Pasta Shells with Chicken Sausage Ragu

Good Morning guys! Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. For all of you affected by last week’s tragedy and continuing to be affected by the wildfires, and life in general, my heart goes out to you. I shared how I am feeling about the current state of things right here on my Instagram account yesterday. And I thought that in light of everything and with the weather finally cooling off, it might be a good time to share one of those comforting, eat your feelings kind of meals!

So I hope you have a fantastic week! Let’s all try to stay positive and take one moment at a time! And enjoy some pasta!

Pasta Shells with Italian Chicken Sausage Ragu

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Category: Entree

Cuisine: Italian

Yield: 8

Pasta Shells with Italian Chicken Sausage Ragu

Comfort Food Heaven, This comforting mix of flavors, and the playfulness of the pasta shells makes this recipe a family hit!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 16oz Box Large Pasta Shells, I prefer Barilla
  • 1 Jar Rao's Marinara
  • 1/2 lb sweet italian chicken sausage
  • 1/2 lb spicy italian chicken sausage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 handful chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmigiano cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta shells according to directions on the box. I use a dutch oven though, so I can make everything in one pot
  2. Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside reserving 1/2 C pasta water for the sauce
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in the same pot you used to cook the pasta in
  4. Add both types of sausage and cook through until brown and crumbly
  5. Remove from pan and place on a plate topped with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil
  6. Add onions and and garlic to the pan and cook until slightly translucent (about 5 mins)
  7. Add entire jar of tomato sauce, reserved pasta water, and sausage to the pot and allow to simmer 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, chop up your parsley
  9. When you are ready to serve, pour pasta shells into a large pasta bowl, and top with the sausage ragu. Garnish with parsley and parmesan.
  10. If you don't want to dirt another dish, just toss that pasta into the pot and serve out of that!
http://www.flabbutfab.com/2018/11/12/pasta-shells-with-chicken-sausage-ragu/

What I’m up to now.

Day 1:

Every year I feel like I get closer to the type of healthy/ sustainable lifestyle I want. I am doing everything in my power to be more present with my family and taking the necessary steps to control my anxiety.

BUT I still struggle on a daily basis with overeating and using food as a coping mechanism.

What I do know is that I need structure in my life, like a LOT of it.

So for the next 6 weeks I will be taking on a fitness and nutrition challenge at Synergy 180. Over the next six weeks my goals are to:

  1. Firm Up!
  2. Eat way cleaner- lots of GI/ behavioral issues in our house and I am about 1000% positive all of the sugar and processed food that has snuck back into our diet has both affected my energy levels and the overall health of our family.

I am going to make a conscious effort to focus on the inches and body fat loss and how I feel versus stressing about a number. Fingers crossed. I struggle with negative self-talk so that’s also going to be a focus.

I will be following a nutrition program designed by Synergy comprised of lean proteins, healthy fats, tons of vegetables, and some fruit. (FYI the recipes are delicious so far).

During this 6 weeks, I will also be working out at Synergy 5x a week.

Each week I will do a check in to measure my body fat percentage. In an effort to not focus on the scale I have asked the awesome people at Synergy 180 to just focus on the fat and inches lost. My goal is to lose 5% body fat.

To add an even more detailed layer to this, I had the privilege of trying out the DEXA scan at Body Comp.

DEXA scan is a comprehensive body composition scanner to see exactly my proportions of fat to muscle, and where I hold it. I plan on getting another scan at the end of the 6 weeks to compare my results. It was super comprehensive and everyone there was so helpful!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Silly Mummy.

Happy Halloween! Our family Loves Halloween and I thought I would share a little insight, and a fun recipe to celebrate!

Believe it or not, I have actually learned a lot about myself and my family over the years about Halloween.

First of all, it is by far our favorite holiday. We decorate the house from top to bottom, and my boys basically wear their costumes every single day the entire month of October.

We are lucky enough to live in a very family friendly neighborhood that gets a TON of action on Halloween. In the past, every year we would have a Halloween party where we would invite all of the kiddos’ friends over to eat and play, then head out to trick or treat.

The past couple of years though, I have dreaded Halloween.

I had gotten so caught up in the idea of the perfect Halloween experience for my kids, that it wasn’t fun anymore.

