Category Archives: life

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!

 

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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!

2017

Happy new year!

Everyone I know is excited to sweep 2016 under the rug and usher in 2017, and while I agree that 2016 sucked in a lot of ways (RIP, EVERYONE COOL), I am having trouble getting excited about 2017. First of all, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what life in the U.S. will be like under our new president-elect.

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I know Star Wars is all trendy right now, but maybe we should have drawn the line at electing a giant, slimy worm-man as the leader of our country, AMERICA.

 

Policies aside, my face morphs into the scream-face emoji whenever I think about having to look at that mug for the next four years.

Oh, ALSO I just found out that the next season of Westworld won’t be released until 2018, which means no new episodes in 2017, which means 2017 is officially trying to ruin my life.

I’ve decided that since 2017 is shaping up to be kind of dumb, my resolutions should be kind of dumb too. So here they are:

Take better care of my skin
First of all, I’m aware that needing to make this a resolution means I’m a garbage human. I totally admit that I’m terrible about my skin. I do wear sunscreen every day because I’m pale and if I don’t I’ll get a sunburn from the lightbulbs in my office, but basically I just use makeup remover wipes at the end of the day and that’s the extent of it. I don’t even use a moisturizer because literally every single one I’ve tried makes me break out, and I’m too lazy to go to a dermatologist and explore why that might be.

That said, I’ve decided that I have to get my skin care routine together because I’m 32 and if I don’t I’m going to look like Jabba the Trump by the time I’m 40. Dave’s parents got me a Clarisonic Plus for Christmas, which I am super excited about. (Maybe they really like me, or maybe that was their way of saying, GET IT TOGETHER, LEATHER FACE.) I’ve only been using it for a week and my skin already feels so much smoother. I’ve got a small breakout situation on my chin, but I’ve heard that often happens when people first start using it, so I’m pushing through in the hopes that it’ll make me in age in reverse like Jennifer Aniston. Oh, and I’ve also been using eye cream. I don’t really know if it’s doing anything, but I feel really responsible when I put it on, so.

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If it doesn’t work I may do this.

Stop being a pussy
Whenever I complain about the workouts at CrossFit, my friend Kate yells, “DON’T BE A PUSSY.” This usually gets me to stop whining out loud, but that doesn’t mean I stop complaining in my mind – I’m really bad about controlling my inner dialogue when workouts get spicy. So many of the workouts we do are meant to be just as challenging mentally as they are physically, and I’d like to get better about pushing through feelings of discomfort and learning to be, as my coach puts it, “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” (Unless my form is suffering or I feel actual PAIN, which is different than just feeling out of breath or tired.) I’ve heard repeating mantras can help; maybe mine should be “DON’T BE A PUSSY.”

Avoid chipped nail polish
I TOLD YOU THESE WERE DUMB. I like having painted nails, but I can’t ever seem to make it more than 24 hours without chipping my polish. Gel manicures last a long time, of course, but they get expensive and also they make my nails really thin and gross. Enter: Essie Gel Couture.

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I got some of this for Christmas, and it lasted through a whole week, including CrossFit! I’m on day seven and have a few minor chips that you can’t really see unless you get really up-close – I’m calling that a huge success. Plus, it’s super easy to use – you just apply two coats of color and then one coat of the topcoat. No UV lights are required, AND it comes off with regular polish remover. If I were a professional manicurist, I’d be afraid that this stuff would put me out of a job.

I think three is enough. So now you tell me some things: What are your goals for 2017? Did you achieve your goals for 2016? Do you have any thoughts about why moisturizer gives me pizza face? Do you hate me now because I made fun of Trump?

 

The Worst Kinds of Holiday People

Testing … is this thing on?

Remember when I used to blog more than once every six months? That was fun. Every once in a while I’ll think to myself, “Hey, ____ would make a good blog post,” and then between work and working out and falling asleep in front of Netflix at 8 p.m. I never wind up writing said post.

This morning I was driving to work and got cut off by a car with reindeer antlers affixed to the headlights (very safety!) and I was like, “Hey! I should write a blog post about the worst kinds of people during the holidays.” I managed to stay awake past 8 p.m. tonight thanks to Dave’s office Christmas party, and here we are. Presenting: The Worst Kinds of Holiday People According to Heather Homefaker.

People who gripe about long lines in big box stores the week before Christmas. The majority of Walmart shoppers can barely manage to put on pants before leaving the house, and you thought they’d have their shit together enough to finish their Christmas shopping early? Oh, you. Unfortunately at this point your options include A) dealing with it or B) going to a drugstore and paying $8 for that $1.99 jar of marinara sauce you’re holding. Your options do not include being a douche to the cashier about the long wait times because you didn’t foresee Walmart on Dec. 23 being a giant pajama-clad clusterfuck set to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock.

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I would watch the shit out of  a show where Gordon Ramsay shows up and screams at people in Walmart.

People who can’t consume Christmas cookies/candy/drinks without talking about how many calories they have. You’ll probably gain 5 lbs this week. So will everyone else, so at least you won’t look fatter by comparison. Now close your cookie-hole or shove something delicious into it before I smack you.

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Can’t … stop … watching.

People who judge me for listening to old-school Amy Grant Christmas albums on Spotify at work. You think my nostalgic infatuation with 1990s contemporary Christian Christmas music is weird? Just be thankful I’m not also doing the sign language to “Emmanuel” because I TOTALLY KNOW IT.

afxc6t

I may have also choreographed a dance to “Baby, Baby” in middle school that I performed in front of my parents and their friends.

