What’s on My Plate | #02

Thanks for stopping by! Every Monday I’m posting a meal hack to encourage healthier eating and weight loss. For more ideas click on What’s on My Plate or the series graphic at the end of this post.

What's on My Plate | #02I’ve been bulking lunches up with fruits and vegetables (when I’m not eating a straight salad) to keep points low, and my stomach fuller, for longer. I’ve cut out most breads at meal time with the exception of One Bun Folded Flats I found at Costco when I need a carb fix. The Hot & Sweet Mustard from Trader Joe’s drizzled on top makes this one of my favorite lunches.


Open Face Sandwich

I purchased the One Bun, and lunch meat at Costco. The cabbage and mustard I found at Trader Joe’s. Any of these items can be substituted for comparable point products. You can always lower the points by selecting 1 slice of lunch meat (1 point) instead of 2 (3 points).

What you need:

  • 1 – One Bun Folded Flat - 3 points
  • 2 slices Columbus Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken Breast (reduced sodium, 98% Fat Free) – 3 points
  • Handful of green shredded cabbage – 0 points
  • Hot & Sweet mustard for drizzling – negligible

6 points per serving (4 if only using one slice of lunch meat)


Fruit & Cool Whip

Most fruits won’t cost you any points on the WW program, but sometimes it’s nice to add a little sweetness with a dollop of Cool Whip.

2 tbsp = 1 point


Happy Labor Day! Celebrate with good food choices (or your extra weekly points) today!



Zucchini Bread in the Kitchen at the end of Summer

Growing up, Mom always kept a garden. At the end of summer, when the zucchini’s were plump and ripe she made one of our favorite breads. I don’t remember being particularly quick to help, but I do remember leaving my childhood playthings long enough to watch.

Even now I can see her standing over the kitchen sink with the sunlight streaming in, shaking flour from the greased pan. I can hear the clink of her wedding ring, and breathe in the spicy-sweet smell of the bread baking in the oven. At the sound of the timer, steaming hot with a crackled brown top, I can peer just enough above the bread to warm my face. I remember knife letting loose bread from pan, and then it being folded tightly into tin foil and the coldness of the fridge, waiting for another day.

It always felt so long before the loaf was chilled enough to slice through the thick sweet top. I kept butter ready, cold and creamy, to slather my piece – the thicker the better. That first bite, dense and cold, sweet like carrot cake, heavy and creamy, is what the end of summer tastes like to me.

I had forgotten for a very long time, until my neighbor handed me a zucchini from her garden the size of my arm. I set out to do what I had only watched before – to make my own zucchini bread – with the clink of my wedding ring against the pan, and the peering eyes of my children watching and waiting for their own first bite of summer’s end.

And It was worth every calorie it took to remember.

Zucchini Bread in the Kitchen at the end of Summer

Zucchini Bread

Recipe adapted from Miriam Loo’s Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread found in the 1982 publication of Fresh-From-The-Oven-Breads

What you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins or chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Zucchini Bread Muffins

How to make it:

Recipe makes (24) muffins, OR (1) 9-1/4″ X 5-1/4″ loaf AND (9) muffins.

  1. Preheat oven to 325F while prepping pans (either using liners for muffins, or greasing and flouring loaf pans).
  2. In one bowl combine flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, spices and raisins or chocolate chips.
  3. In a second bowl beat eggs, sugar and oil at medium speed until fluffy. Stir in zucchini.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until moistened.
  5. Pour into prepped loaf pan and bake: 50 minutes for loafs, 25-27 minutes for muffins, OR until bread tests done.
  6. Cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate.

PS – It always tastes best on the second day :)

Zucchini Bread

Rodan & Fields [Product Review & Facebook Event]

Special thanks to Rodan & Fields Independent Consultant, Kara Larson, for providing me with the opportunity to try and review Rodan & Fields skincare products. While the products in this post were given to me free of charge, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

Rodan&Fields Product Review

Kara and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We’ve gone from sleepovers as kids to raising our babies together with all the stuff of great friendships that lies between. Aside from being besties, she’s also my go-to girl for anything makeup-hair-skincare related. It made complete sense to me when she became an independent consultant with Rodan & Fields – I’m not the only friend who goes to her with their beauty questions.

Rodan&Fields Product Review

In a lot of ways, I’m the ideal candidate for a skincare trial. I don’t normally use anything but a cleanser once a day, and while I generally have a good complexion, I am prone to breakouts (especially around that time of the month). With becoming more aware of the need to take skin health seriously – what with me being in my thirties and all (how did that happen again?!) – this opportunity literally made me giddy.

