Friday, August 29, 2014

Ozeri WeightMaster 400 lbs. Digital Bathroom BMI Scale #Ozeri

We've been dealing with our first "back to school" over here at Under the Big Oak Tree and this momma has been doing some emotional eating while dealing with the stress and anxiety of it all!

School started on Tuesday and our kiddo is handling it well.  So, now it's time for momma to get rid of the junk in the house and get back to healthy eating and watching my weight...that is, I mean, after the holiday weekend!  I want some grilled burgers and hot dogs!

Anyway. Even though I haven't been really paying attention to my weight the past several weeks, I did get the chance to give a new scale a try.

For some reason, we seem to have a collection of scales in our home.  It didn't take long for the Ozeri WeightMaster 400 lbs. Digital Bathroom BMI Scale to become the family favorite.  It is awesome!

When I first took it out of the box, I loved the sleek design of the scale, but was slightly intimidated. Then again, I get pretty intimidated over anything that comes with an instruction manual!

Seriously though, this scale is amazing and really simple to use, I was able to figure it out right away!

Here are some of the features of the Ozeri WeightMaster 400 lbs. Digital Bathroom BMI Scale:

  • just as the name states, this scale calculates your Body Mass Index (BMI) 
  • displays both your current and net weight change, recording up to 7 weigh ins per user.  
  • Highlights your net weight change in GREEN for weight loss and RED for weight gain 
  • Weight capacity is 400 lbs. / 180 kg 
  • Automatically turns on when you step on the scale
  • Auto power off to save battery life.  
  • Easy to set using the 3 Touch Screen Function Keys 
  • Tracks stats for up to 5 unique users with Automatic Recognition. 

For me, I am really bad with numbers.  My brain just doesn't retain the information.  So, with daily weigh ins (to see if I'm on the right track), I love that the scale will note my weight change by using color codes.  That way I really don't have to obsess with the number on the scale as I'm checking in to see my progress each day.

Earlier in the post I mentioned that I loved the sleek design of the scale.  Not only is it pleasing to the eyes, but the smooth surface also makes it super easy to wipe clean.  No grooves or divots to collect dust and dirt!

Another feature that is useful is the Memory Access Mode which allows the user to look up 7 of your most recent weigh ins!

The scale can also be used in a basic mode for users that choose to not set up a profile.

If you are interested in purchasing the Ozeri WeightMaster 400 lbs. Digital Bathroom BMI Scale, you can do so using this link:

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crock Pot Quinoa ~ Tex Mex Style

Since trying quinoa for the first time a couple of months ago, I've been eating it a lot.  Quinoa, black beans, corn and taco seasoning seems to be my favorite combination.  It's very flavorful and really filling.  Finding a crock pot recipe for this delicious, healthy food just makes me love it even more!

This makes a lot and since Joe isn't fully on board with my love for quinoa, I decided to freeze the leftovers in smaller portions for myself.  Perfect for a quick lunch during the week!

Crock Pot Quinoa ~ Tex Mex Style
        adapted from:  Chelsea's Messy Apron

  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 jar Trader Joe's tomato-less Corn Salsa
  • 6 mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Chili Powder 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs. reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 3 cups water
To Prepare: 
  • Spray crock pot insert with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Rinse quinoa as directed on package.  
  • Combine all ingredients in crock pot.  
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  

  • This is great served as is or with additional toppings like sour cream or shredded cheese (fat free varieties for me please). 
  • This recipe reminded me of Spanish Rice, so while it's great on it's own, it would also work well as a side dish.  
  • Excellent in a wrap, too!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of August 18th

Sorry for the late posting of this week's menu plan.  I had a really busy weekend that didn't allow me time to sit down to work on my plan or get anything else posted.  With the busy weeks ahead, I'm thinking of working on a month long menu plan for September.  


As part of my driving lessons,
Grace's uncle thought it was very important
that I know how to get to McDonald's
to get Grace's favorite meal ever!


Tex Mex Quinoa 
I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for this one,
so I had to adapt the recipe a bit.
I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out!


Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches 
This is the perfect meal for a busy week
since there's always tons left over!
This shredded buffalo chicken is
great on buns, in a wrap or even on top
of a baked potato!


Pasta Night 
I'm not sure what sort of pasta dish I'll prepare this night,
I just know we're long over-due for an Italian-inspired meal.  


Leftover Night
Have I mentioned before how much I love leftovers?

Hot Dogs, Baked Beans
Macaroni Salad


Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

What Makes Me Smile #7

I tend to be a Negative Nelly about my life.  I'm great about putting a positive spin on things when friends vent to me about their bad days, but when it comes to my life, I only see the bad things.  In an attempt to change this aspect of my personality, I want to journal some things that make me smile each week.  Hoping that when I look back, I'll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.

