Friday, July 29, 2016

Pacific Northwest Style: Embracing the Rain

Rainy Weather Style

Rainy Weather Style by thechicsahm featuring how to wear boots

Someone is going to hate me for this post but I just can't help myself. I'm anxiously awaiting Fall's arrival and all of the new weather I'll get to experience with it. The Pacific Northwest is sure to give me a true Fall season and I literally cannot wait.

Now that I have a reason to buy jackets, coats and rain boots I'm planning my purchases. That's right, I'm pre meditating the immense amount of shopping that I'll be doing to survive all the rain here. I hear that it rains for about 80 days straight. I want to be ready.

Rainy Weather Style

Coats, jackets with hoods and hats will be my go-to look when the rain starts. Have you ever tried to wrangle kids and hold an umbrella? It doesn't work. You still end up wet and frustrated. I'm opting for outerwear that I can wear that will keep me dry and my hands free.

I'm thinking that the actual rain jackets will be nice when there's actually rain falling and the trench coat and leather jacket will be good for the cool overcast days when there's just a little mist in the air.

For now I'll continue to enjoy the beautiful 80 degree days until the weather changes. I'll share my wet weather haul when all of the purchases have been made. Are you looking forward to Fall? I can't be the only one...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thought Bubbles 07262016

Mikey has grown up so much since his birthday last month. Time please so down....

I am going to treat myself to some fries at the end of my 21 day challenge. I have earned them...

We have so many errands to run tomorrow...

My husband and I are both on our computers right now working. How romantic?

I still can't believe I am surrounded by such beauty...

I have never been much of an outside person but love to be outdoors these days...

It's gotta be the cooler temps...

Living here also gives me a reason to buy cute rain boots. I've got my eye on a couple pairs....

I'm already thinking about my next hair move. The pixie will be returning soon...

The amount of sleep I need to feel rested probably can't be calculated...

When this girl goes to kindergarten in September I will miss her. Time please slow down...

Married at First Sight is one of those shows that sucks you in...

Also - this week I decided that I hate the phrase "binge watch"...

Who is making all these fancy kid's lunches I see on Pinterest? Y'all need to stop...

It has come to my attention that I didn't buy Fall or Winter clothes while living in Texas...

A girl can never have too many sweaters but you can apparently have too many tank tops...

Meet snackin' Sarah, my grand daughter. She eats and poops play-doh...

Play-Doh and carpet do not mix...

I miss our hardwood floors in Texas...

I don't even think carpet and kids mix. I feel like I'm constantly spot cleaning...

I haven't missed soda...

But I have missed fries, chips & salsa and wine...

We need a new family portrait...

I want to see Bad Moms...

How do sleeping children know when you're awake? HOW...

I passed by a Panera with a drive-thru and fell deeper in love with this place...

Monday, July 25, 2016

21 Day Fix Extreme Results Week Two

Just like that, week two is over! I can not believe that I have been able to eat clean for this long. I honestly can't believe that I haven't had wine in two weeks.

Can I just tell you that I am amazed with these results? I'm not sure how fast I thought the program would work or if it would work at all but I they have made a believer out of me.

I feel so much better. All I wanted was to get rid of my belly and I have gotten so much more than that. Getting up at 5:30 to workout hasn't been bad at all either. This program has created new habits for me that I plan to weave into my lifestyle.

I think about food differently now. I see myself differently too.

14 days ago I was riding that wave to Lostdom. The place where Moms go to lose themselves. I'm so glad I pulled over for a pit stop.

Do you feel that you've lost yourself or that you're on your way to losing yourself? Well, it's never too late to make a good decision and make some changes. (My husband always says that)


July 11, 2016               July 18, 2016                    July 24, 2016
Chest - 33.5                  Chest - 33                        Chest - 32.5
Left Arm - 12               Left Arm - 12                  Left Arm - 12
                    Right Arm - 12            Right Arm - 11         Right Arm - 11.5 (muscle?)
Waist - 32                    Waist - 30                        Waist - 29
Hips - 40                      Hips - 39                          Hips - 39
Left Thigh -24             Left Thigh - 22.5             Left Thigh - 22.5 
Right Thigh - 23.5      Right Thigh - 22.5           Right Thigh - 22.5

As I enter the last week of my challenge I want to encourage and motivate you to be be your best self. Whatever that means to you. For me, being fit is one of the components I need to live my best life. I need to feel good from the inside out.