We would literally try to hit up every single Halloween related event within 10 miles of our house. Ok, maybe that was an exaggeration but you know what I mean.

My oldest son has a lot going on in his little brain, and he tends to melt down when he gets overstimulated. In the past, we would try to hit every carnival or Halloween activity under the sun only to have epic meltdowns and sleepless night afterward.

So this year we decided to just chill. We went to a carnival for the school in our neighborhood on Friday night and just chilled as a family on Saturday and Sunday crafting and pumpkin carving. We kept the expectations low, and honestly, it was so much fun.

Turns out that quality is better than quantity. Who knew? So while the scope of the celebrating has devolved, the enjoyment has definitely increased

Now for the FOOD. Here is a super simple but delicious recipe for some savory roasted pumpkin seeds, let me know what you think!

Savory Pumpkin Seeds and a Silly Mummy

This is ME!

Hey guys! How are ya? How was your weekend? I don’t know about you but my little mind has been buzzing lately and I have been doing a lot of writing!

I thought before I started sharing some new posts, this would be a good time to pop in and reintroduce myself to you.

For those of you who have been around the past few years, thank you! I love you!

working on some exciting new content for ya!

For the rest of ya, I am Betsy, a thirty-something neurotic Jewish boy mom living in sunny San Diego. My hobbies consist of….. oh wait, I have children I don’t have hobbies.

I do love all things food and exercise related. We are huge Disney dorks and try to go as much as possible.

As for this bloggie, I started back in 2016. I was feeling very burned out at work and creatively stifled. I needed an outlet, and almost as a joke came up with “Flabbutfab” and the blog that followed.  I was an elementary educator for 12 years, spending the last 4 working in special education. At the end of the school year in June of 2016, I took the plunge and left the school district I had been working at since 2004. I was 35 and wondering what was next.

I would definitely say it was the scariest thing I have ever done. I thought I had to immediately be doing something, so I tried quite a few avenues. I did some educational consulting and training and took a stab at direct sales, but I really suck at convincing people to buy things from me. I spent a little time in the private sector working with a company that provided ABA Therapy, but still, it wasn’t right. The hours I was working kept me from being around for my kiddos and my oldest son was having a lot of problems in school.

At the end of last year, my oldest son (the one in the back!) was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD. I knew I need to refocus and use my skills from the classroom at home. I am working really hard to support him in school and emotionally, so I really needed to be around for him after school.

What I’ve realized is that right now, I am needed most as a mom and a wife. My husband has a very demanding job and works a LOT. I need to make sure I can support him and the boys as he provides for our little family.

But I had always worked in some form or another and was feeling very lost at first. I felt like I needed something tangible to show that I was a productive human. Funny how keeping two children alive doesn’t do that, right?

After I stopped working outside of the home I spent a solid few months doing absolutely nothing. There were some days I took the kiddos to school and then came home and got right back in bed with Netflix and a bowl of popcorn. It was actually much harder than you would think. I know, world’s tiniest violin. But for a person who has gone non stop their entire lives, slowing down is hard. You feel lazy and guilty, and you eat way too many of the kids’ snacks.

But I needed it.

I needed it so badly. Having that time to rest and recharge after so many years of living in fight or flight mode (I won’t even get into some of the personal stuff we went through over the past few years) it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my life, my passions and what would make me happy. So what’s the point of this rambling?

Because I feel like a lot of mamas out there can relate.

One thing I do know I love doing is sharing my thoughts with you on this blog. So while I may be all over the place from my emotional meltdowns to party and travel tips, I from now on will be unapologetically me sharing with you. I am sure professional bloggers would be horrified how inconsistent I am or confused about what my niche is.

To them I say GFY.

It’s Betsy- a chick who is multi-talented and all over the plays and an overall wild and crazy gal

Cue This Is Me from The Greatest Showman

Talk to you very soon,
Bets

I Drank the Kool Aid and I LOVED it!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take my first SoulCycle class. SoulCycle opened its first studio in San Diego just a few weeks ago so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. You would have to pretty much live under a pop culture rock to not know what SoulCycle is, but just in case here is their website: SoulCycle

Just a head up before I go any further, I have zero affiliation with SoulCycle. This is just me sharing my thoughts on my class experience! Unless they need an ambassador, then I would be happy to step in ; )

This is an excerpt from the About section on their site:

“it’s a powerful mind-body experience. We ride together as a pack in candlelit studios to the rhythm of one-of-a-kind playlists. We’re coached by magnetic instructors, who support us, coach us and push us to reach our personal bests. We sweat, reach, and recover, together.”