Sorry this is posting late this week.  We've had a busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to sit down to write.

Last week was a sad week.  Hearing that Robin Williams lost his battle with depression made it difficult to smile much.  Suffering from depression myself, hearing of his death really hit close to home.  I spent a lot of the week in denial and each morning a logged into my Facebook account, I was hit again with the news of his death.  This went on for several days.

Maybe it seems silly to be hit so hard by a celebrity's death.  Someone I've never met before.  One of my cousin's said it best:
"Losing Robin Williams is like everyone in the world just lost their crazy uncle at the same time." 

Thankfully, a busy weekend helped in keeping me from dwelling on it much longer and gave me a few things to smile about:

  • Great friends.  We are truly blessed with wonderful friends.  Always here to lend a hand with the house, listen to our troubles, celebrate happy times, or just plain spoil Grace.  

  • Family.  We had a family event over the weekend.  Life gets busy and everyone's work schedules get in the way, it's nice when we're all able to get together for some good food and conversation.  

  • First Birthdays and cousins.  My youngest niece turned one over the weekend (see family event listed above).  She is so adorable...all babies are, I know!  Grace, who normally keeps a big distance from babies, really enjoyed playing with her cousin and we all loved seeing them interact with each other.  

  • Twinkle Toes.  Last week, we hit the dollar kiddie movie again.  Six adults and one kid!  That alone made me laugh, but just trying to get all of us together and out the door so early was something out of a comedy movie!  During a slower part of the movie, Grace was a little bored and decided to tap her toes on the floor.  It was funny to see her Twinkle Toes sneakers lighting up the dark theater!  

Hoping you all had a happy week with lots of smiles!  I'd love for you to share by leaving a comment!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Grace is pretty anxious for Autumn.  It's her favorite time of the year.  Last week, she saw a leaf fall from the tree and exclaimed:  "It's Fall!!!"  I tried to explain to her that we still had some time before the fall and that the leaf she saw was probably from the windy, stormy day we were having that day.  

Adding to her excitement is the fact that the farm that is directly behind us is growing pumpkins this year!  Usually, the farmer plants corn or soy beans.  This is the first year for pumpkins, at least in the field that we can see from our yard!  

Every day, we've been walking to the end of our property to check the progress of the pumpkin field.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix ~ Control the Heat and Sodium

I love to cook, but I'll admit sometimes I get lazy about preparing meals and the last thing I feel like doing is measuring a bunch of seasonings for a recipe.  I could go out and buy some premade packets of seasoning, but those are usually loaded with salt and we've really been trying to steer clear of seasoning packets since Joe's been watching his blood pressure.

I was really pleased when I came across a recipe for a homemade fajita seasoning.  I adapted the recipe a bit to omit the paprika that I recently ran out of and I used less salt, too! Also, I quadrupled the recipe so I could have a decent sized jar of it in my pantry for whenever we want a quick meal of fajitas!  With school and dance class starting, we're gonna be all about quick meals this fall!

Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix 
     Adapted From:  Chocolate Moosey

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbs. chili powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • Measure ingredients into a clean jar with a lid. 
  • Screw on lid and shake until seasonings are well combined.  
  • Add to chicken, beef, soups or stews.  Start with a tablespoon, taste, then add more as needed. 
  • This is pretty good sprinkled on air popped corn, too!    

Monday, August 11, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 2014 ~ Week of August 11th

Last week was drama-filled and stressful.  I wasn't able to work on a menu plan, nor did I care much about exercise or weight loss.  Mainly we ate a lot of quick thing like sandwiches or hot dogs.  One night I made some delicious fried chicken and Joe and I even had dinner out one night...dinner that did not require shouting into a speaker from the car window!  

This week, I'd like to get back on track with my diet and am looking forward to some healthy dinner choices.  


Lemon Fettuccine with Carrots 
After all of the not so healthy choices I made last week,
I think this light meal is what's needed
to start the week off on the right track!  


Spanish Quinoa 
Corn Quesadillas 
I've been toying with the idea of replacing our rice with Quinoa
in our favorite Spanish Rice recipe.
Great minds think alike since my buddy Nicole from Colie's Kitchen
obviously had the same idea!
Check out her recipe by clicking the link above!  


Chicken Fajita Soup
All this back to school talk has me thinking about the autumn
and all of the fall-weather comfort foods.
Trying a new recipe for soup this week,
I'll be sure to share if it's a success!


Leftover Night 


Chili over Quinoa 
Another quinoa idea that's been inspired by my buddy Nicole!
So loving quinoa right now!  


Family BBQ
I'll probably bring something a little on the healthy side
so I won't have an excuse to pig out all day!
Sure, I'll probably cheat, but not too much since
Weigh In Day is Sunday!


