me into some awesome results so far! Since January 1, 2016, I have lost only two pounds. But I have lost 2 inches in my bust area, 2.5 inches in my waist, 3/4 inch in my abdomen, 3 inches in my hips, 2 inches in my thigh area, 1/2 inch in my calf area, and 1 inch in each arm. 11.75 inches total. That's actually a lot of progress because I did not have a lot to lose! I am working out twice a week and eating real, nutritious food. I'm not losing a ton of weight, but I am toning. That's because I am making better food choices. You can do this yourself on a budget with ALDI. So, let's jump in! I spent a total of $60.22 before tax at ALDI on breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. 

Monday: Hot Wings with a Salad ($2.99) 

I use my pressure cooker for my hot wings, but you can simply bake these in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. I turned to my fully stocked pantry for the ALDI hot wing sauce. It has chili peppers, vinegar and salt. I coat my chicken wings in the sauce and cook them. I serve this with a salad and my guys love it! It doesn't feel like a "healthy" meal and I am still sticking to my clean eating. I do eat the skin, because I like it. I believe it's okay in moderation. Obviously I'm not eating it every single day. 

Tuesday: Blackened Chicken with Mango Salsa ($6.80)

This recipe is a little more involved, but it is so worth the effort! Your family will absolutely love it! You can save the extra spices to use on fish or more chicken later on. This will be a repeat. 

2 fresh mangoes (diced) ($1.98)
1/4 cup diced pineapple ($.99)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 clove garlic minced
2  limes (you're going to squeeze them!!!) ($.29 each)
salt and pepper ( to taste)

3 boneless chicken breasts ($3.25)
• Sprinkle spices (below) over chicken to cover both sides.
• Heat about a tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet (on low heat until melted, then turn it up)
• Place chicken in hot pan and cook till dark in color (about 4 minutes per side or until juices are clear)
• Allow to rest a couple minutes on a warm plate
• Spoon some mango salsa on top (Your mango salsa is your first 8 ingredients mixed together!)

• Mix the seven spices & save for future use in a spice shaker:
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Wednesday: Cajun Quinoa ($3.29)
I love quinoa! It's a super grain, but it's also packed with protein. I chose the organic Simple Nature quinoa from ALDI for my Cajun Quinoa. I was craving something spicy for dinner and this was so good. I cooked my ground turkey ($3.29) , with diced red onion, one diced bell pepper (leftover from last week), a cup of diced celery (leftover from last week), and added some garlic to taste. I added just a little bit of dash of red pepper flakes and then added my organic chicken broth and quinoa. I let the quinoa cook according to the package directions and it was amazing! 

Thursday: Spaghetti ($6.39) 

I love spaghetti! My husband is part Italian and I think that's rubbed off on me. It's also an awesome opportunity to sneak in some nutrition. Red sauce covers up everything, y'all. Want to blend up carrots, cucumbers, and spinach? Throw it in red sauce. Kids will NEVER know. Add a little more oregano and garlic and no one will know you snuck in the extras. I have been doing this for years to my family. I put lots of meat in my sauce and it's nice and chunky.

I always begin with an organic sauce ($1.89) from ALDI. I can read the simple ingredients and build from there. Brown your meat. I sometimes use ground turkey, deer meat, or just regular beef ($4.50). If the fat content is high, I simply drain my meat and rinse it before we continue with the cooking.

I always let my sauce simmer in the crockpot all day. All of the flavors mesh together and it is amazing. Then you can take it two directions. If you aren't going all out clean eating, serve it over healthier pasta options from ALDI. You can use their gluten free line (which is awesome....but cook it longer than package me), or you can use brown rice instead. It's still good that way. Or you can break out the veggie spiralizer and make your own zoodles. Simply spiral your noodles, saute them and pour that amazing sauce over them. I use zucchini zoodles and they are so good! 

Friday: Lettuce Tacos ($7.28)

When I cooked the ground beef ($4.50) for my spaghetti sauce, I also had enough for tacos the next night. I just saved half. You can make your own taco seasoning mix to have on hand. I keep it in my pantry for taco nights and it doesn't have harmful junk added in! I add it to taste and then start making our lettuce tacos. Just tear off a leaf of lettuce ($.89), fill it with some taco seasoning, add your favorite taco toppings (cheese - $1.89) and enjoy!
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper (optional)

Saturday: Salmon and Squash ($6.49)

This is a quick and easy meal. I had leftover salmon ($3.50) from our meal plan last time. I baked our salmon in the oven at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. I then boiled diced squash ($2.99) on the stove. I serve with a salad and it was an easy meal.

Sunday: Chicken Salad ($4.63)

I had some leftover baked chicken from our lunches. I bake all my chicken at the beginning of the week so we can grab and go. It's just so much easier for us. I diced the chicken (one and a half cups), one red onion, an avocado ($.89), and a cucumber ($.49) and mixed it together. I added salt, pepper and some olive oil to the mixture. I served this with a side salad and it was delicious! It will be a great meal on a warmer day. 

All of our salad stuff for the week costs $17.89. You can sub in any fresh veggie of your choosing. Make it what you and your family enjoy and will eat. This is simply a guide. We spent $3.18 on eggs and $1.28 on bananas. 

Our breakfasts are usually quick and easy. We scramble eggs or eat fruit. Sometimes both. It doesn't bother us one bit to eat the same thing every day. The old fashioned oatmeal is also a good choice with fruit. Lunch is leftovers! We had a lot of leftovers this week. Our meals seemed to stretch a whole lot farther and I was really pleased with it! 

You can click on your grocery list {HERE}! 

I keep a fully stocked pantry of spices. I don't normally have to buy these items at the store and it saves me so much money! ALDI is also a great place to find some of them as well. 

If you want to follow ALDI also for great deals, recipes, and ideas, you can find them here:

ALDI Website:
Pinterest (for GREAT recipes):

They have some great buys right before Easter! I have noticed some awesome things you should stock up on now if you plan to host Easter lunch or dinner with your families.

I really hope this blog post gave you some fresh new ideas this week for quick, easy dinner ideas!

I does take a lot of time to create these and I love you guys. I want to see you succeed. I want to help you take care of your families and yourselves. If you want to help me back and share the love, please take a moment to share this post on social media with your friends and family. Not only does it share my little blog and help my family, but it also helps your people too! We all win and I keep posting away!

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