How I felt after class.

As the consummate cynic, I assumed that the class would be completely overrated and just like every other cycle studio I had been to.

I could not have been more wrong!

Here are some of my takeaways from the class:

The environment was incredibly body positive! As you know, I have been in a lifelong struggle to love my body for what it can do for me, versus what it looks like. Walking into the sold-out class I thought I would be totally intimidated riding next to all of the hard bodies in there. One of the personal goals I’m working on this year is to not compare my body to other women’s. But once I got settled on my bike, I realized that the class was set up in a way to discourage that and to just focus on yourself and your ride ( I will get to the room in a sec!).

The instructor did a fantastic job of motivating the students without being overly cheesy. You ride to the rhythm of the music, there are no computer screens on the bike telling you your speed or distance, it is just you and your bike.

There were SO many bikes, we were kind of packed in like sardines. Once I was on the bike it was fine, but getting to my bike was a little tricky. I noticed that the bikes were arranged one in front of the other, instead of a staggered setup. Unless you were right in the front, you couldn’t really see yourself. While one might think that this was a strategy to cram in as many bikes as possible, I think it had more to do with not being able to see yourself or anyone else in the mirror for that matter. You really only have yourself and your ride to focus on. Once the class started the lights turned off, and the only lighting was some large candles on the instructor’s podium. This definitely set the tone, allowing everyone to center themselves and get into their own zone.

Needless to say, afterward I was a sweaty beast afterward and felt like I got an amazing workout in!

Class Stats

The class is based on pedaling to the beat. Let’s just say that I am not the world’s most graceful or coordinated human, so I have to admit, that was a bit of a struggle, so I know where I need to focus my attention in the future.

I own spin shoes, but the clips on the bottom were not compatible with their bikes. For your first ride you get complimentary shoes, then you can rent them if you need to. I believe I can replace the current clips on my shoes to make them compatible.

Clip in shoes

Tell me was that informative enough? Do you enjoy spin? Did I forget to mention anything? I would love your feedback!

Talk to you soon! -Betsy

Vegas 2018: Shopping, Basketball, and ALL THE FOOD

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! Any fun plans for the week? We are recovering from another epic Vegas trip and my Wy Man has his 6th (how?!?)  birthday on Saturday! I wanted to share some fun pics from our weekend and some of our awesome eats and adventures.

As some of you know, every year we meet Tom and Gina in Vegas for the PAC12 Basketball Tournament. Click here for previous years’ posts: 2016  and 2017.

Gina and I at the finals of the tournament.

We love college basketball and all of our favorite teams play in this tourney. There is a very healthy rivalry between us but it is really all in good fun.

This year we decided to go up a day early. We have had a lot going on and Jeremy and I needed a little extra time alone to decompress. We needed to remind ourselves that we are not just two ships in the night passing while raising two boys!We needed to let loose a little and have some fun. And boy did we do that!

We got in on Thursday, checked into our hotel, grabbed a late lunch and a Bloody Mary and headed to a basketball game. I am still recovering from the plague also known as an Ear Infection, Strep, and Walking Pneumonia, so we took it easy that night.

Customized Bloody Mary
Late Lunch

Friday was glorious: Brunch at Mon Ami Gabi, shopping, Drybar, Caviar, and Basketball. Basically the perfect day.

Mon Ami Gabi
Petrossian Caviar Cafe
A little nugget of heaven
All the shoes

On Saturday I woke up feeling kind of meh. I think I did too much on Friday, so we slowed down a bit. Grabbed the most amazing brunch at Herringbone in the hotel, walked around a bit and then got ready for the tournament finals.

Herringbone
Herringbone
Chilaquiles
Lunch at The Venetian
Lunch at The Venetian

Vegas is truly a fatty’s, I mean Foodie’s dream!

After the game, we rallied and hit the hotel bar.

It. Was. Epic.

The calm before the storm

I haven’t let loose like that in forever! I would love to tell you all about the debauchery, but you know what they say. What happens in Vegas…

Let’s just say we were paying for it on Sunday, but it was 100% completely worth the pain.

