Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving - Christmas

Eek its Really here!

Go time for the Holiday Season!

Its crazy busy, we can stress ourselves out and forget what we are truly celebrating, faith family and friends.

Don't wait to start your goals on January 1st! Go for them now, it will make you more relaxed  proud of your accomplishments and easier to put a smile on your face when your kids melt down during your family photo shoot.


There are 21 Days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means you can successfully complete one round of the 21 day fix before Christmas!  5-10lbs before Christmas not by being super strict and not enjoying yourself, but by make healthy choices and learning all about moderation and motivation.

Black Friday Deals Begin Today ! Message for the deals and check back later for some last minute recipes!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

In the blink of an eye!

Four year ago today our family was complete! 
After I said "we don't need a baby"! 
After one cerclage, modified bed rest, weekly injections, the most amazing team of doctors at AGH and West Penn, with a fully staffed OR prepped and ready for whatever this not quite built to birth body gave them they were prepared. 
The last four years have been amazing crazy sleepless stressful and so fun and have gone by so fast. When we sit as think about where everyone will be in another four it's a little too much emotion for me. 
So today  "Baby Soapie" as Kaden always called her - is four not to put too much pressure on her but she really did bridge the gap with her 2 siblings that had no idea how to be a brother or a sister and she will never know life any other way. 

Happy Birthday Baby girl! Always shine bright!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Winner Winner Chicken (well Fish) Dinner!

There are a few restaurants we go to that the only thing I order is a fish taco. They are great but generally leave me missing home and wanting to jump on a plane to get a California fish taco.

So I thought I would try and create my own. Something light, simple, the kids might it it and well yummy.

I really wanted to create one with a crunchy purple cabbabe slaw, but I needed to get the kids to try this first and I thought the color may not appeal to my picky one (I'll let you guess which of my three that may be ! ) So I went with a simple Napa Cabbage slaw (lime juice, evoo and a little red wine vinegar).  It was yummy but napa cabbage is soft and I really wanted crunch so next time I will try the purple!

Pictures and food did not happen that night, the weather was gorgeous I was running the teenager back and forth and my younger 2 were running in and out so I was all over the place while attempting to create this yummy goodness, which is par for the course for all of us right?


Here's How I started:

Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

Tilapia Filets - Baked the night before,  The night of tacos I cut cubed and shredded it up a bit before tossing into a large pan with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper to your liking.

Corn Tortillas - place them on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes

Veggie Toppings - Chopped up fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, plus the nappa cabbage slaw I really wanted a very fresh light flavor.

Cilantro lime Dressing  -

1/4 cup plus 1 large spoonful of greek yogurt
Juice from 1 lime minus 1 tablespoon (save the tablespoon for the cabbage slaw)
Cilantro to your taste - I used a pretty big handful from the fresh herb package I picked up at the local grocer.  If I was serving this to my grandmother I would have used quite a bit less, she makes pretty funny faces when you even mention the word Cilantro, however I love it! So be warned if I invite you over to try this, there will be a lot of Cilantro.

Salt and peper to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and presto! Yummy light dressing for your fish tacos.

Now I believe the key is in the assembly, fish tacos are a little more delicate as are corn tortillas so I put a light spread of the Cilantro lime dressing in the center of the corn tortilla and build from there this way the ingredients seem to stay in place and not fall out when you take your first scrumptious bite.




Truly kid approved! The pickiest one int he house I never said one word about eating which is generally a nightly occurrence!

Hope you enjoy!


 ~ B


Monday, October 27, 2014

One Week in a Day (or just a few hours)


Rachel Ray I am not, although I'd like to be her! And really this may last about 3 days.
Confession - Somewhere on Social Media last week a friend asked if you could do anything for one day what would it be, I would love to have my own restaurant. Crazy, but I love to cook for people, in theory, I'm always nervous that no one will like what I cook, so I don't do it very often and honestly rarely invite people over to experience my creations.

Last week was crazy, this week is setting up to be the same, ending with Halloween and then a very Frozen Birthday party for a certain 3yr old who is turning 4 even though she has promised to stay little forever.

She must have had her fingers crossed when she made that promise!


