Breakfast Fried Cauliflower Rice

I’m participating in a 90 day weight loss challenge through my work. The goal is to lose 6% of my body weight and since I am on a team with 5 others I don’t want to let them down by not carrying my weight. I have made a commitment to myself that I am going to hit this challenge hard and stick to Intermittent Fasting with being Whole30ish since I saw great results last year. I am also incorporating working out now that I have the eating part down.

Because I am fasting for 16 hours once my window opens to eat I am generally very hungry and need something that is hearty but healthy. Let’s be real, how can you go wrong with anything that is cooked in bacon grease though?! This Breakfast Fried Cauliflower Rice is loaded with veggies and protein from the bacon and eggs and is incredibly filling and will leave you satisfied until lunch time.

Breakfast Fried Cauliflower Rice

Makes 3 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease
  • 12 oz cauliflower rice
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (use coconut aminos for Whole30)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning, to taste
  • green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

And Action:

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, stirring to brown. Once done, remove with slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

Save 2 tbsp of the bacon grease and leave about 1 tbsp in the skillet.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onions, stir to coat. Cook until softened, then add the red bell peppers and continue to cook another minute, stirring.

Add another tbsp of the bacon grease along with the broccoli and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Everything Bagel Seasoning. Cover skillet for 30 seconds to soften broccoli.

Uncover skillet and add the bacon, cauliflower rice, and soy sauce. Stir to fully coat the cauliflower rice with the other veggies and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally for another minute or until softened.

Lower the heat to low and create 3 wells in the mixture for the eggs. Add a bit of bacon grease to each well and crack an egg in each one. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Everything Bagel Seasoning, then cover the skillet and cook about 2 minutes, or until eggs are cooked to preference.

Remove from heat and garnish with thinly sliced scallions if desired. Enjoy!

Areas Of Development – Goals For January 2021

Happy New Year!

This is the first year that January 1st didn’t have that fresh start feel. I don’t have that usual invigorated feeling or feel like there is anything that needs to be on a resolution list. Outside of my co-parenting situation with my daughter’s father everything else in my life is pretty solid. I focused on my kids, career, myself, finances, and my home and I accomplished a lot.

These Areas of Development Goals that I set each month for myself have really helped me to hyperfocus on smaller goals in a shorter time frame and it works much better than setting a year long goal.

Jumping off this year’s goals… here we go!

1) Personal: Love myself and focus on my mental health.

I need to make me a priority and focus more on my mental health versus that of baby daddy’s. I need to give me more attention and not make him a priority. Loving me more is needed. 2020 was another mentally and physically draining year of dealing with the bullshit. He needs to focus on himself and seek the help he needs on his own. I feel good about the effort I put into finding him help and it’s no longer my problem to fix.

2) Health: Take virtual “STRONG Nation” classes with Century Body.

I used to have a membership to the YMCA and loved my hour away to do Zumba. It was so much fun being able to move my body through dance and it didn’t feel like a workout. I want to try something new and came across Strong Nation through Century Body and think this may be something I’ll enjoy since the classes are done virtually and I can pay per class. It’s $79 for the month of $10 per class.

3) Financial: Save money. No spend January. Invest. Eliminate debt.

It’s only 2 days into January and I’ve already had two issues come up. My washer stopped working and since my dryer has always taken 4-5 runs cycles to dry it’s time that I upgrade. I got a top loading washer from Whirlpool with the matching dryer. It cost me $1,800. Ouch. Thankfully, I plan for these things and can cash flow the purchase without it feeling too painful. Then today my transmission light on my car came on. I already had plans to drop the car off this afternoon because of a rattle sound coming from the rear end. I don’t know what these repairs will set me back yet so I’m trying not to spend on anything other than the necessities.

With saving money and cutting expenses I while continue to invest and work on eliminating my debts. In 2021 I’m projected to have my car and credit card paid off by August and will be able to start making larger payments to the principal on my mortgage. I cannot wait for that weight to be lifted of being debt free. I’ve only been debt free one other time in my adult life and I remember how I felt the day I hit submit on my final payment.

4) Family: Take a family photo!

I don’t have a single photo with me and my two kids. I would love to have a family photo shoot and finally put some photos up on our walls.

5) Relationships: Find joy in routines with my kids like doing the dishes together and making lunches.

Some things in my life are so robotic. I just muscle through them to get through the task. With having the luxury of working remote and having my kids home with me I want to create more routines that involve them and give us more family time. I miss the days of packing my son’s school lunch and want to do a better job this year of being more intentional with us sitting down together and having a nice lunch before Zaya goes down for nap.