So many people have reached out to me about the program. Please continue to send your questions. All of the equipment and the programs  I use are now loaded in my amazon store. Feel free to check them out!

What's something that helps you feel your best?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RECIPE: Cajun Chicken & Shrimp Pasta

A Facebook (and high school) friend just asked for this recipe so I thought I would share it here too. Since sharing this pic on instagram I am asked for this recipe pretty often. It's so simple and tasty.

My husband says this is his favorite dish and it may become a favorite in your house too. The recipe and ingredients are below. Please keep in mind that I am a MomChef so my measurements may not always be numerical. 

Shall we proceed? Yes - indeed!


Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of butter
4 slices thick bacon, cooked & chopped
baby portebello mushrooms - a handful, chopped
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1lb of large Shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 thin skinless boneless chicken breast (4 normally come in a pack)
green onion, chopped
minced garlic - 1 teaspoon
parsley, dried is fine - use fresh if you're feeling fancy
1lb fettuccine noodles
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (just leave it on your counter 😉)
Parmesan Cheese


Cook fettuccine noodles to al denté according to package instructions. Remember to salt and oil your water. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water when draining noodles.

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Drizzle with Olive Oil. Season with half a tablespoon of Tony's. (You can always use more, I do. The more you use the spicier it will be!) Heat enough oil in a pan to cook the shrimp, about 1/4 a cup.  Cook the shrimp until they are a nice pretty pink. Remove shrimp from pan. 

Cook your bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Crumble or chop the bacon once it has cooled. 

Melt one tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes until the mushrooms are wet and tomatoes are soft. Remove from pan.

Season both sides of chicken breast with Tony's and cook it until is done. It will cook fast if you're using thin breast. You may want to open a window at this point.

Once the chicken is done remove it from the pan. Deglaze your pan using the chicken broth. Turn on your stove fan. I hope your window is open.

Using a spatula scrape all the good bits in the pan to the center of the pan. Add your garlic. It should smell really good in your kitchen by now.

Stir in the heavy cream until it mixes well with the broth. Add two big sprinkles (handfuls) of parmesan cheese. Whisk like there is no tomorrow. You do not want your cheese clump. (If it does it's okay. This is so good no one will care about clumped cheese.) Add a half of a tablespoon of the Tony's to your cheese sauce. Stir. Taste. Add more until you reach your preferred level of spiciness. 

Add noodles to sauce and toss to coat evenly. Top your pasta with the mushrooms, tomatoes and shrimp. Sprinkle parsley, bacon crumbles and green onion on top. Plate with chicken breast.

Why you NEED a Deep Freezer & VIDEO Grocery Haul

Let me tell you - I think I have finally gotten into a groove. I have become familiar with the layout of the grocery store here and I'm pretty sure I have decided what my go-to stores will be. I would still love to find an organic store like Sprouts, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods near me but until then I'm pretty satisfied with where I'm shopping.

I have grown to dislike the commissary here less. It's still a zoo but knowing where things are has helped tremendously.

Our meal plans have been weekly instead of monthly. That seems to be working for us right now. We also got a deep freezer when we moved that I have been slowly stocking. It has been a huge help to me to have the space and extra things on hand. It has saved me from making many trips to the store.

We don't even have a super huge one but it does the job and I LOVE it.

Here's why I love my deep freezer and why you should get one:

1. It holds an insane amount of stuff. I put everything that should be frozen in mine with the exception of fun things for the kids like popsicles, ice cream, waffle sleeves and frozen veggies.

2. When I open my freezer in the kitchen things are not falling out all over the place anymore. You know I use to grocery shop once a month, right? I use to cram ALL that stuff into our tiny fridge freezer. There should be a statue in my honor somewhere.

3. A deep freezer allows you to stock up on things. I know, duh. But it's worth mentioning. Having the extra space means that if ribs go on sale I can grab a few extra slabs and store them properly. It's a great way to save money.