So last night this same three year old took a very, very late nap. At dinner time. Little man was playing with friends in the neighborhood, the teenager was working on homework (AP History = lots of work!).

What was a really tired mom to do?  Cook, I guess. I did not plan on it. I had somethings ready to go, Chili was in the crockpot, but nobody was ready to eat and I pretty much knew if I sat down I was not getting back up.

I set to work making the following:

Roasted Cauliflower

Homemade Sweet potato Fries

3 Baked Sweet Potatoes

Polenta - I have a very hungry growing boy on my hands trying to find different things for him to eat, not sure if this will be a winner.

Tilapia - This will turn into fish tacos tonight

Home made Spaghetti Sauce

Honestly I'm not sure how much of this will make it into a dinner this week as the growing boy may eat all of this as an afternoon snack today.

So clearly I will need to add things to what I precooked, probably salad one day, Chicken another and one night will be a past night, which will probably mean I will have a request for meatballs, but its a start right?

Sorry no pictures, my phone was not charged, but that honestly was probably why I was able to get so much done because for the few hours I was working on this i didn't touch my phone even one time!


Do you cook ahead?


~ brandee




Thursday, October 23, 2014

A New Mancave must have!

Three kids, a picky husband and one tired mom.

Eating dinner out can be a little bit of a challenge for us. There are a few places we like as a family, a few places the kids like that is only a mom treat, and a few that they like to go with Dad.  That said we really do not eat out often, I direct you back to the first line.

One Day last weekend however, the girls and I went for a quick dinner out while the boys where at Console Energy Center cheering on the Penguins.

We tried a new flat bread that looked really yummy. My oldest said I bet we can make this..... hmmmmm I thought ya, we probably can.


So my next trip to Costco they happened to have NAAN bread. Not necessarily the cleanest choice, but its also not pizza so we gave it a try.

A few Ingredients that we usually have on hand that you would need for this:

Chicken - chopped into bite size pieces.
 I usually buy 1 Rotisserie Chicken per week, cut up and use it for a few different meals/lunches a week. Its just one of the ways I make meal prep easier.  I have a great recipe for Clean Chicken salad that everyone loves maybe I'll share next week.


Spinach - Big bag of organic Spinach - give it a quick chop so when you bit into it you are not getting a string of spinach hanging out of your mouth.

Homemade Balsamic Dressing - so easy and yummy and you know that the ingredients are fresh and healthy.

Shredded Cheese -

The how to:

Drizzle the balsamic dressing in a saute pan, toss in the amount of spinach you think you need then double it! Spinach cooks down quite a bit so i always end up needing to double or triple the amount i think I need.

Drizzle more balsamic on each flat bread (make it look pretty, restaurant style, this always makes my kids like things I make a little more.)

Load on the chopped chicken, sauteed spinach and a sprinkle of shredded cheese turn your oven to 350 and place them on a pizza pan in the oven for 15-minutes or under the broiler if you like things a little crispy.
I suggest making extra, as I did so that if you happen to work late you can come home and have one for snack, although don't plan on it, because i tried this last night (yep I was eating, snacking late, but its just so yummy I really wanted it) as I was taking one bite other people realized there was one remaining flat bread and it was quickly stolen from me.

So like I said, Kid tested husband approved, even in the man-cave!




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Power of a simple smile.

The end of last week quickly went downhill and became crazy.

We have worked hard to create calm in our home this fall. It has seemed to really benefit everyone. Sometimes though things just spiral and there is nothing you can do.

Sick Kids. Two parents with abnormal work schedules (not a typical 9-5 in our house) an emergent trip to the dentist, sick pets. None of these things were catastrophic, just challenging.


Then Friday arrived and my kids were looking forward to seeing cousins at a Birthday party. Visiting family requires planning as neither Mr. Mancave or myself are from the Pittsburgh area. I prepped planned and was ready to roll. Two happy kids in tow ready to party with their cousins.  Jumped on the turnpike and drove happily along for maybe 10 minutes then everyone fell asleep.  Then about 5 minutes later, Traffic....Completely.....Stopped.....Moving..... and stayed that way for over an hour.