We had the most amazing time with the most amazing friends, but it was so great to get home to these knuckleheads.

My babes

What are your favorite Vegas hot spots? I would love to hear your Vegas recommendations!

Talk to you soon!

B

Flablife Update

Hey, friends! Happy Hump Day! Can you believe it has been just over 2 years since I started this silly blog?!

I decided to put together this post after I shared a pic on Insta that seemed to resonate with some of you, and I wanted to expand on it a little, no pun intended!

To say that I’ve been a yo-yo dieter is an understatement. While I dieted and exercised all throughout my post-high school years, it was always 10lbs here and there, nothing too crazy. I was also an avid runner and enjoyed a pretty balanced lifestyle, and by balanced I mean lots of beer and burritos followed by Lean Cuisines. But hey, I was in my 20’s and it was WAY easier to drop 5-10lbs in a few weeks.

It wasn’t really until I got pregnant for the second time did I have a much harder time losing the weight, leading me to utilize some less than healthy weight loss methods. To give you a little understanding, I created this nifty timeline to document my ups and downs with the scale.

July 2009- +50lbs, pregnancy #1

2009-2011 -35lbs, healthy diet and exercise

2012 50+ lbs, pregnancy #2

2012-2013 -30lbs, Kaiser Diet (7: 80 calorie shakes/day)

2013 +10lbs gain

2014-2015 -30lbs popping diet pills and eating nothing, along with zero exercise (SO bad, I know!)

2016 +20lbs, due to depression and Postmates.

2017 Another year, another 20lb loss, then gain.

2018 So far, down about 5lbs, working out consistently, happy and not trying to focus so much on the scale.

In case you were more visual, I put together a gallery of sorts to document the fun:

 

I have really been working hard on myself these past few months and trying to identify a lot of my triggers that cause me to overeat and self-sabotage.

Not to say that it’s easy and I’m some crazy enlightened soul, but there definitely has been a shift in my mindset.

That said, losing weight is SO hard. Especially with children, and family, and friends, and parties, and spouses, and, well, LIFE!

But if I can finally start to get my shit together, then anyone can!

I am not yet where I want to be, but I know where I’m going and I am definitely looking at this as a lifestyle, not a diet. (Jesus, how cheesy am I?)

Are you a Yo-Yo dieter? When/ why did things finally click for you? Or are you still on the journey? Tell me!

Talk to you soon!

Betsy

10 Helpful Thanksgiving Tips

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away?!?! This year has flown by!

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I have had the honor of taking over hosting from my grandmother who did it for over 50 years. And I wanted to share a few of things I’ve learned.

  1. Keep it simple! This is not the place to get super high brow on your family. Stick to the faves and if you want to add 1 new dish or 1 new dessert to your repertoire that’s cool, but this probably isn’t the time to test out any new techniques you saw on Iron Chef.
  2. Break up your grocery shopping. A few weeks before buy all of your pantry items like the potatoes, onions, frozen veggies, canned goods, etc. Then the Sunday or Monday before, grab all of your perishables and any last minute items. I promise this will make your life much less stressful. While you might think it’s a hassle to make two trips to the store, trying to get everything on your list in one stop is daunting. I guarantee that you will forget something and inevitably have to make another trip to the store anyways.
  3. On Thanksgiving day, all you should be preparing is the turkey and gravy. I know so many people who wake up at 4 am to start prepping for this gigantic meal. But here’s the thing, potatoes, stuffing and green beans are very sturdy sides and can easily hold up for a day or two in the fridge. I make all of my sides and desserts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thanksgiving Day, I am freed up to hang more with the family and I feel less overwhelmed.
  4. When cooking for a large group, use two birds that are a bit smaller than one giant turkey. It will take less time to cook assuming you have a double oven, and since the bird is smaller it is much juicier.
  5. Dust the turkey with sweet paprika right before you toss it into the oven. This gives it a nice brown crust.
  6. Always pat the bird dry and let stand at room temp 30 mins before putting it in the oven for 15 mins/ lb.  (375 is my preferred temperature)
  7. If you make your own whipped cream, which really is a must: sweeten with confectioners sugar: I️t contains cornstarch which will act as a stabilizer.
  8. Do not reinvent the wheel. Coco’s or Marie Calendars can bake way better than me! So do the semi-homemade hack; buy the pie and make the whipped cream.
  9. I found that the little ones are not big fans of pie, so I always have an alternate dessert like ice cream or chocolates for the kiddos.
  10. Remember, at the end of the day this holiday is about and enjoy spending time with your loved ones above all else. Hiccups will happen, but that’s life!