4. I can plan ahead now. This kind of goes with the tip above but I'm actually looking forward to the holiday season now. I can buy a turkey WHENEVER I WANT TO. I don't have to wait until all of America is shopping for them. Again, money saver.

5. Lastly - I just have to say that anything that keeps me from running to the store with three kids will always have a special place in my heart. Even when I don't feel like cooking it feels good to know that I don't have to load them all into the car to get takeout. I can go to that deep freezer and "take out" (see what I did there?) some hot dogs or a pizza! It is glorious.

Do you have a deep freezer? Am I crazy for loving mine the way I do? My latest grocery haul is below if you'd like to see what's going down in my deep freezer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Healthy No Sugar Mongolian Beef

no sugar healthy mongolian beef

A few weekends ago when we were in Seattle hanging out with my brother we had lunch at the fanciest Chinese restaurant I've ever been too. There were tablecloths and tea and all kinds of breakable items on the table for the kids.

There was a view overlooking the water and there was Mongolian beef. I immediately fell in love and wanted to try making it at home.

no sugar healthy mongolian beef

All of the recipes I found call for brown sugar or enormous amounts of honey. Neither one of those fits into my new meal plan so I thought long and hard about how to still get that sweet beef on my dinner table without using all the sugar.

My long nights of watching Chopped paid off and I decided to try using a honey crisp apple as my base for the sauce. Let me tell you, I have never been so happy with an educated guess before in my life.

no sugar healthy mongolian beef

no sugar healthy mongolian beef

This meal was so easy to make. Now - if I'm being completely honest this did not taste like the restaurant's Mongolian Beef. BUT - it was good and tasty. I haven't had fake sugar since July 10th so my tastebuds were very happy.

If you'd like to make my healthy no sugar Mongolian Beef the recipe and instructions are below. Don't forget to pin it for later.

no sugar healthy mongolian beef

What you'll need:

2lbs Flank Steak, chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch (you could always use arrowroot)
1/4 cup water
2 TB olive oil
1 cup olive oil for frying
1 medium honey crisp apple
1 1/2 TB gluten free (wheat free) soy sauce
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped, 1 tsp chopped
1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced garlic
green onion
veggies of your choice

What to do:

1. Slice flank steak against the grain. Dredge in cornstarch. Let it sit for 10 minutes before frying.
2. Start buy cooking your apples in a tiny bit of water (just enough to cuddle the apples) until they are soft. Puree apples using a blender until smooth.
3. Cook 2 tsp pf ginger and 1 tsp of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant. Add apple puree and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Add soy sauce. (Taste the sauce - add more soy sauce if needed) Remove sauce pot from heat.
4. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and cook the flank steak for about 2 minutes, flipping over halfway. Do small batches if needed, do not overcrowd the pan. Drain steak on paper towels as you cook.
5. Put all the steak back into your pan and add the sauce. Toss to coat. Simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Pour grease out of pan. Try to reserve any flavor bits that may be there.
7. Add water to the pan and toss in veggies and remaining ginger and garlic. Cook until done to your preference.
8. Sprinkle with green onion after plating.

That's it! So easy and fast. I served our Mongolian beef over brown rice. It was delish. Not as sweet as the restaurant's sauce but still oh so good - and good for you!

Monday, July 18, 2016

21 Day Fix Week One Results : Pros, Cons & Tips

I survived the first week of 21 Day Fix Extreme. The first day or two was rough. I was hungry. Some of the workouts were very hard. I would even go so far as to say they were indeed extreme.

The skeptical side of me didn't know if I would see any results this early into the challenge but around day three something happened...

It's like Autumn Calabrese hooked me up to a machine and sucked a great bit of my bloat out. That was very encouraging. Seeing that small bit of change made me want to stick with the meal plan and get those workouts in.

Now that I'm a week in I'd like to offer some pros, cons and tips for anyone thinking about doing this program. First, let me say that I am not a Beachboy coach and my reviews about this program are not sponsored. No one is paying me. I purchased everything myself.

