Category Archives: Food

Meal Prep Monday: Slow cooker turkey chili and jalapeno honey cornbread muffins

Good morning! I’m still in my pajamas enjoying my coffee, as I have the day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I spent some time this morning reading his letter from Birmingham jail. It took me a while, since I had to stop every 30 seconds to scream into a pillow. How are we still fighting these same issues over 50 years later? I don’t know about you, but for me January 20 is going to involve sweat pants, beer, and ugly crying.

Actually, it WON’T involve beer because I have a CrossFit competition the next day and I’d like to minimize the chances of me throwing up in front of a crowd. (<– Please admire my not-at-all-subtle subject changing skills.) I’m pretty nervous, since it’s only my second individual competition – I usually do them with a partner, which is way less scary to me. It’s also my first “RX” division competition. (Most CrossFit competitions have two divisions: scaled and RX. The RX division involves heavier weight loads and more advanced movements like handstand push ups, toes to bar, chest to bar pull ups, and whatever other evil movements the event planners can think of!) I just keep reminding myself that the worst that can happen is that all the other people finish before me and then everyone in the building stares at me while I struggle to complete the workout and then a few days later I find out that somebody was taking video and now I’m a sad gym fail meme.

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Welcome to my mind. It’s terrible here.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty good about keeping my nutrition dialed in since Christmas, although I did eat a slab of German chocolate cake the size of my head at a birthday celebration at work on Friday. It tasted really good, but I spent the rest of the day wanting to unzip my pants and take a nap under my desk, which wasn’t the greatest.

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For my meal prep this week I made a huge batch of this slow cooker turkey chili. It’s really good topped with plain Greek yogurt and a little cheese,  but you could also roll it up in tortillas with some avocado to make tacos or burritos, plop it on top of a bowl of greens and eat it as a salad, or even use it to make stuffed peppers.

And since chili is basically useless if you don’t eat it with cornbread, I made some cornbread muffins to go with it. I was going to use a box mix until I looked at the macros and HOLY SUGAR, that shit is not great for you. I made them myself instead, using Greek yogurt and decreasing the amount of oil. I also added finely diced jalapenos to the batter, and these babies are SO good eaten warm with a little butter and raw honey.Here’s the recipe for those:

Greek Yogurt Jalapeno Honey Corn Bread Muffins
Ingredients:
1 egg
8 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1/2 cup milk
3T oil
1T raw honey
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

Method:
Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add to the wet. Whisk until just combined. Add the jalapeno.

Grease a muffin tin, and fill the cups 3/4 full with the batter. (I wanted my muffins a little larger, so I only got 11). Bake for 12-14 minutes – you’ll know they’re done when the tops begin to brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

They’re SUPER tasty, and the calories/macros are WAY better than the boxed stuff:

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Of course, the macros will vary slightly depending on the brands you use!

Stop what you’re doing and make them right now!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Chicken curry + coconut rice

Happy Monday! Our weather over the past week has been insane. It started out gorgeous on Tuesday and Wednesday, with over a foot of fresh powder:

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And then it got ridiculously cold (like, negative degrees cold), then snowed some more, and then poured rain all weekend. The storm drains are all blocked up with snow so the roads have flooded on top of the packed snow/ice, so driving around town right now is like a real-life version of the winter level of MarioKart. I may start carrying a stash of banana peels around with me so I can throw them out the window in front of tailgaters.

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Me on day one of the storm.

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Me right now.

Anyway, on to this week’s Meal Prep Monday! If you’re new to meal prep, you can read about my meal prep method here.

This weather has me craving warm, rich comfort food, so for this week’s lunches I decided to prep coconut rice and chicken curry. The idea for this came from my coach, who told me she adds coconut milk to her rice to make it creamy and delicious and I was like YES I MUST TRY THIS.

To make the rice, I just replaced half the water with coconut milk and cooked it like usual. I co-hosted a baby shower on Sunday and knew I wouldn’t feel like coming home and slaving over homemade curry, so I kept it super simple and used this simmer sauce:

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I try not to eat too many jarred sauces because they tend to be really high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the ingredient list for this isn’t too terrible: Onion, Water, Tomato, Tomato Puree, Coconut Cream, Tomato Paste, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Spices (Including Turmeric), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Salt, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Xanthan Gum, and Carrageenan.

I just sauteed some onions,  mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, then threw in this sauce once the chicken was cooked through and simmered it on low for 15 minutes. It tastes AMAZING with the rice – I’m super excited to eat it for lunch next week.

