Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This and That

So this month has been super busy, more so than usual. Along with work and all the normal day to day stuff, there has been a bachelorette party, St. Patty's Day, and birthday parties, including my little one's fourth birthday. We had a Brave movie theme party. It was epic. And yes, I ate cake, with lots of sugar and fat in it.

And the month will just continue to be busy, with Easter, and you guessed it: another birthday party. The weekend after that I have a wedding to attend, then my mom's birthday, and on and on. So I really haven't had much time to devote to blogging, but while I have a small window of free time, I thought I would share with you some things I have been eating and a few other tidbits from the last few weeks.

Meet my new favorite breakfast:

Chia seed breakfast bowl with raisins and walnuts
Okay, if you've never had chia seeds, the way this stuff looks may seem odd, but it tastes amazing. And it's really good for you. Chia seeds are loaded with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, help reduce sugar cravings, and have even been linked to helping with mood disorders and brain function. The consistency of this breakfast is sort of like tapioca, so I realize it's not for everyone. But I promise, it's delicious, and you can feel really good about eating it. It's an awesome way to start your day! Oh, and did I mention, it's a make ahead recipe? Bonus! I love make ahead recipes for breakfast. I am not a morning person. I'm pretty much a zombie from the time I wake up until around 10 (ish). This is a breakfast you can just pull out of the fridge in the morning and eat. Perfect.
The recipe can be found here on one of my favorite websites for recipes: oh she glows. Angela makes her recipe for two, but I usually cut it in half and just make it for myself (the rest of my household eats eggs or cereal for breakfast, and nothing else). For toppings I usually use walnuts and raisins. You can basically treat the chia seed "pudding" like oatmeal, and add things to it. I like to add crunchy stuff for texture. With 1/8 cup walnuts and 1/8 cup raisins, my version clocks in at about 350 calories.

Another favorite breakfast as of late:

Egg white scramble with ham, green onion, spinach and avocado
As I mentioned, my other household members will only eat cereal or eggs for breakfast. My teenage daughter has also started eating omelets for dinner about two to three nights per week. Between all of us, the 18-pack of eggs I usually buy every week just isn't cutting it. On mornings where I'm not in a rush, I like to make an egg white scramble for breakfast. Lately I've been sautéing some green onion and spinach in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil, then adding three to four egg whites beaten with one whole egg, and scrambling it all up. I top it with half an avocado and some hot sauce. The day I took the picture above, I added a few slices of ham to the whole mess. It was sooooo good. I love breakfasts that are packed with protein to help keep me feeling full and energized throughout the day. A scramble made with three egg whites, one whole egg, 1 cup spinach, 2 green onions, and topped with half of an avocado clocks in at 250 calories. Hot sauce like Cholula or Frank's Red Hot adds zero calories. Score.

So along with breakfast, I've also been eating cookies:

True story.
But seriously, I made these trail mix cookies from a paleo recipe website, cavegirl cuisine, and they are fantastic. As I've mentioned, I don't adhere to a paleo eating style, I just like to steal borrow their ideas. Not only are these cookies super yummy, they are packed with stuff that's good for you (walnuts, coconut flake, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, dried fruit), and they are really easy to make. Observe:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, make into balls, bake.
The only change I made to cavegirl's recipe is I used craisins instead of dried cherries. That's just what I had on hand. Oh, and I didn't have any raw honey left, so I used standard clover honey. But that's it. Here's what they look like:

See, they even look like they came from the paleolithic era, all scraggly and primitive. The cookies actually take a few days to fully firm up (although they will still be pretty soft and chewy), but they are damn good no matter when you eat them. When I made them I ended up with 18 cookies, each one clocking in at 135 calories, 10 grams carbs, 10 grams fat (4 saturated), and 2 grams protein. These make an awesome dessert or snack, and during this busy month, they were an easy go-to when I was hungry.

Last but not least, this month I participated in an online 30 day squat challenge through my fitness pal. Yes, I know, there are 31 days in March. I didn't quite get it either. Anyhoo, the challenge consisted of an increasing number of squats per day, in varying types (curtsy, prisoner squats, one legged, etc), with rest days every four days. The first day started with 50 squats, and by March 30th, I was supposed to do 250 squats. Confession: I made it to Day 13. And I'm really bummed (get it?). However, I fully intend to complete 230, squats tomorrow, 240 on Friday, rest Saturday, and 250 squats on Easter. Hey, completing half of a challenge is better than nothing right?  And with bikini season right around the corner, I am all about toning and firming my abs and glutes right now. If you're interested, here is a copy of the challenge. After all, who says you can't do it in April?