Now that we've gotten that little disclaimer out of the way...

What I love about 21 Day Fix:

- The workouts are only 30 minutes.
- The exercises are broken up into 30-60 second increments. "You can do anything for 60 seconds", she says.
-The meal plan is simple enough to follow.
- If you do it right, you will feel or see the results almost instantly.
-The Beachbody website has tons of info and a community to help you succeed.

Things I don't love so much: 
(And I'm being totally picky here)

- I don't like that she doesn't do the workout with you the entire time. She kind of walks around and talks about form, which is important, but I kinda want to see her do it from start to finish with me.
- I wish the kit itself came with more recipes and meal ideas. I have been using Autumn's website and Pinterest but I think it would be great if a true cookbook came with the kit.

So how do I measure up from when I started? Here are my inches... (the level of bravery here should be revered)

July 11, 2016                            July 18, 2016
Chest - 33.5                             Chest- 33
Right Arm - 12                        Right Arm- 11            
Left Arm -12                           Left Arm - 12
Waist- 32                                 Waist - 30
Hips - 40                                  Hips- 39
Right Thigh - 23.5                  Right Thigh - 22.5
Left Thigh - 24                       Left Thigh - 22.5

Since July 11th I have lost about 7 inches. Not too shabby.

I had Savannah take a pic of me this morning because I could notice a difference in my tummy. It looks like a bit more progress has been made since yesterday when I took the pics above. Here I am this morning after my workout.

My tips to make it through the first week would be get up early before anyone in your family and get your workout in. Drink plenty of water. PLAN YOUR MEALS and do not cheat the meal plan. 

So I'm hanging in there. I'm ready for week two! If you would like to see what I'm eating everyday and how I feel after my morning workouts be sure to follow me on snapchat (TheChicSAHM). 

How is everyone doing on their own fitness journey? What do you think of my results so far? I'm cheering for you all. We can be Moms and be in incredible shape, let's do it together!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Zucchini Pasta Two Ways

zucchini noodles pasta

I am in the fifth day of the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge. It has been a great experience so far and I'll share more of my experience, tips, updated photo and measurements on Sunday or Monday. For now I want to concentrate on this delicious zucchini pasta I made last night.

I have eaten this salad twice in two different ways within the past 24 hours. That's how good it is. It was also easy to make.

zucchini noodles pasta

Since yesterday was National Hot Dog Day (whose making up these days?) I wanted to give myself a break from cooking like a Top Chef let the kids have hot dogs. I love a good hot dog. I like them topped with chili and cheese. Tomatoes and Onion. A squirt of mustard, jalapeños and plain potato chips.

I'm a Carolina girl. Messy foods make me happy. If grease isn't running down my hands while I'm eating a burger or dog someone didn't do something right. And that's why I'm doing the 21 Day Fix.

Fix it Jesus.

zucchini noodles pasta

I wanted to have a hot dog too so I ventured out on a beautiful day with my three little ones and searched for the healthiest hot dog I could find. After looking in three different stores I found a meatless veggie dog. 

You may or may not believe me but this hot dog was just as good as an all beef dog. That may have had something to do with my toppings. I had to switch up my topping game to something that was 21 Day Fix approved and this is what I came up with...

zucchini noodles pasta

Feast your eyes upon my healthy veggie dog topper. This is all you need to make this at home...

1 Zucchini
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/4 of a white onion
2 Teaspoons of finely chopped jalapeño (You can use fresh or jarred)
A dash of sea salt
A sprinkle of pepper

Spiralize your zucchini. Thinly slice the bell pepper and onion. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss.

I added some to my veggie dog and it was amazing.

zucchini noodles pasta

zucchini noodles pasta

Now I know what you're thinking... you're thinking, "Is that bread allowed in the meal plan?" The answer to that is yes and no. Technically, I only had enough yellow (carb) servings left for one bun. I had enough protein servings left for two dogs - so...... I ate the other bun.  I felt guilty about it at first. Then I reminded myself that this is a lifestyle change and I have to be able to eat things like hot dogs.

I have to.

This was a much healthier version than I would normally eat so I'm giving myself credit for that. Kudos to me because it could've been a lot messier around here yesterday.