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Since I’ll be eating the same lunch throughout the week, dinners will have a bit more variety: I plan to make Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup (using turkey sausage) as well as PaleOMG’s slow cooker Barbacoa (which I will likely wind up throwing over the coconut rice since I’m not actually Paleo). Both of these make enough to provide ample leftovers, so I’ll be cooking a grand total of two days this week. Which means I can spend more time huddled in front of the wood stove trying not to freeze.

What are you prepping this week?

Meal Prep Monday!

I put all my Christmas decorations away yesterday and now my house looks so sad and boring. But do you know what is NOT sad and boring? Meal prep! OK it’s kind of boring but it will definitely make you happy to have delicious and healthy food at your fingertips every time you get hungry during the week.

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LIES! You totally got time fo that.

Meal prep has 100% changed my nutrition game. I didn’t start to see real changes in my body until I started paying more attention to my food, and the only way I’m able to stay on track with my nutrition is to take some time on the weekend to prep healthy meals for the week ahead. I’ve been thinking of starting a Meal Prep Monday feature where I tell you what I’ve prepped for the week, and I figure the new year is probably a good time to finally kick it off! I love getting new meal ideas from bloggers so I don’t get bored, so hopefully this will help you think of some different ideas to try.

I should note that I subscribe to what I call a “flexible meal prep” philosophy. Some people find it easier to prep and eat the same meals/snacks every day of the week. If I ate the same meal every day I would go crazy by day 2, so what I like to do is make a big batch of a healthy protein and/or carbs on Sundays and use it in a bunch of different meals throughout the week. Sometimes I do chicken and sweet potatoes, other weeks I’ll do ground beef and rice, etc.

If you’re new to food prepping and are feeling lost, here’s a bit about my method: I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays and my prep on Sundays. On Friday evenings, I sit down and make my shopping list for the next week. My first step is figuring out what I want to prep for lunches for the week. I work full time, so it has to be something that’s easily re-heatable and also portable in case I have to take it to work with me. Then I take the extra step of entering my lunches into MyFitnessPal for the next week. After that, I add my breakfasts to MyFitnessPal. I basically alternate between three breakfasts (protein pancakes, oatmeal with egg whites, and Kodiak Cakes with eggs), so this step is really easy.

After that’s done, I’m able to look at my macros for each day and see what I’m short on so I can plan for dinners. This sometimes involves what I call “Macro Tetris.” If I’m high on carbs one day, maybe I’ll switch my breakfast from oatmeal to protein pancakes. Or maybe I’ll plan a dinner of chicken thighs and veggies. If I’m low on carbs, I’ll plan a dinner that involves rice or pasta. It sounds high maintenance, but once you do it for a few weeks it really takes no time at all. The key is to find a lineup of recipes you love, and then cycle through them so you never get bored.

If you’re just getting started and all that is giving you a panic attack, then just start by prepping some healthy food on Sundays so that you don’t find yourself in the McDonald’s drive through at lunchtime or after work.

One of the easiest things to prep is chicken. If you have a slow cooker, just dump some chicken breasts in there with salt/pepper and a little bit of water or chicken stock (or salsa if you’re feeling fancy!) and let it go for 6 hours or so until you can shred it. Then you have a giant pile of chicken you can use for so many things throughout the week. Here are some of my faves:

Chicken burrito bowls
I start with cauliflower rice/crumbles (available in most grocery stores, including Walmart), then top with chicken, avocado, onion, plain Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, salsa, and sometimes cheese if I have enough fats 🙂 I’ll usually dump whatever greens I have in my fridge on top as well!

Healthy chicken salad

Avocado chicken salad
Mix shredded chicken with 1/2 an avocado and season with salt and pepper. I’ll eat this as a sandwich on whole wheat bread, or roll it up in a FlatOut wrap.

Another thing I like to prep are snacks. Sometimes I’ll hard boil a dozen eggs to have on hand, or just pre-portion Greek yogurt so I can grab it and go. It doesn’t have to be hard!

For lunches this week, I made a double batch of Juli Bauer’s Pizza Spaghetti Pie.

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You guys, this recipe is SO AMAZING. I know I said I get bored eating the same thing multiple days in a row, but this is one recipe I look forward to eating for multiple days. I modify the recipe just a tad by adding mushrooms to the sausage and onion, and sprinkling a little Parmesan on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. It’s one of those recipes that seems to get even tastier re-heated, making it a perfect make-ahead meal.