(Related: this morning I decided to give Amy a break and try a Spotify playlist called Hipster Christmas. Ten minutes later my office was filled with fart sounds, which at first I attributed to a coworker who may have gotten a little too excited about the bread budding in the break room, but was in fact a Hipster Christmas track called “Jingle Farts.” Yes, it is literally fart sounds to the tune of Jingle Bells. No, I don’t want to know what types of exercises are required to control the timbre of your farts. Hipsters, you and your holiday sweaters that stopped being ironic five years ago are officially on notice.)

People offended by the word “holiday.” Now,the layperson might think that when people say “happy holidays” they are using it as a convenient way to wish you a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Wonderful New Year all at once because it would be super exhausting (and weird) to ask everyone their religious affiliation in order to wish them the appropriate yuletide greeting. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY LOGIC. These holiday well-wishers are clearly trying to trample on your rights by taking CHRIST out of Christmas. This is for sure what you should focus your rage on at a time when there are millions of refugee families without places to live, civilians and troops dying daily overseas, and people gunning down their coworkers on a disturbingly regular basis.

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That escalated quickly. Sorry.

I could probably keep going, but I’m starting to sound like I hate the holidays, which isn’t the case. In fact, my appreciation for Christmas traditions borders on Clark Griswold territory, right down to the crazy relatives. And on that note, I’ll leave you with this:

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Spirit Animals

Confession: The other afternoon I rage-tailgated (rage-gated?) a student driver for like three miles because she pulled out right in front of me on a country highway and almost killed us both. It was like slow motion: she turned into my lane off of a dirt road without even pausing to check traffic, and I was simultaneously scared for my life and slightly amused by the fact that the last thing I was going to see before dying was a middle-aged driving instructor doing this:

Jonah Hill gif

SPOILER ALERT, we all lived, but I was really bothered by the fact that the last thing I ate before my near-death experience was a kale salad. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a bagel. I can’t have those kinds of regrets hanging over my head when my time actually comes, you know? So I made myself a motivational poster to remind me of what’s important in life.

Nuggets

On the other hand, I would have zero regrets if I spent my last 10 minutes on Earth Photoshopping a soft glow around a chicken nugget hovering over an ocean sunset.

I promise I’ll stop talking about this soon, but here’s what I don’t get: Don’t those driver’s training cars have special passenger-side brakes for the instructors to use when the dumbass child behind the wheel tries to kill you? Why was that dude freaking out like a little girl instead of pressing the damn brake? Although … if my  job was to ride around in cars with 15-year-olds, I’d welcome the opportunity to be broadsided at 65 MPH with open arms. Maybe his foot was hovering over the brake when she was like, “OMG this Bieber song is ON FLEEK” and he was all, this is it. This is all I can take.

Maybe this guy is actually my spirit animal.

Speaking of spirit animals, my friend Sarah introduced me to Matt Bellassai yesterday. Not in real life, which is probably a good thing because sometimes when I get really nervous the mechanism that allows me to swallow stops working and I stand there looking like I’m choking on air for like 30 seconds. Sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to make actual human friends when my social aptitude is on par with the lady who feeds the feral cats in the creek bed behind Walmart.

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Anyway, Sarah tagged me in the comments on one of his Facebook posts yesterday. I then spent hours watching all of his drunken rants while doing that silent laugh where you shake really hard but can’t catch your breath enough to make noise. If you don’t mind colorful language and the soul crushing feeling that nothing you say will ever be as funny as what comes out of somebody else’s mouth, you really need to watch his Whine About It videos. Start with this one. And then when you’re depressed because you’ve watched them all, you can read his blog.

Our Good News

I vaguegrammed recently about celebrating some exciting news, and now that everything is officially in place I can tell you what happened: last Thursday, in the span of about two hours, Dave received a big promotion and I was offered an awesome new job. Fists were pumped, celebratory cupcakes were eaten, and there was much AC Slater-style rejoicing.

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You may be wondering why I’m starting a new job when I just changed jobs less than a year ago. Last November, I applied for a job as a social marketer for a behavioral health program out on a local Indian reservation. It turned out that they already had somebody in mind for the marketing role, and so they asked me to become the program director instead. I decided to take a healthy risk and accept the position, and I’ve spent the last eight months learning about program outcomes and evidence-based practices and reducing mental health disparities. All awesome things if the mental health field is your passion. And I discovered that for me, it’s not.

That’s not to say I hated my job. I really enjoyed the youth and families I was working with. I loved my boss. I had lots of fun with my coworkers. I learned so much about Native American communities and the injustice that tribes have suffered at the hands of many generations of Americans. But I didn’t wake up in the morning excited to go to work. The days would go by so slowly, except on the rare occasion that I’d get to design a brochure or build a newspaper ad. Those days would fly by, and then I’d spend the drive home berating myself for taking my career in a different direction and wondering why I was such a giant idiot.

Overreacting. It’s what I do.

But then! A friend dropped my name in a conversation, which set off a sequence of events that culminated in a crazy awesome job offer. I won’t give too many specifics (Internet Boundaries!) but I will say this: I’ll get to design and write and be creative every day.  My 35-40 minute daily commute will be reduced to barely five minutes. I’ll be making more money. I know and like the people I’ll be working with. I’m even hoping I’ll have more time to blog!

I made myself a to-do list since it's been so long since I've blogged.

I made myself a to-do list since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged.

And as for Dave: He’s been named managing editor of the paper where he’s been a reporter the last several years. I think he’s as excited as I am, except instead of going on a celebratory shopping spree and writing a sappy blog post, he bought himself a bottle of 14-year Knappogue Castle Irish whiskey.

So that’s our awesome news. 2015 is shaping up to be kind of great so far.

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!