Day 1-50 squats
Day 2-55 squats
Day 3-60 squats (prisoner squats)
Day 4-Rest
Day 5-70 squats (curtsy squat)
Day 6-75 squats
Day 7-80 squats (Curtsy Squat Rear Leg Lift )
Day 8-Rest
Day 9-100 squats (freehand jump squats)
Day 10-105 squats
Day 11-110 squats (split squat jump)
Day 12-Rest
Day 13-130 squats (bench pistol squat)
Day 14-135 squats
Day 15- 140 squats (prisoner siff squat)
Day 16-Rest
Day 17-150 squats (sissy squat)
Day 18- 155 squats
Day 19- 160 squats (skater squat)
Day 20-Rest
Day 21- 180 squats (one legged squats)
Day 22- 185 squats
Day 23- 190 squats (side squats)
Day 24-Rest
Day 25- 220 squats (Hindu squats )
Day 26- 225 squats (Pop Squats)
Day 27- 230 squats (frog squat)
Day 28-Rest
Day 29- 240 squats (plie squat)
Day 30- 250 squats (16 of each squat done during the challenge)

(I had to look up most of the variations of squats online, there are plenty of pictures and videos for demonstrations)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Meal Plan (March 4, 2013)

Look at me! Completing a Monday Meal Plan on a Monday! Let's get right to it, shall we?

The first thing I ate today was a cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with a cup of almond milk and some sliced strawberries. That's the only thing I don't have a picture of, I swear. I don't really wake up and begin to fully function until about 10 (ish), so pictures weren't really in the cards at 8 a.m.

Anywho, after I woke up a little more, I ate some of these little beauties:

The baker at my husband's restaurant brought in some eggs from her chickens. They were so pretty! And tasted awesome. Normally I would have eaten some egg whites scrambled with one whole egg but since these eggs were special, I didn't want to waste any of them. So I had two whole eggs scrambled with a little shredded cheddar and about a quarter cup black beans (rinsed and drained).

For lunch today, I made a hot open faced sandwich on a slice of toasted Ezekiel Bread, with ham, a slice of swiss, spicy brown mustard and a slice of pineapple:

I put the sandwich under the broiler for about three minutes to melt the cheese. Much healthier than making a buttery grilled cheese sandwich in a pan and still tasty.
Late afternoon/evening, I went to the gym. I'm doing a 30 day squat challenge for the month of March, and today was 60 squats. I also ran a mile on the treadmill, did 50 sit ups (incline and roman chair), and did two sets on each of the leg machines in the circuit. Before I went to the gym, I had a Larabar:

After the gym, I had a green smoothie, which I made with 1 cup spinach, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/3 of a frozen banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, and 1 cup home brewed green tea. The idea for this smoothie came from a recipe I found on Pinterest, but I added spinach and chia seeds to it. I have this idea in my head that I can add greens and chia seeds to any smoothie recipe I find and it will be even better for me and still taste great. Sometimes  it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I'll be honest, this smoothie wasn't out of this world. But it was a nice recovery drink after my workout none the less.

Ignore my smudgy microwave and ancient coffee pot.

This is what the smoothie looked like before I added the green tea and blended it all up. If you decide to make this smoothie, be warned, it will turn out more of a purple-gray color than green.

For dinner, I had about six ounces of oven roasted lean pork, and made another recipe I found on Pinterest: twice baked sweet potatoes with lime. The original recipe is from the blog Carrie's Experimental Kitchen, and can be found here. The combination of sweet potato and lime sounded a little strange but I like that sort of thing. The only change I made to the recipe was using regular shredded cheddar cheese because I didn't have any reduced fat cheese. I used one tablespoon of shredded cheddar for a whole potato. The flavors of the sweet potato and lime juice/zest were so strong I didn't taste any of the cheese, so next time I will probably just omit it. Here is what dinner looked like:

Not a very interesting plate, I know. The hubs drizzled honey over his pork, which really brought the flavors of the sweet potato and pork together. Have I mentioned he's a chef?
This day clocked in at 1,555 calories, 180 grams carbs, 56 grams fat, and 99 grams protein. If you are aiming for a lower calorie day, you could omit the cheese from the eggs and the potato. Or skip the Larabar. I ate one mainly as a little carb boost for my gym visit. And also because Larabars are freaking delicious.

Hope everyone has an amazing week. I'm off to unpack a few more boxes...