Photos taken 8/7/14 | Product use began 8/12/14

Untouched photos taken 8/7/14 | Product use began 8/12/14

The Regimen

Before starting me on any of the Rodan & Fields skin care lines, Kara asked me a series of questions to see what products would work best for my skin type and daily needs. We settled on a personalized daily regimen of the Soothe (to even out my complexion) and Unblemish lines (to work on the acne). She also threw in a few samples of the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste, Night Renewing Serum, and Lip Renewing Serum.


Untouched photos taken 8/26/14

What I loved

I’ve been using the skincare products for the last two weeks, and have already seen results. My complexion is clearer than before, and my skin is softer than it’s ever been. My absolute favorite products have been the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste and Night Renewing Serum, which made my skin A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-L-Y soft (I seriously could not stop touching my face).

What’s more, the support I’ve received from Kara has been incredible. For someone who’s never done much with their skin, I was a little intimidated to start such a professional regimen. Fortunately, the system was easier to maintain than I thought, and when I had questions Kara was just an email away. There’s something powerful to be said about working with a consultant versus trying to navigate the world of skin care products on your own.

Facebook Event & Product Giveaways

Kara’s hosting a little Facebook party over at her place today and tomorrow (8/27-28), going into detail about all the Rodan & Fields products she’s representing and will also be giving away some product to some very lucky ladies. If you want in, shoot her an email at klarson159[at]gmail[dot]com and she’ll add you to the group.

PS – If you let Kara know you read about her and Rodan & Fields here, you’ll be privy to a special incentive she’s running for orders placed in the next few days!

For more on Kara

Kara LarsonKara is a psychology graduate of North Central University and a beauty school graduate of Empire Beauty School. She’s a momma to two little girls, MOPS coordinator extraordinaire, and newly minted Rodan & Fields Independent Consultant. Ask her your beauty questions on Facebook, follow her on Instagram, or email her at klarson159[at]gmail[dot]com for more information on Rodan & Fields products.

What’s on My Plate | #01

Every week I’ll be posting a meal hack I’m using to encourage my family to eat a little healthier and help me lose some weight. For more ideas click on What’s on My Plate or the series graphic at the end of this post.

What's on My Plate | #01

With the potatoes, this 9-10 point dinner should follow a lighter point breakfast and lunch. Call it a congratulatory celebration to the end of your very disciplined day, and hey, there are still green beans covering half the plate :).


Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken

This chicken recipe comes from Ruth at Living Well Spending Less. It tastes the best grilled (after a long day hanging out in the sun!) but can also bake very nicely in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. It prepares well as a freezer meal and is the only type of chicken I’ve made since coming across the recipe. Seriously.

Weight Watchers lists 3 ounces of boneless skinless chicken as 3 points. At this point in the game, I’m not in the habit of counting the calories of a marinade. Most of it ends up left in the bag, and besides, is there anyone who eats dry chicken, ever?

3 pts per 3 oz. serving


Savory potatoes

This is one from my own kitchen, and uses so little oil and seasoning I’ve lumped it into the category of a baked potato (with a little extra).

What you need:

  • 10 medium sized golden potatoes cubed and rinsed
  • 2 envelopes of dry Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

How to make it:

Mix ingredients well and bake until crispy in the same 400 degree oven (about 35-45 minutes). Make sure you eye-ball your portion at about a medium-ish potato.

5/6 pts per (medium sized potato) serving


Lemony-Garlic Green Beans

This green bean hack (also from my own kitchen) is an absolute god-send. I’ve come to learn after eight years of marriage my husband loves green beans. I on the other hand love other things more, but I can handle these – even like these – because of the garlic and lemon (two of my favorites). These are the green beans my youngest please-mommy-please asked for at Trader Joe’s (seriously), and three out of four loving a vegetable makes it a staple in this house.

What you need:

  • 12 ounce package fresh green beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Combine ingredients in a non-stick pan and sauté on stovetop until green beans are softened.

1 pt per 6 oz. serving


Until next week . . .


I hope they see | a mother’s prayer

I hope they see

There are days I look deeply into two sets of little eyes,
wondering what memories will keep.

And although I know there’s nothing I can do,
to make the good ones stick stronger,

There are some things I certainly hope for.

I hope they see my smile,
more than they see my furrowed brow.

I hope they hear me sing,
more than they hear my voice raised.

I hope they see my eyes,
more than they see my phone.

I hope they find me patient,
more than they find me frustrated.

I hope they see less money and more time,
less busy and more heart.

I hope they see more actions and less words,
less stress and more hope.

I hope they see me try, and fail, and try again,
And when my cracks are all made plain,

I hope they see my imperfections,
And decide to love me anyway.

I hope they know my love for them runs deeper,
than I ever dreamed it could.

And more than anything, or anyone,
I hope they see Jesus, working real inside of me.

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