6) Self-Development: Laugh more. Don’t waste my energy. Accept what I cannot control. Don’t take things too seriously. The simpler the better.

7) Professional: Develop leadership skills. Keep my energy levels up at work. Read George T. Doran’s article, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives.”

Even though I am content with where I am in my career at this time I would like to work on developing skills for leadership. This was a goal that my manager set for me during my annual review noting that he’d like to see me move towards a management position. I need to keep my energy levels up and stay motivated to put the effort into this.

8) Business: Bring in extra income and invest that money!

Bonus:

  • Buy a bottle of wine and drink it while lounging around in my new fuzzy socks my son got me for Christmas.
  • Dream about living in Florida when I become an empty nester.

There we have it. My goals to kick off the new year and our first month of 2021. Share in the comments below what goals you set for yourself.

  

Areas Of Development – Goals Update For December 2020

From the day after Thanksgiving when I put my Christmas tree up to the ringing in of the New Year I made sure to make the most of my final hours of 2020. I indulged in all the things that make me feel cozy and make me happy. I lounged around in my plush bath robe, drank all of the sugary coffees and hot chocolate bombs, ate whatever I wanted, and soaked up the feel goods of purchasing thoughtful gifts for those on my list.

As much as I indulged I did manage to check off all of my goals this month. This is the first month I can say that I completed my goals and feel amazing about my efforts.

That feeling of accomplishment is a great way to end the year and the needed momentum for entering into 2021.

1) Personal: Focus on fitness and look into gift giving ideas/stocking stuffers that have to do with fitness for Christmas.

I fit in workouts and targeted my chest and shoulders. We had a handful of beautiful sunny days in the 60s and some that pushed into the 70s. I love Houston for this reason. The kids and I were able to get out and soak up the sunshine and that Vitamin D by going for walks around the neighborhood.

For Christmas I kept my eye out for gifts that would get the kids more excited for outside time. We added spike ball, pickle ball, laser tag, nerf guns, foam glider planes, frisbees, and chalk to our outside equipment. I needed to purchase heavier dumbbells but instead opted for an exercise bike after finding a deal too good to pass up. It’s still in transit and should be arriving next week… along with some of those gifts I ordered over two weeks ago. Haha!

2) Health: For my mental health… reminding myself that the only thing that matters is how I see myself.

I had less than a handful of moments this month where I had to say this to myself. The struggle for baby daddy to understand who I am is still present. I couldn’t have asked for better timing with Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, coming available for me to have my turn to read it on the Libby app. The book is such an easy and enjoyable read and had me rethinking a few things and it has helped me retrain my brain. I’ve been able to approach situations with baby daddy from an “I don’t give a f**k!!’ mentality and has helped to close off certain parts of my heart that I kept open for too long. This book also has me reframing my “why’s” and reinforcing that sacrifices are needed to get what I want.

One of the passages I highlighted in this book has to do with maturity and learning to only give a f**k about what is truly f**kworthy. The beautiful thing about where I am in my life right now is this resonating message in the book:

“…, as we grow older and enter middle age, something else begins to change. Our energy level drops. Our identity solidifies. We know who we are and we accept ourselves, including some of the parts we aren’t thrilled about.”

3) Financial: Put money towards my goal of having $33,000 for my emergency fund.

I added $141 to my 6 month emergency fund. It didn’t push me out of my current 33% progress on this goal but all of these small amounts add up. I don’t think I’ll hit the fully funded amount until 2022 but it is a real possibility that I could make it happen if I stay driven and continue side hustling, especially if I scale. The truth is I am extremely tired and feeling run down by my year end push and have made the decision to not actively pursue more at this time. I’m okay with maintaining what’s on my plate for now.

4) Family: Celebrate my greatest blessings, my children!!!

My babies! Truly the greatest blessings I have ever been given. I cherish my time with them. I made sure to spend quality undivided time with them every day. My son made my heart swell when his Christmas wish list consisted of 3 items and one of them was a family day to the Houston Zoo. I got to see their faces light up as they walked hand in hand and went to each animal enclosure. We had movie nights, themed meals, and did art projects together. This month was one of the best Christmas seasons I have had in my adult/mommyhood.

5) Relationships: Find resources for getting help with mental health issues for baby daddy.

Because of my strained relationship with baby daddy I’ve had to shift focusing on the issues he has going on and give a f**k more about me and my mental health. These last couple of years have not been easy mentally and it drains me. As mentioned above, Mark Manson’s book is highly recommended. I feel like the insight I gained has given me the okay to feel how I feel and to stop caring to the extent I did. I care about him but those in love feelings are long gone and this is going to be his battle to fight. Even saying that I know me best. I stay ready and have another resource on deck in the event he reaches for help again if only he chooses to get the help.

