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! 

4. Trader Joe’s Sunflower butter. This stuff is addicting. Smooth. Sweet but not full of sugar. I eat it with apples, toast, or by the spoonful. It doesn’t last very long in our house. 

3. Using your child as a weight. Madelyn still likes to be picked up from time to time so I try to make it fun for her and turn it into an arm workout for myself.

airplane

Mama gets a good ab workout in table top and Madelyn thinks we’re playing airplane.  A win win for everyone. 

2. Homemade pasta sauce with homegrown tomatoes and garlic. This working mama is all about fast, easy, healthy and delicious meals. Last night, I was feeling like spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. Easy enough right? But I couldn’t justify buying jarred pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles when I had a TON of zucchini and tomatoes to use from my garden. So I whipped up this quick batch of pasta sauce and spiraled some zucchini.

vitamix sauce

 

Sauce includes: 8 medium roma tomatoes, 1/2 onion chopped, 1 small green bell pepper, 4 garlic cloves peeled,  4 TBSP tomato paste, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp coconut sugar, 1/2 lemon squeezed for juice, 1/2 tsp of salt.  Put in the vitamix in the order that is listed, mix for 1 minute up to 10 and then high. I browned some grass-fed ground beef with Penzey’s Chicago steak seasoning, added the sauce and simmered for about a 1/2 hour.  It was the best & easiest homemade pasta sauce I’ve ever made. I’m thinking of having a canning party one of these days. 

pastasaucewithzoodles1. Amazing friends who know how to keep you motivated. This is Kristine. Kristine is my long time college friend and Garmin Connection.IMG_2170

We met in college over a shared love for PRSSA and Chicago. Both from the Milwaukee area, we ended up in Chicago after graduation. She still lives there, and I’m slightly jealous. I’ve been talking to her about ordering a Vivofit since I lost my fitbit a few months back. I just didn’t know if I could justify purchasing another activity tracker. I finally bit the bullet on Wednesday and by Thursday I received my package in the mail. Talk about fast delivery :-) Imagine my surprise when I opened my box, expecting just to see my Vivofit and a package of bands:

IMG_2690

 

I was wondering why it so much heavier than expected! Besides my vivofit and bands, in the box I found a new snazzy Garmin tee, a heart rate monitor, water, packs of fluid performance, scratch hydration mix (I tried this at PRO a few weeks ago and I really liked it!) ProBar energy chews, Power bar energy chews, Honey stinger energy chews (my fave!), and a lululemon gift card. On three of the flaps there were messages. One message was a personal one from Kristine reminding me that we have 8 weeks left to go, that we can do this and to never give up. The other two flaps were quotes: “When you feel like quitting, think about why you started” and “Dead last is greater than did not finish which trumps did not start.” I love it! 

Thank you so much Kristine for giving me the motivation that I so desperately needed to power through these next 8 (almost 7 weeks!) You are truly a blessing and I can’t wait to celebrate our victories in Chicago. #chimarathon2014

What was the highlight of your week? It was a fairly good week over here, but my special delivery was definitely my highlight! 

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.
IMG_2524
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!

Meals & Workouts for the Week + a Cardio Playlist

Oh Monday…so nice to see you :-)  To say it’s been a long week and weekend would be an understatement.  A long week followed by a drill weekend is no bueno, but it did end on a high note:

GIRLS

GIRLS is back on TV!  So excited and thrilled to see what’s in store for Season 3.

Last week’s workouts consisted mostly of low-mileage runs and barre classes.  I’m just getting over some kind of sickness and my lungs were just not feeling it.  I didn’t complete a run longer than 4 miles.

This week, I’m feeling better and am starting to train for a 1/2 marathon I have coming up in March.  I’m hoping to get outside today for a run since it’s so nice!  I can’t remember the last run I had outside.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for this week:

Monday: Strength train plus run 4 miles / Spaghetti with veggies & pasta sauce
Tuesday: Run 3 miles + Abs and lower body / Slow cooker Sweet potato Chili
Wednesday: Barre Bee / leftovers
Thursday: 3 mile run + abs /Meatloaf from Runner’s World Cookbook
Friday: stretching & foam rolling

One of the things that’s been getting me through runs on the treadmill are my playlists that I’ve made on Spotify.  Inspired by some of the music I heard at barre, I decided to make a DIVAS cardio playlist.  It’s pretty much awesome.

Turkey Chili

As I sit here and write this blog post, I’m waiting for two dozen cookies to cool off so that I can throw them away.  cookiefailHashtag cookiefail.  I will be the first to admit, a baker I am not.  If you look at the top of the page and scroll over “Recipes”, you will see very little under the desserts section.  Cookie baking has never been my thing.  Cookie eating on the other hand?  Well, that’s a different story.  It’s probably a blessing that I’m not great at baking cookies.  On Monday, I tried out a new cookie recipe and they turned out fabulously!  And on the first try too!  The only problem with them was, they were a little crumbly.  So this time around I added more butter and, well?  Not so good.  For the next batch I added a little less butter and a tad bit more C4C flour and they’re looking much better.

As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen,  cooking is more of my thing.  The star entree of the week has been the turkey chili that hubs requested for Monday.  It was a definitely a chili kind of day…14 degrees?  That calls for chili.  I was browsing recipes online and either we didn’t have the right kind of peppers or it didn’t sound good to me.  So I decided to “wing it” and see what happens.  Verdict? So good, the recipe is worth sharing :-)  I was successful at something this week!

Turkey Chili
Ingredients

  • 3lbs ground turkey meat
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Chili seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 15oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans

Directions
Place ground turkey in a stock pot and brown the turkey.  Season it with italian seasoning and chili powder.  Add in the garlic, onion, and peppers.  Stir until soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then place on simmer for about 45 minutes.  You can choose to garnish it with cheese and sour cream if you wish.  We tried a little bit of gorgonzola and it was amazing!

turkeychili

I’m off to finish the rest of my cookie baking!  Wish me luck, I’ll be needing it ;-)

Special shout out!  I’d like to thank the peeps over at For Two Fitness for making me a brand ambassador.  I am honored :-) I am a HUGE advocate for exercise, especially when growing a little bambino (IF okayed by your doctor of course!).  I sported their super cute and comfy exercise tops while I was pregnant with Madelyn and will be proud to put back on my “Sweating for Two” when the time is right ;-) Head over to their website and purchase something for that pregnant person you know in your life or for yourself!

IMG_0419

WOAH BELLY!!!!