Since I had so much zucchini salad/pasta left over I decided to have the rest for lunch today. I chopped up some leftover rotisserie chicken from earlier this week. Warmed it in the microwave and voila....

zucchini noodles pasta recipe

Lunch was served. So easy. Healthy. And delicious. Give this spicy little number a try. Thank me later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Learning: It's All About the Benjamins

I can not be the only parent that dreads taking kids to the store sometimes. Now that Savannah and Mikey are a little older they have started asking  begging for things in the store. Up until about a month ago we would have peaceful trips to the store. I could scan the aisles, get what I needed and be done....

Lately when we're in the store these kids point out every sparkly brightly colored character filled item that they see. Mikey has never even seen Finding Nemo or Dory but the other day when we were in the store he insisted that we stop to, "Say hello to Dory fish."

I don't even know Dory like that.

Telling the kids that they don't need more toys or things hasn't really worked for me. They don't get it. They think debit cards are endless pits of money. Maybe someone's card is but not mine. This Mom and her debit card have limits. There are limits to my debit, m'kay...

To give them a real idea of how money works I decided to take a page from The Cosby Show and turn our house into a store. Let's play a game I said (in my scary Saw movie voice)....

I told them whoever had the most money at the end of the day could have an Oreo. Y'all I charged these kids for everything and I allowed them to buy whatever they wanted.

When that money started leaving their little hands it was priceless....

An instant light went on. (Well at least it did for Savannah. I don't think Mikey cared.) We talked about working to earn money, saving your money and spending money on things you need or want.

If you follow me on snapchat you know Savannah is a good little saver already. She saved over $100 in change during our time in Texas. Hopefully this little exercise helped her learn a bit more about the value of a dollar. The verdict is still out on Mikey - he demanded an Oreo for his time when my game was over.

What do you think about our little game? I think it was a fun way to get them to understand how money works.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hello Monday : RANDOM

This weekend was pretty busy. My husband spruced up the backyard while I wrangled the kids and handed him tools and beer as needed. After what had to have been his third trip to Home Depot Saturday morning he came home with breakfast and this drink from Starbucks.

I had never had coffee before. He said this was a tall mocha something that I couldn't even finish. I am in love with the idea of being a coffee drinker more than I love with the taste of coffee. I can check coffee drinking off of my list...

We reupholstered the chairs that got damaged during the move this weekend too. This project only took about 30 minutes. I must say that I don't like the pattern that I picked out. At all. I really wanted a solid color or a dark print. I'll be looking online for something else.

Today I started the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge that I told you guys about last week. I don't know who this woman is but after 30 minutes with her this morning I felt like I was going to throw up. That workout wasn't easy. 

I was able to push through it. I hope to get stronger as the days roll on. I'm 9.5 miles into the 25 mile Operation Snap Back™run challenge. A few things that I've noticed since I made fitness a priority again...

- I am more patient.
- My skin looks much better.
- I am more productive.
-I'm sleeping better at night.

This morning while the boys were still asleep I whipped up these egg muffins to have for breakfast all week. There's spinach, mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onion, sea salt and pepper in them. They were so good. (Mix everything bake for 15 minutes on 375)

A serving is two. Not gonna lie I was still extremely hungry after my extreme workout. I ate an apple with almond butter for a snack soon after breakfast. For lunch today I'll be having a salad with some chopped pork tenderloin. I hope to not be as hungry as I am right now after that...

Wish me luck! How was your weekend? How is everyone doing with their fitness goals?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Truth Is...

Last night I cried myself to sleep. I think the last time I cried was when my Grandmother died a couple years ago. It's been years since I've cried.

Yesterday I stayed away from Facebook and social media in general because I didn't want to see the video. I didn't want an image of someone being killed in my mental space. Then I had a moment of weakness and I logged onto Facebook...

I came across the live video from Lavish Reynolds.

She was a passenger in the car with her four year old daughter when her boyfriend was shot after being pulled over for a broken tail light.

Can you even imagine?

The truth is that could have been my family.