Both kids were asleep so I took this time to listen to some Beachbody Podcasts focusing on how I can be a better coach at helping people achieve their goals. Focusing outward on others really helped to keep me calm and besides sleeping kids, it was like a mommy time out that I hadn't planned on that day.

Then one by one the kids woke up, and we were still sitting at least moving slowly by that point. Kids trapped in a car excited to be somewhere that we were now an hour late for and it was clear we wouldn't get there anytime soon.  I stayed calm so guess what, so did they, My  nine year old son and three year old daughter stuck in a car barely going 5mph, they were happy. Singing even. I couldn't believe it. Even when the semi wouldn't let me merge and I really felt the road rage building I just let it go.... (no frozen reference intended! ).

Eventually we did arrive and as we exited the turnpike (if you do not live on the east- we pay to drive on the freeway- that's an entirely different post in itself!) and I payed the toll (no I do not have EZ Pass not sure why really we just don't!)  I smiled and handed over my ticket and money, for most people that would have been that, however as my husband and kids will embarrassingly tell you (thanks Dad for passing on this trait! )  the conversation didn't end there, I SIMPLY SMILED and said "HI" truly that's all I said. To which the woman who apparently had not encountered a friendly person in quite some time (construction, accidents and a 9mile back up of traffic prior to that exit) She looked at me and my kids and said " Why in the world are you so smiling after sitting in that mess?" To which I just simply responded, "Why Not?"  She continued the brief conversation and said "God bless you and your children you made my day!" Simply because I smiled while I handed her two quarters.



2.5yrs ago I might not have been able to add value to her day. Was I a cranky mean person? No, but I did (and still do just a little less I hope)  have the tendency to let circumstances drive  my emotions, choices and time management.  So this journey for me has been so much more then weight loss and getting fit, and that simple 45 second conversation just but it all into perspective for me.


Do you need a smile today? or to find a way to find the positive where you are today? Lets chat!









Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Workout Wednesday - Beachbody and Tony Hortons new P90 !

There has been quite a bit of talk about the New P90, from Tony Horton. You might know him as the creator of the 10 minute trainer, P90X, P90X2 and P90X3.

So Why P90?  He had already created the world class fitness programs.  But how many of you were/are intimidated by the X meaning Extreme? Maybe your not ready or not interested in an extreme fitness program. 

Then P90 was created for you! 

NO Matter your age or ability level you can complete P90. The program is a 90 day home fitness program that will gradually increase as you get stronger. You do not have to go to the extreme in order obtain extreme results! 



Why P90? 

Tony eases you into a variety of strength and stability moves that works the back shoulders chest triceps and biceps and legs, all while strengthening and flattening your abs.  There are 10 new workoouts in three phases! My experience with P90X was that by about day 45, I was seeing amazing changes in my body!  So I expect P90 to do the same and cannot wait to get started! 

Short for time? Me too! 
Although I love love loved the results from P90X,  I really struggles with the hour long workouts finding the time was a challenge. 
Not so for P90! 

The workouts are from 25minutes to 45 minutes long! Totally doable in a busy crazy life! 


Along with the 10 workouts, P90 also comes with a few things to make sure you are successful! 

Simple Kitchen Nutrition guide, no calorie counting just the basics! 
A resistance band, no weights needed! 
4 Step Power Plan 
6 day shred and 
The 90 day workout Calendar, which is really key, the workouts are setup to to get the most for the time you are putting working your muscles at the right time in the program is crucial to success! 

Think you don't have enough space? You only need enough space to step side to side, and guess what I completed P90x in our townhouse living room! 



These are all amazing parts of the P90 program that Beachbody has put together with Tony Horton! But not my favorite part. 


Being the daughter of a Vietnam Vet, and supporter of the Military I am proud to say that Beachbody is Also, supporting our troops and will donate $5 on the first 50,000 P90 Challenge Pack units to Wounded Warriors (through October 31st, 2014). To find out more about Wounded Warriors or to donate directly, visit: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/.


So that's it for Workout Wednesday!  Have questions? Ready to join the next Challenge group on October 27th? 

Fill out the form below ! 




P90 90-Day Body Transformation for Everyone




So that's it for Workout Wednesday!  Have questions? Ready to join the next Challenge group on October 27th? 

Fill out the form below ! 


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