Chicken Taco Salads 
A big batch of chicken taco filling is just
what I need in the fridge!
A little goes a long way when added to fat free
refried beans and some fat free salsa
on top of a bed of lettuce!

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What Makes Me Smile #6

I tend to be a Negative Nelly about my life.  I'm great about putting a positive spin on things when friends vent to me about their bad days, but when it comes to my life, I only see the bad things.  In an attempt to change this aspect of my personality, I want to journal some things that make me smile each week.  Hoping that when I look back, I'll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.

This past week has been a rough one.  Lots of stress, lots of drama, lots of emotion.  Even still, as I sat down to type this post, I found I had a lot to smile about:

  • Back to School Shopping.  When I was a kid, I LOVED back to school shopping.  I loved all the new notebooks, folders, crayons, etc.  It's fun seeing Grace have the same excitement over school supplies that I had as a student.  Of course, this year her school list is minimal since she's just starting Kindergarten, but it was still fun picking out a few things with her!  

  • Baby Clothes.  Gosh!  How I miss shopping for baby clothes!  They were so much more fun to buy than the size that Grace is in now.  Grace is five, but takes a bigger girls size, so shopping sometimes becomes a challenge finding age-appropriate things in her size.  Baby shopping is just so sweet!  With my niece's first birthday coming up, I've really enjoyed picking out a few cute items!  

  • Calling Doctor Grace.  After getting a shower, I looked around for Grace only to find her in her room tending to her patient.  Poor Remmy is such a good sport!  I really wish I had my camera handy, so you all could see Remmy with her little doggy leg extended so Dr. Grace could take her blood pressure!  I also had to laugh at myself when I felt the need to remind Grace to NEVER stick anything in Remmy's eyes, nose, ears, mouth or butt!  She got a giggle out of mommy saying "butt".  

  • Date Night.  Since Grace was born, Joe and I rarely have time to ourselves.  I can count on both hands the number of times we've gone somewhere without Grace (this includes a funeral and getting our taxes done twice) and it's been over a year since we've gone to a movie or had dinner together. We've been wanting to give Movie Tavern a try and since Hercules just came out, I figured it was a perfect time to finally go.  We really enjoyed ourselves and each ordered a drink with our meal.  Definitely somewhere we'd like to go again.  

I'd love to know what makes you smile!  Share with us by leaving a comment!

Friday, August 8, 2014

What I'm Eating On Simply Filling (Simple Start)

As a food blogger, I take lots of pictures of the food I eat.  In the past, I usually only snapped photos of new recipes so that I would have a photo of the recipes I post on my blog.  If you've been reading here recently, you man have noticed that I'm trying to lose weight and eat healthier while I'm at it.  Since I'm a visual person, I've been photographing many of my meals so that I can look back and get meal ideas when I'm feeling like I'm in a rut or those moments that I just run out of ideas.

I toyed with the idea of starting a new blog for this purpose, but since I tend to spend a lot of time here Under the Big Oak Tree, it just makes sense to journal those meal ideas here.  I hope you find the posts helpful.

  • Arnold Sandwich Thin, multi-grain 
  • tiny amount of fat free mayo
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • black pepper
  • mini cucumber
  • peach
  • unsweetened iced tea

This was breakfast, but it could be a quick lunch or even dinner if you're in a pinch and need something quick!  I love making meals that include all Simply Filling foods and saving those indulgence points for a snack later in the evening while I snuggle on the couch and catch up on my shows.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chipotle Chicken Fajita Rice Bowls

I started out with the intention of making fajitas with rice on the side, but when I went to the cabinet to get the wraps, I realized we were out.  So, I decided to just spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture right over the rice and enjoy it that way!  Mm!  So good!

Chipotle Chicken Fajita Rice Bowls 
    Serves 8

  • 6 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, boneless/skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced 
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
  • 2 tsp. adobo sauce
  • 1 cup frozen fire roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup water
  • cooked brown rice 
To prepare: 
  • In a large skillet, add chicken, onion and bell peppers to hot oil over medium heat.  
  • Cook until chicken is no longer pink.  
  • Stir in salsa, chipotles and corn and allow to cook until corn is thawed.  
  • Stir in water.  Bring to boil. 
  • Cover and reduce heat. 
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.  
  • Serve over cooked rice.  
  • If desired, top with fat free shredded cheese or fat free sour cream.  Jalapenos would be delicious, too!  
  • This would be great served over leftover quinoa or atop a bed of lettuce.  

I'm bringing this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Beautiful, Fluffy Clouds

When Grace and I are outside, I don't get to look up at sky and enjoy the clouds as much as I'd like.  I worry that I'd get distracted for too long and not keep an eye on Grace.  She likes to explore and wander, so I tend to watch her like a hawk.

