Butternut Squash and Maple Apple Soup

Happy marathon week my friends! I’m so excited the day is almost here! After months of training & hundreds of miles logged, nothing is throwing me off my game this week. I feel ready to take on Chicago. The most important thing I need to focus on this week is getting rest and making sure I stay hydrated.

This weekend, I finally caved in and turned on our heat :-/ If it weren’t for a sick kid, I probably would’ve held off a few more weeks. But I just wanted to make sure the little one was comfortable. Along with heat comes the first slow-cooker soup of the season.

When we went to the Harvest Festival last weekend, they had a farmers’ market stand there where you could fill a basket of squash for $7! We have a ton of squash in our kitchen and I don’t want any of it to go to waste. So I created a slow-cooker soup that encompasses everything Autumn: Butternut Squash, apples, and maple syrup. I served it up with a gluten-free bun and a salad. It was the perfect dinner for a cold and gloomy fall day, and our house smelled amazing!  
IMG_2818Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash & Maple Apple Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut Squash-peeled and cubed
  • 4 gala apples-peeled and chopped
  • 1 red onion-sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic-sliced thin
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  Remove bay leaves and pour the soup into a blender and blend to desired consistency. ( I used our Vitamix). Garnish with croutons or cheese.

Serve warm, with bread and a salad and enjoy!

Pumpkin Season!

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! I just finished up week 14 of marathon training for Chicago and I’m well into week 15-PEAK WEEK! After this week is over, the mileage starts to decrease before the big day is here. I’m very excited and only a little bit nervous ;-)
Here’s how week 14 went down:
Monday: Barre Class
Tuesday: 5 miles @ 9:10 + core work
Wednesday: 9 miles @ 9:50. Had some Garmin issues along with rainy & windy weather, but I powered through and figured out what went wrong at the end.
Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:10 + core & stretching
Friday: Barre class/stretch
Saturday: 18 miles @ 10:05. Played around with my pace for the marathon. Ended the last mile going uphill. Muy mal planning on my part. Weather was slightly cooler than what is normal for this time of year, but I refused to put away the shorts just yet.
photoSunday: Brunch with the family/rest day/took lots of naps and it was glorious.
On Sunday, I was feeling domestic. With last week’s cooler temps, I thought it would be the perfect time to whip up some baked goods. I had a counter full of zucchini and a cupboard full of canned pumpkin. Put the two together and I present to you, Paleo Pumpkin Zucchini Bread. It turned out so good (and made our house smell like Fall), that the whole loaf pan was gone with in two days. Oopsy whoopsy. I will be making another batch, experimenting with another type of almond flour. Maybe it will be done in time for a special house guest next weekend? ;-)  I’d like to find an almond flour that works well in baked goods and doesn’t make my bread/muffins too “soggy”. It was good, but a little bit more “soggy” (as I hate the word moist!) than I would’ve liked. The pumpkin could’ve been the culprit too.
 IMG_2814

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded & zucchini
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix dry ingredients (first 4) in a small bowl. Set aside
3. Shred unpeeled zucchini and blot with a paper towel to squeeze out excess moisture
4. Beat 3 eggs in a larger bowl. Place the remaining ingredients (except zucchini) in the bowl, then mix on medium for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been mixed in.
6. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan. You can also make muffins.
7. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
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Question of the day: What is your favorite pumpkin flavored thing to eat/drink/make? I also love pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting :-) My fave!

5 Things Friday

5. This blog post. I stumbled across Gina’s blog a few years ago through the Lululemon ambassador site. I was drawn to her style of writing and what her blog was all about. Her goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. She’s not a daily blogger; she posts mainly just about each marathon she’s recently ran and what’s going on in her life at the time. In her latest post, she talks about her battle with Lyme disease and running. It hit home to me because my mom suffered with Lyme long before anyone even knew what was wrong with her. Gina’s such an inspiration to all runners out there!  Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash Bake