For anyone struggling with mental health issues and anyone who is a caretaker to someone dealing with mental health issues my heart is with you. This shit is hard!

6) Self-Development: Learn a new skill. Overcome a bad habit. Read.

Okay, so I didn’t learn a new skill or overcome a bad habit but I’m still checking this as accomplished because I read. Refer back to my recommendation for Mark Manson’s book. It’s life changing and liberating.

7) Professional: Make myself a priority.

I did what I said I was going to do. I pulled back when I needed to and in return my body rewarded me with better night’s sleep, less anxiety, and even my weight dropped back down. When I look back at these last 9 years at my job I can say with confidence that all of those hours given to the company and my hardest work ever were absolutely worth it to be in the position I am today. I’m a single mom of two and a financially independent woman. I worked for that. My work has been recognized and I’m being gifted such a unique role at my company that I am taking it graciously. I am comfortable with where I am in my career. I am not chasing more at this time. By not chasing more and being happy and content it is me making myself a priority. My health is important and me being my best for my kids is what they need.

8) Business: Work on side hustles to bring in extra income.

The last two weeks were winter break at our school and my calendar quickly filled with side hustle work. Every family that I work with contacted me. I have gone nonstop and it finally hit me hard yesterday. I pushed through today and am looking forward to having my final job tomorrow morning. I made a little over $690 with another payment coming after tomorrow’s visit. The exhaustion is a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to hit my financial goals.

Speaking of financial goals, in 2020 I was able to shave off one year from my early retirement plan, accelerated my debt free journey by five months, and spent 29% less than I did in 2019. I made huge strides in 2020 and looking forward to more successes in 2021.

Bonus: Birdwatching.

Zaya loves sitting at the window watching the birds fly by or stop in our backyard for a bird bath from the standing water from the thunderstorms. I sat with her for over an hour one afternoon and ooh’d and ahh’d over every bird we saw. I love being able to experience the world for a second time through the eyes of a child. The wonderment is truly incredible and something worth slowing down for to enjoy with her.

That wraps up my 2020 Areas of Development updates. These 8 areas of focus will be something that I carry over into 2021. Setting monthly goals versus a year long resolution really showed how successful this method is for me and if for nobody else, at least these posts serve their purpose in continuing to motivate me.

I am wishing everyone a safe and healthy new year with a reminder to count your blessings and make “contact” with those you love. Happy 2021!!!

Areas Of Development – Goals For December 2020

I say it every month but now that we are in December my jaw is hitting the floor that this is the final stretch of 2020. This year has been a blessing for my household despite the wrath that COVID-19 has spread across the world. For anyone reading me saying that please know that my heart is heavy for those who suffered loss or experienced a decline in their health due to the virus.

With being at home since March I have not taken a single day for granted and have thanked God every day my feet hit the floor and especially thankful for being able to have had job retention and ability to work from home while keeping my children safe and healthy at home.

I do hope that those who have had a different experience are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and feeling optimistic going into 2021.

November was a bit of a whirlwind month for me and an intentional month focusing on some other priorities so I did not post about my goals. It is a little bit later into the month than I would normally post about my goals, however, I have time this morning and better late than never to try and motivate myself and others.

Here are my goals for December…

1) Personal: Focus on fitness and look into gift giving ideas/stocking stuffers that have to do with fitness for Christmas.

I’ve been maintaining my weight loss and staying in the 155-160 range. I lost 25 pounds this year mostly through diet. Intermittent fasting and Whole30 were huge contributing factors in my weight loss journey this year but now that I have the diet part under control I need to work of my overall fitness. I need to start strength training again because I am a weakling. Haha!!

Since Christmas is closing in, I would like to look into some gift giving ideas that are fitness related. My close family and friends are those I would only gift something like this too because I know who is on their own health journey and have a few ideas that might help them toward their goals.

2) Health: For my mental health… reminding myself that the only thing that matters is how I see myself.

I’m almost done reading, Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim, and I cannot recommend this book enough. There is a message throughout the book about accepting yourself as you are. I’m going to write down some of my favorite lines from the book in my journal so I can read them anytime I start to have a negative thought about myself.

3) Financial: Put money towards my goal of having $33,000 for my emergency fund.

My current goal progress is 33%. I would like to have $33,000 saved for emergency purposes and peace of mind of knowing that I have coverage for 6 months of living expenses in the event or job loss or other unforeseen circumstances. This amount provides cushion because I came up with that number based on my current spending habits. Obviously, if something were to happen my spending would be cut drastically and that $33,000 could potentially be stretched even further than just 6 months. I am aiming for 6 months at this time since that has been my personal experience that a negative financial position has never lasted for more than 6 months.