    (A few pics of past Thanksgiving dinners.)

Are there any tried and true tips you have? I would love to hear them!

Have a wonderful holiday friends! xo Betsy

And That’s a Wrap on Summer (Thank F’ing God!)

“The time has come for the little ones to head back to school, I am so sad that this summer is over!” Said No Mom EVER.

I remember as the school year was ending in June talking to some mommies who were like, I can’t wait for summer! We get to sleep in and spends lazy days at home. Listening to that I thought my head would explode. Don’t get me wrong, props to these mom’s whose children who can sleep past six and play happily together without trying to kill each other within 5 minutes. But that ain’t my house.

When I think of Summer I think about the fact my otherwise well-behaved kiddos become Ipad hungry cranky little trolls who live to drive me crazy. Then there’s camp. Nothing like driving all over the city paying an ungodly amount of money to hear my children complain about wanting to stay home. Hey A-holes, mama’s gotta go to work!

Ok, Ok, it really was a fun summer.

We snuck in a fun staycation at the beach for Max’s birthday, spent a lot of time with friends, and made it to Disneyland twice. We even managed a little time relaxing.

We did find some time to be lazy!
And quite honestly the Summer really did fly by and I am not quite sure that I am ready to see my baby march off to Kindergarten tomorrow.

But I am ready to get back to our routine. All the summer fun definitely has its price. Especially on my pant size. Will probably have to wear those Maxi dresses and yoga pants a little longer before I switch to jeans and sweaters. Thank god it’s still hot as balls in San Diego.

It is such a dichotomy really. I love those boys so much sometimes I think my heart will explode. Other times they literally try my patience to the nth degree. I love being their mommy, it’s my world but I need Betsy time. I need routine. I need order. I guess it’s a fair trade though. 9 months on, 3 months off. I can handle that. And I know sooner than later they will need me less, and I will need them more. Time truly does fly.

I need routine. I need order.

I guess it’s a fair trade though. 9 months on, 3 months off. I can handle that. And I know sooner than later they will need me less, and I will need them more. Time truly does fly.

Sigh.

Anywho, we wrapped the holiday weekend up with a pool party at my mom’s house, today is school orientation, and Wednesday their first day! (F’ing FINALLY!)

Time to start thinking about apple picking, candy corn, and Halloween costumes, ya feel me?

xoxo

Betsy

Did You Miss Me?

Hey there! It’s been a minute since I’ve been on my little bloggie. We’ve had a LOT going on around here the past 2 1/2 months. Lots of changes, and thankfully all positive!

The boys are fantastic! The school year flew by, and we are looking forward to lounging by the pool, and of course a little adventure to our happy place!

But the two biggest changes are:

1) I am back to work full time.

I left the classroom exactly a year ago. After 12 years of teaching elementary school, I made the decision to resign. This was not an easy choice but I was no longer being fulfilled with what I was doing. I knew if I didn’t take that leap and walk away, I would continue going through the motions and end up miserable. I am still working with kiddos but in a much different realm.

After I left my job I struggled to find my groove. It was a very uncomfortable time for me. I have always been a person who measures her self-worth by the number of items crossed off my to-do list each day. Without the routine of a regular work schedule, I really began to flounder, and stress eat!

There’s a saying: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

That. Is. Me.

Not that having 2 children didn’t keep me busy, but I needed something that was my own, and I crave routine. It was a very hard transition, and while terribly uncomfortable, it was much needed.

About a month into my new job, I had a sort of a-ha moment.

I immediately called my mom (of course) and shouted into the phone: “I’m back!!!” After a very long hiatus, I finally feel like the old me.

2) The scale is FINALLY moving in the right direction!

I definitely feel that when I started focusing more on what I needed to feel fulfilled, things started falling into place, that including my wellness journey. I am not yet all the way to where I want to be but I am a helluva lot closer than I was six weeks ago. Booyah!

So yea, that’s what I’ve been up to. Any big changes in your life?

Talk to you soon!
Betsy