Happy Tuesday! How was everyone’s weekend?  Ours started out really good and then ended kind of a low note…my strep throat returned and a busted tail light :-/ Womp womp!  Hubs accidentally backed my car into his…the worst kind of accident. But luckily, everyone is okay.  Easy (but pricey) fix.
fenderbenderI started feeling kind of crappy on Sunday when I woke up, but pressed forward with baking cookies with my little darling.
IMG_2530After that adventure and cleaning up the kitchen, I was exhausted and could feel my throat starting to swell up.  I called my doc to call in another round of antibiotics, so hopefully this round will do the trick.  I have a half marathon to run this weekend and I want to go into it feeling 100%.
To continue on with celebrating National Nutrition Month, I want to share an amazing recipe using spaghetti squash in place of pasta.
Both pasta and spaghetti squash have their own nutritional benefits.  For example, pasta is a better source of folate, where as eating spaghetti squash will provide you with more antioxidants.  Both are low in fat, but if you’re watching your carbs, spaghetti squash would be the better choice.  There are 7 grams of carbs in spaghetti squash compared to pasta’s 31 grams of carbs.  And calories? 1 serving of pasta (and let’s face it, most of us are consuming more than the recommended amount) packs in 158 calories, while spaghetti squash contains 27 calories. (source)   Overall,l if you’re trying to eat low (complex) carbs, low-fat, gluten-free or whole, unprocessed foods, I would say that spaghetti squash is the way to go.
Last week I made this delicious number.
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I cut 1 spaghetti squash in half (lengthwise), brushed it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes.  While that was baking in the oven, I cooked up some italian chicken sausage, spinach, and pasta sauce.  Once the spaghetti squash was out of the oven, I took a fork and “fluffed” up the “noodles”.
IMG_2522
Then spooned the chicken sausage mixture over top and then added a sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles.  And voilà! Dinner :-)
What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash? I used to scoop it out onto a plate and eat it like spaghetti, but I found this way to be much more appetizing and EASY!

Beet it!

Happy Fat Tuesday!! How are you celebrating? I started my morning off some juice and eggs :-) Wild & crazy over here, I know.

Since March is National Nutrition Month, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite foods & the benefits you reap from eating them, starting with beets.

beetsIt wasn’t until I was pregnant with Madelyn that I started to like beets.  I was at the farmer’s market and thought to myself, ‘those look fun!’ So I bought them, googled how to cook beets, and the rest is history.  I eat them in salads, as a side, and in JUICE.

beetjuiceMy favorite Beet Juice Combos

  • 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot, 1 red bell pepper, 2 red beets, 2 apples, 1 orange
  • 2 beets, apple, 2 carrots, cucumber
  • Apple, carrot, beet, ginger & lemon

Benefits of Eating Beets

  • High in vitamins & minerals.  Folic acid, iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A, B, C; etc…Beets are very beneficial for woman who are pregnant because they help replenish the body’s iron supply and the B vitamins help create new cells.
  • Detox the body.  Beets help detox your liver, purify your blood and can even prevent some types of cancer.
  • Stomach Acid Indicator.  You might notice, that if you eat a lot of beets or drink a lot of beet juice, your pee turns pink.  This is an indicator that you have low stomach acidity.  However, if you’re drinking/eating beets and your pee afterward is clear, this is a sign of high stomach acidity and it’s time to start thinking about your diet/lifestyle.
  • Beets make you happy.  They contain betaine, the same substance that is used in some treatments for depression.  Beets and also lower your blood pressure and give you a “sense of calm”.

Do you eat beets? What is your favorite way to eat them? I usually steam mine, slice them and add a little sprinkle of goat cheese :-) Makes the perfect side!

 

Asian Chicken Salad

Happy Tuesday!  How was everyone’s weekend?  Ours was pretty busy over here, with drill and the last of our work holiday parties plus taking care of a sick kiddo.  Let’s just say, I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Last week, I was on a mission to use up some of the pantry items I’ve had on hand for awhile.  There were a lot of random meals being made and at one point, I said to hubs as we sat down to dinner, “I have no idea how this is going to taste, but all these things sounded like a really good idea.”  And it was.  I did, however, make one meal that I knew would be a for sure winner.

Every time we have a big family gathering, my grandma makes this Oriental Salad and it’s always a hit.  The salad is made with a pack of ramen noodles and you use the flavor packet as part of the dressing.  It’s amazing.  I would like to experiment with making the dressing completely from scratch one of these days just because I know how much sodium is in that little flavor packet.  If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears!  To serve as a main meal, I cut up two chicken breasts into bite size pieces and sautéed them in sesame oil and black pepper.  The chicken definitely added some staying power to the salad.