4) Family: Celebrate my greatest blessings, my children!!!

I have so much to be grateful for and I continue to stack my blessings everyday. My children are my greatest blessings. I want to show them how grateful I am to be their mommy by giving them undivided attention and my best effort every day.

5) Relationships: Find resources for getting help with mental health issues for someone I really care about.

I cannot stand to see anyone I love to hurt in any kind of way. I have been doing my best to be here for Baby Daddy while he is suffering through his battle with depression. I have offered up a lot of resources over the last two and a half years but he has declined all of them. I know I can only do so much but as someone who is closest to him I feel like I need to continue being strong for him and offering assistance to get him the help he needs. It’s important he does it for himself first but I want him to be mentally healthy for our daughter.

Being a “caretaker” of someone who is suffering through depression is mentally and physically draining and this year it also was financially draining when he went through a job loss. I have gone through my own battles with depression over these last couple of years but have been better equipped with healthier coping mechanisms to push me through. It’s important for me as I ride the waves of this “relationship” with him that I am in the best mental shape possible. The resources I find won’t just be for him but for me as well.

6) Self-Development: Learn a new skill. Overcome a bad habit. Read.

7) Professional: Make myself a priority.

My annual review happened a couple of weeks ago and it came with some much needed criticism even though it was unsolicited. The observation and commentary was an acknowledgement of how hard I have worked over the last 9 years but how my long work days may impact my health in the future. My foot always being on the gas pedal also makes it seem like I am not a team player since others are not as efficient as I am. I was compared to Michael Jordan. I’m too good at my job that others don’t have a chance to get their hand on the ball. It was encouraged for me to pull back and a plan was set in place for me to do so but with focus of propelling my career towards management. I am truly blessed to have that kind of support from my direct report. My role has been modified and this was my week in it. I can say that I am “working” less at work but it hasn’t made an impact on my productivity in my day overall.

Because I am working from home and working less at work that is giving me more free time. I have been able to tackle more of my to-do list which is great but I’m still stuck in the cycle of work, work, work. I need to make myself a priority and pull back even more when my body is screaming at me to take a break.

8) Business: Work on side hustles to bring in extra income.

The last half of this month is loaded with side jobs and I’m already feeling incredibly exhausted so I can only imagine how tired I will be come January 1st. I have lofty financial goals and dreams of early retirement so I keep that in mind as I load up my calendar and take on as much as I possibly can. Having that goal in mind keeps me motivated knowing that one day I won’t be stretching myself thin.

Bonus:

  • Birdwatching

ZZ has been taking such an interest in being outdoors, exploring, and taking in all of the sights and sounds. One of her favorite things is watching the birds. I’d like to spend intentional time with her to do this.

What goals do you have set for yourself this month and what steps are you taking towards them? Share with me in the comments below. I’d love to hear all about your victories and celebrate your successes with you.

Char Siu Pork (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Growing up my family would get Chinese takeout for dinner once a month. I ordered the same thing every time, Broccoli Beef, until I started branching out my taste buds and trying new things as I got older. I read the description for Char Siu Pork (Chinese BBQ Pork) under the appetizer section during one of our outings to a local restaurant and I just had to have this appetizer platter.

When the Char Siu Pork arrived I remember that ring of red around the pork. It was sticky and sweet and how perfectly it went with steamed white rice. The pork was tender and I ate every bite. What was meant to be shared as an appetizer became my entrée and one I ordered every time we went out.

I never knew how easy it would be to make at home and as much as I love that vibrant red coloring I chose to leave the red food coloring out of the ingredients list. It’s not because I’m opposed to it but because I didn’t have any food coloring in the pantry at the time.

Give this a try and be sure to give the meat time to marinate. It’ll be worth it. Promise.

Char Siu Pork (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Makes 6 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey plus 2 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut in half lengthwise

And Action:

Mix the marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. The marinade ingredients are everything listed except the pork and 2 tbsp of honey.

Place the pork in the marinade and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Line a baking tray with foil and place on the top rack of the oven while the oven is preheating to 320 degrees.

Remove the pork from the marinade and place on the foil baking tray and making sure to save the marinade.

Roast for 30 minutes.

While the pork is roasting, pour the marinade in a saucepan and add the 2 tbsp of honey into the marinade. Bring to a simmer over medium high and cook for a couple of minutes until it reduces. Remove from heat.

Remove the pork from the oven and brush the pork, baste and then roast for another 30 minutes.

Serve with rice and your choice of greens. Enjoy!