A week or two ago, my niece shared this photo on Facebook.  I love how peaceful the sky looks when it's full of white, fluffy clouds.

Thanks, Amanda, for the permission to use your photo for today's Wordless (or is that Wordy?) Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quinoa with Salsa, Black Beans and Corn

You may be noticing me featuring quinoa in a lot of recipes lately.  That's because I'm loving it!  I can't believe it's taken me this long to give it a try!  Now I can't seem to get enough of it!

Lately, I've been preparing 1 cup of quinoa according to the instructions on the package and keeping it in the fridge for quick meals.  Since I also keep a bowl of rinsed black beans in the fridge, those two ingredients often meet up in the same recipe!

Quinoa with Salsa, Black Beans and Corn 
    1 hearty portion
    or 2 side dish portions

  • 1/2 cup prepared quinoa 
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn 
  • 1/4 cup fat free salsa
To prepare: 
  • combine all ingredients to a small pan and heat over medium heat until corn is thawed and all ingredients are heated through.  
Alternate preparation method: 
  • Combine ingredients in a microwave safe dish.  
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for one minute.  
  • Stir, replace lid and cook on HIGH for another minute or two or until corn is thawed and all ingredients are heated through.  
  • Serve alongside some fat free refried beans or top with some fat free mozzarella cheese or fat free sour cream to keep this meal Weight Watchers Simply Filling.  
  • This is a great way to use up a bunch of leftover in the fridge.  
  • If you need to pack a lunch for work, you could easily just place all of the ingredients into a microwave safe container and refrigerate overnight and heat in the microwave the same way you would any other leftovers you may pack for lunch!  (The corn should be thawed by lunch time, so the heating time may be less than the alternate method shared above.)

Linking to the following blog parties:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What Makes Me Smile #5

I tend to be a Negative Nelly about my life.  I'm great about putting a positive spin on things when friends vent to me about their bad days, but when it comes to my life, I only see the bad things.  In an attempt to change this aspect of my personality, I want to journal some things that make me smile each week.  Hoping that when I look back, I'll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.

Last week, I had a lot to smile about!

  • Grace has always been fascinated by nature.  It started with leaves.  When she was outside as a toddler, she always seemed to have a leaf in her hand.  Now, the past two summers, she's been obsessed with picking "flowers" from our lawn.  She knows not to pick the very few flowers in my front garden bed, but knows that the lawn is hers for the picking.  She placed this little yellow blossom on my lap today and seeing her little hand, dirty nails and all, it just hit me that her hands aren't going to be this little for very long.  

  • This week has been all about stepping out of our comfort zones.  At least for us girls.  Poor Joe has been out of his comfort zone since Grace was born!  Now he's in a house of all girls (the dog included)!  Remmy seems to be over her fear of car rides and now stands at the front door hoping for to go for a ride each night!  Grace has gotten over her thoughts that she can only go places with both of us because that's how we did things in the past.  Recently, she's been out a couple times with just Joe and seems to love it!  Last week, he ended up taking both Grace and Remmy to the carwash after work one night!  I used those few moments to myself to hand a shower curtain.  

  • My comfort zone...driving.  Until Saturday, I haven't driven a car in almost 16 years!  I was late to get my license, I don't even thing Driver's Ed was offered at my high school and if it was, I never heard about it.  When I was 22 or 23 Joe forced me to get my license even if I didn't plan to use it.  A few years later bought me a car and I needed a refresher course.  When we moved into our apartment, we gave up the second vehicle since we only had 1 parking space and public transportation was close.  Even though I had my license, I never wanted to drive Joe's pick up truck.  So, I didn't.  Since we moved, it's been difficult without a car.  But after so long, I lost the confidence I needed to get back to driving again and I'm needing that refresher course again!  I'm determined to feel confident behind the wheel again!  Smiling at myself for trying and great friends that are helping with the lessons!  

  • Grace also had a dentist appointment this week.  Her first.  She's always so unwilling to try new things and is very set in her ways, so we were not expecting a successful visit.  She did so well and did everything the dentist told her.  When I gave her a thumbs up while she was in the dentist chair, she winked at me!  I don't know where that came from but it was so cute!  

  • This week is a lot about Grace, sorry...she's the major thing to make me smile especially on quiet weeks at home.  Grace loves to play dress up.  Most would think this means her dressing up in costumes and jewels.  Sometimes that is what dress up means in our house.  But more often than not, Grace's definition of dress up is putting new outfits on her stuffed animals.  This week, we noticed that she made Sky (Paw Patrol) and super hero cape out of a tissue.  She just twisted two of the corners together to make it stay.  Sorry for the blurry picture, I took this in her completely dark room while she was asleep!  Also, please ignore the crayon on her walls...that doesn't make me smile!  

I'd love to hear about what makes you smile!  Let me know in the comments!  

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