My heart aches for that baby girl. She had to witness something that most adults haven't seen in real life. She was in a safe place. In the car with her mother. The police approached her car and shot her mother's boyfriend.

What kind of impression do you think that will have on that little girl for the rest of her life? My guess is that she'll look at law enforcement much different from now on.

The truth is that is already a reality for many black families.

While we were living in Texas my husband worked third shift at a hospital on the other side of town. He worked every other weekend and I always dreaded the weekends that he worked. His 45 minute drive seemed like forever.

I would make him call me as soon as he made it to the hospital. I was so afraid that something may happen to him.

You see, my husband was pulled over multiple times while we lived in Texas. He was given a warning each time, thanks goodness. Once he was pulled over for "operating an electronic device (his radio) while driving". I will never forget reading that on the ticket when he showed it to me.

I remember being angry and wanting to file a complaint. What would that have done? My guess is not much.

The truth is not everyone will see my husband or my family for what we truly are. A loving family.

The truth is that some people will judge us based on what we look like.

The fear that comes along with being a black mother and wife is something that is hard to put into words. I actually worry about my husband and my brothers on a level that can't be healthy.

The truth is that the world won't see them for who they are.

As mothers I feel that we have the ability to make a change. No matter what your race is, talk to your husbands and your children about acceptance and love.

Talk to them about living in someone else's shoes. How would you feel if someone shot your husband while he was shopping in Walmart? Or killed your son because he "looked suspicious"? What if your husband didn't make it through a routine traffic stop? How would you respond to knowing that your son or husband wasn't questioned appropriately or given the benefit of the doubt?

Now how would you feel if you felt like this was happening in your community to people everyday and society's level of concern didn't really measure up?

These men and boys are more than hashtags. Sandra Bland was someone's daughter. Trayvon Martin was a teenager. If these killings haven't moved you I challenge you to look at your child's face and imagine what it would be like to see their names as a hashtag.

Imagine what it would be like for them to be riding in the backseat of the car and witness a murder.

The truth is that if you imagine yourself as the wife, sister, mother or relative of one of these victims you'll find some compassion and fear there.

No one wants it to be them. And some are glad that it's not them.

This post is for anyone who has chosen to look the other way. Moms of color need compassion and understanding for their fear. Please don't look the other way. Talk to your families the way we talk to our's. It may seem like overkill to you but it's literally killing us.

I teach my children to love and respect all people and I also teach them how to navigate the world as a black person.

The truth is that I wish I didn't have to do that but I do and that makes me sad. It makes me cry myself to sleep sometimes. It makes me worried about them as they grow. Their growth will always be bittersweet.

I know I don't normally talk about controversial issues here but I had to check myself today because maybe my silence on a platform like this is part of the problem too.

If I can sell you guys diapers and strollers then I actually owe it to you to make sure you get an idea of what life is like for me sometimes as a black Mom. Everyday isn't filled with fear and grief but the days that are hurt so bad.

If you've never really understood the black lives matter movement hopefully this post will give you a new perspective. Give grace and understanding and imagine what it must be like to live in someone else's truth.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fitness Goals Like Whoa

Over the weekend I did a lot of thinking about how I wanted to go about tackling my new fitness goals.  I would love to lose 10 to 15 pounds and tone up. After I had Mikey I got into great shape and my goal is to get back there.

Back then I was really into barre classes. Maybe I'll try them again. There's a studio fairly close to us.

A friend of mine became a Beachbody coach. She invited me to join her 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge and after looking into the program I accepted the invitation. I think it's going to be an intense 21 days but I'm looking forward to it. The challenge starts July 11th.

I have started the Operation Snap Back™July run challenge. When this month ends I would have logged 25 miles of run time. I have already ran 5.5 miles - I'm well on my way!

I don't know why my eyes are closed but it was the best shot of the front of my body. All the other pics had kids in them. 

So here I am.

The truth is that I actually don't mind this body. I really like the curves that come with this shape but these curves can't fit into all my jeans so I hope to modify them ever so slightly. 

Wish me luck! I'll be documenting what I'm eating and how I feel about the workouts on snapchat.

Share your fitness goals and plans with me in the comments. Let's motivate each other!