Do you have any favorite food prep meals/recipe? Let me know!

Oh hey there

I’ve had the last four days off of work and it has been glorious. We were supposed to go to the coast, but shit happened and instead I spent 96 hours hanging around my house doing WHATEVER I WANTED. Sleep in until 8 a.m.? Sure! Re-watch Grey’s Anatomy (the good seasons) for the nine thousandth time? Come here to me, Mark Sloan. Mid-morning ceramics painting? YES PLEASE.

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Via Instagram

This super cute ceramics painting place opened in town recently, and I finally got around to going a few weeks ago. Naturally, I am now totally obsessed and want to paint all the things. It reminds me of when I discovered paint by numbers in third grade and realized I had finally found an artistic outlet for people with zero talent. This is basically the same thing – I just Google mugs I like and then painstakingly copy them down to the last detail. (SPOILER ALERT everybody I know is getting mugs for Christmas.)

Anyway, in between ceramics and Grey’s Anatomy, I did a lot of catching up on blogs and realized I kind of miss blogging … Out of curiosity I looked back at my last post, and it was back when I first started to count macros so I figured I’d give a little update on that.

It’s been 8 months (!) since I started my macro-based nutrition plan, and I still love it. It’s been super easy to stick to, probably because I get to eat a ton of food and it doesn’t require cutting out certain foods or drinking special shakes or anything like that. Every Saturday I make a meal plan/grocery list, then enter my meals for the coming week into MyFitnessPal (I start with dinners and then adjust my breakfasts and lunches accordingly to meet my daily macro/calorie goals). Then it’s as easy as just eating what’s already programmed in my app every day. Of course stuff comes up (or I just feel like having two beers and a cheeseburger for dinner), and when that happens I just get back on track the next day. I’ve only lost like 8 lbs since February, but I can see a huge difference in my muscle tone:

before-and-after-abs

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(I should also note that I’m still doing CrossFit 5-6 times per week.) If you’re interested in learning more about counting macros, let me know in the comments and I can post about tips and tricks that I use to make it really easy to stick to my plan. I’ll leave you with a little 100-calorie snack I made up today because I was craving something pumpkin-spicey:

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Pumpkin Spice Pudding

Mix the following together:
4 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat Fage)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
Optional: pinch of stevia (makes it extra sweet!)

Nutritional info: 102 cals/13g carbs/0g fat/13g protein

IIFYM: Week One

Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about all my fitness goals for 2016? Turns out, lifting heavy shit requires big muscles, so I’ve been looking into various nutrition plans to help me build muscle mass/lose body fat.

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I decided I wanted to try a macro-based approach, which is something I was initially apprehensive about because have you ever searched the IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) hashtag on Instagram? It’s almost all photos of people stuffing their faces with pizza/pop tarts/doughnuts and being all BUT IT FITS MY MACROS. Apparently there’s this whole rivalry between IIFYM-ers and “clean eaters,” with the IIFYM group being all “I EAT PIZZA EVERY DAY AND STILL LOOK GOOD,” and the clean eaters being like, “awesome dudebro, enjoy your upcoming quadruple bypass.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle – I want to eat mostly healthy, minimally-processed foods but still have the flexibility to house the occasional wedge of brie.

Anyway, I asked my CrossFit coach to calculate my macros (ideal grams of protein/fat/carbs I should be eating every day) and make me a plan. In addition to involving much more food than I’m used to eating, it requires eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. I feel like I’m singlehandedly eating my way through the nation’s livestock in order to get enough protein.

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GIVE ME YOUR PROTEINZ

My usual routine is to take a few minutes in the evening and enter the next day’s food into MyFitnessPal, which helps me to stay on track and not have to think too much about what/when to eat. Thursday night was the first night I tried to make my food hit my new macro goals, and it went like this:

“OK, I need 30 more grams of protein, so I’ll add another egg to my breakfast. Shit, now I’m over my fat. OK, I’ll do a ½ cup of cottage cheese instead. Now I’m under on my protein, and I still need carbs. OK I’ve got canned tuna and corn tortillas, I’ll make tuna tacos for lunch. Are tuna tacos a thing? Probably not. Better Google it. Oh look, cat gifs!”

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I have a feeling it’ll go better this week now that I’ve had a chance to stock my fridge with a small farm’s worth of poultry and plan my meals for the week. I’ve pre-portioned as much as I can to avoid having to constantly pull out the scale and/or eat weird combinations to make sure everything adds up at the end of the day (ahem, canned tuna tacos).