IMG_2488Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb bag angel fine cole slaw
  • 1 pack oriental flavored ramen noodle
  • 1/2 c diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 c honey roasted sesame sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c roasted almonds sliced

Dressing

  • 1 flavor pack that comes with noodles
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 c oil

In a large bowl, mix up all of the salad ingredients.  Crush the ramen noodles up for garnish if you want to.  It adds a nice crunch to the salad.  In a separate smaller bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and stir.  Mix well into the salad.  Add in the chicken.  There you have it!  A salad packed with flavor that has some staying power.  Win win!

This week, my meals are well-planned out but my workouts are kind of all over the place, but I’m getting it done!  Here’s what’s on the agenda for this week:

Monday: PF Chang’s Asian Lettuce Wraps (thumbs up!) + Interval Barre & Running 3 miles

Tuesday: Runner’s World Meatloaf  (sooo good!) + foam rolling & stretching

Wednesday: leftovers + barre bee

Thursday: Jerk shrimp stir-fry + my Air Force PT Test!! (I’m anxious to see how all the push-ups in barre have helped me!)

Friday: Mexi night + Barre & running maybe?

I’ve been putting my Runner’s World cookbook to use!  I have yet to make a disappointing recipe from it and can’t wait to try out some of the desserts.  It was one of the most useful birthday presents that I received last year.

Question of the night:  What’s your favorite recipe book?  I could always add more to my collection!  My favorite would have to be a gift from my grandma.  One year for Christmas, she made up books for all of the women in my family of all of her best recipes.  It’s a cookbook I will keep forever!

Timing is Everything

Happy Sunday!  I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.  Ours has been pretty relaxing.  Madelyn and I bundled up and headed out to the gym yesterday for a 6 miler on the treadmill, while she ran around at the kids club.  I’m ready for winter to be OVER.  The only thing that got me through 6 miles on the treadmill was reading Runner’s World on the iPad.  Today, my mom came over and watched Madelyn for me while I tortured my thighs at Barre…in a good way of course ;-)

So yesterday, after my run I was pretty proud of myself for having another good long run on the treadmill.  I texted my sister if she wanted to come celebrate with me by drinking some wine and eating gourmet frozen pizza, compliments of Trader Giotto’s.  She happily accepted :-) I usually reserve my few glasses of wine for the weekends.  I’ve found that when I have even one glass during the week, when I have to wake up super early, I’m extremely tired in the morning and all day long.  Totally not worth it.  Last Thursday, a co-worker texted me and asked if I was drinking wine…I responded with “No but, should I be?”  Instead, I was drinking camomile tea while reading Runner’s World in bed.  Wild, I know.  29 going on 70 here folks!

While I was browsing Facebook the other day, I came across an article that really put a damper on my weekend wine consumption: alcohol slows down fat-burning and your metabolism!  I knew it wasn’t good to drink if you were trying to lose weight, but I figured it was just because of the sugar/empty calories.  I tried to go back and look for the article so I could link it, but I didn’t have any luck :-/ To sum it up, it basically said that the timing of your drinks after a workout really mattered, but if you wait too long and drink too close to bed time, it can disrupt your sleep.  So what’s a girl to do?  Luckily, I’ve been getting my weekend workouts done first thing in the morning so it’s not too much of an issue.  It also helps that after one glass of wine, I’m feeling pretty good :-)  I am also making more of an effort to switch over to water a few hours before bed.  I hate feeling tired on the weekends.

wine

So what’s on the workout schedule/menu this week?

Sunday: Barre Bee / Beef & Broccoli with brown rice (recipe up this week!)

Monday: Barre Bee + Run 3 mi / Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tuesday: A new to me workout…stay tuned!

Wednesday: Barre Bee + 4 mile run

Thursday: Run 3.5 miles + gym workout with my mom!

Friday: Interval Barre

I didn’t share too many meal ideas for this week, but I went to the store and bought a bunch of random things :-/ So much for meal prep this week.  I have a lot of stuff in my refrigerator and cupboards that I’ve been wanting to use up.  So, dinner’s kind of a toss up this week.  We’ll see what kind of creations I come up with :-)

I’m off to go finish watching the Grammys and later on, GIRLS!   Have a great night!