As for what I’ll be eating, it’s not much different than how I normally eat, I’m mostly just eating the same stuff in different quantities: eggs, chicken breast, turkey, sweet potatoes, avocado, salmon, fruit, veggies, almond butter, cottage cheese, oatmeal, pasta, rice, quinoa, etc. Plus some maybe not-as-great stuff that I love too much to give up: coffee creamer, tortillas, Laughing Cow cheese, pretzels. Sorry not sorry.

I’m excited to see whether this makes a big difference in my body composition and performance, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about how many calories I’m eating. My coach warned me that I’ll probably gain weight in the next few weeks while my body adjusts, and even though I know it’s temporary, it’s still kind of tough to put a ton of effort into eating healthy and watch yourself blow up like the Stay-Puft man. I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind – I actually don’t really care if I wind up gaining weight in the long term – as long as my body fat decreases, my strength increases, and I like what I’m seeing in the mirror.

2016 Goals

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is my least favorite week of the year. The holiday festivities start winding down and everybody starts pondering how much they suck at life and tries to convince themselves that they’re going to suck less in the coming year. I read somewhere that like 80% of new year’s resolutions have to do with fitness, and apparently I’m no different. For instance: it would be awesome if I didn’t have to lay down and say a prayer to the patron saint of diabeetus prevention to get my skinny jeans to zip.

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Thankfully I haven’t had to resort to lotion to get my pants on. Yet.

I’m pretty confident that I’ll shed my holiday poundage pretty quickly now that I’m back to my usual eating routine that doesn’t include cookies, fudge, and hot chocolate every day, so here are a few more long-term goals I’ve made for the coming year:

Master kipping pull-ups

I can currently do 3-4 strict pull-ups (depending on how sore my arms are), which I am actually pretty proud of considering that I had literally never done a single pull-up in my entire life when I started CrossFit last summer. While I will continue to work on my strict pull-ups, I also need to learn to kip so that I can start RXing those workouts with a million pull-ups (I’m looking at you, Fran). I’m just going to keep chipping away at it during my warm-ups and hope that someday soon I’ll stop looking like I’m having a grand mal seizure on the bar and look more like this:

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Master double unders

I got a  Rogue RX custom jump rope a few months ago, which has made double unders a little easier for me. (For non CrossFit folks: a double under is when the rope makes two passes per jump instead of just one.) On a good day, I can string together 5 or 6. Most days I just wind up whipping my legs repeatedly with my rope and screaming obscenities.

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Back squat 225#

My most recent back squat max was 150#, but that was back in October so I’m hoping the next time I go for a max I’ll be closer to 175#. I honestly have no idea if 225# is possible for me to hit next year, but I’m going to try!

Deadlift 300#

Again, no idea if this will be possible, but I’ve added 50# to my deadlift since September so I figure I may as well aim high! (My current max is 205#)

Continue to focus on diet

My diet is SO much better than it was a few years ago. I used to eat a ton of frozen meals and “diet” foods, which were low calorie but filled with all kinds of artificial crap. For the last five months or so I’ve been really making an effort to cut back on highly processed, pre-packaged foods. I’ve noticed my body starting to change, particularly in the stomach area:

Before and After

Note the sweet shoulder bruise in the photo on the right. Maybe “fix my slow elbows” should be on this list.

The photo on the left was the week after I started CrossFit (August), and the one on the right was three months later (November). It’s not an Earth-shattering transformation or anything, but I definitely think I look less puffy and a little more toned in the one on the right. I haven’t ever taken progress photos before, but I’m finding it’s great motivation to actually be able to see the difference you’re making because it can be hard to see change on a day-to-day basis.

That’s it for me …  I’d love to hear your goals for 2016, if you have some!

Memorial Day Weekend: Three Words Per Photo

We had a fantastic three-day weekend over here – we managed to strike just the right balance of lying around doing nothing and spending time with friends. I’m posting a few photos of what we were up to, since I’m still in ultra-lazy mode and don’t feel like writing anything longer than a paragraph.

Whiskers{Furry alarm clock.}

Herbs

{So. Many. Herbs.}

Bears

{Crazy bear lady.}

Thai Food

{Shrimp panang curry.}

Cake stands

{Making cake stands.}

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{Jump squats. Ouch.}

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{SPF 30 sucks.}

Barbecue

{Monday night dinner.}

And now it’s back to work … I hope your weekend was as relaxing as ours was!