Tag Archives: healthy-living

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.

1303921990_weight-ligft-fail

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.

img_4537

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:

img_4521

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

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

 

Advertisements

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:

img_4430

snow-2

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.

let-it-snow-winter-cat-meme

Me on day one of the storm.

553295_459921600748554_1950320326_n

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:

prod-ss-kc

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.

img_4475

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.

meal-prep-memes-03-640x640

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.

img_4414

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.

ceramics

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

Back.png

(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:

pumpkin spice pudding.JPG

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

My buns, they don’t feel nothin’ like steel

Between  having a nasty cough that lasted an entire month and having lots of very important things to do (watching the two latest seasons of “Law and Order: SVU” on Netflix), I worked out a grand total of three times in January. Last night, I finally felt good enough to get back to it.

Instead of going to the gym, I decided to do a FitnessBlender video. They categorize their videos into levels 1-5, with 1 being easiest and 5 making me want to mail cat turds to the FitnessBlender headquarters. I normally choose level 4 videos, so yesterday I figured I’d do a level 3 just to “ease myself back into it.” Apparently I underestimated the impact of my month-long hiatus, because just the 2-minute warm up had me huffing and puffing. After the first round of HIIT, I looked like one of those people you see collapsing and pissing their pants at a marathon finish line, only instead of running 26.2 miles my grand accomplishment was  40 seconds of burpees. I may have to switch to something a bit more gentle.

angela-lansbury-workout-video

Like perhaps, this.

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote.

Anyway, the good news is that I’ve been eating super healthy lately to counteract the fact that I haven’t been exercising as much.

Did you believe that? I didn’t think so. Case in point: my Super Bowl snack contribution consisted of a box of Cheez Its covered in canola oil and dusted with ranch dressing mix and red pepper flakes. They paired quite nicely with beer, cheese-filled pretzel bites, pizza, Velveeta cheese dip, and homemade whoopie pies.  I stepped on the scale expecting to be horrified, but as it turns out I actually lost a pound since I last weighed myself a month ago.

Britney Gif

I’ll be honest, my first reaction was, “YESSS, VELVEETA AND BEER 4EVER!” But since heart attacks don’t sound super fun, I’m resisting the urge to continue eating what is essentially the Honey Boo Boo diet. I eventually made it to the end of my level 3 workout without passing out and have a fridge full of veggies, so I guess that’s a start.

Zoodle Mania

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I have to admit that I plan to make an effort to eat more vegetables this year. I don’t eat horribly by any means, but turning 30 last summer made me realize that now’s probably the time to start doing all that awful crap that magazines say will keep you looking young forever.

Dark leafy greens. Night cream. Pilates. Ritual animal sacrifices.

Apparently a veggie-rich diet helps your skin glow, so I figure if I eat enough zucchini I should resemble Emma Stone by Valentine’s Day. To kick-start my efforts I picked up a little spiralizer called The Vegetti at Bed Bath and Beyond, because let’s be honest: if something looks like a noodle, I will eat it. Even if it’s zucchini.

Vegetti

Just like regular noodles, in that they would taste better covered in cheese sauce with a side of garlic bread.

I then scoured the internets for some veggie-noodle recipes, and landed on Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles from SkinnyTaste. Verdict? Amazing.

Zoodle bowl

I won’t pretend to love it as much as the greasy slop I get from my local Chinese restaurant (mmm, mystery meat and MSG), but the sauce tasted super authentic, and a huge heaping serving is fewer than 400 calories. Dave loved it too, and he’s usually a zucchini-hater. I think next time I’ll throw in some water chestnuts for a little extra crunch.

I definitely plan to make veggie noodles a staple from now on – if you have any good recipes, let me know in the comments! (I think they’d be really good covered in this sauce!)

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

Happy Tuesday! I’m over here trying to figure out where December went. I feel like I was just stuffing my word hole with mashed potatoes and turkey, and now it’s already time to start stuffing it with toffee and fudge.

And yes, my holiday excitement is 90% about food. My neighbor brought us over a tray of Christmas goodies on Saturday, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll just try one of each item and send the rest to work with Dave.” And then I bit into a Reese’s-stuffed peanut butter cookie and turned into Joey Tribbiani.

JoeyShareFood

I’m guessing I consumed about a week’s worth of sugar over the weekend, and I am not even exaggerating. You know how some bloggers are all, “I ate cookies for breakfast, tee hee” because they crumbled up a chocolate chip cookie Quest bar on top of their gluten free overnight oats? This is not that. I ate a snickerdoodle cookie with a side of fudge for breakfast today. But I followed it up with a multivitamin and fish oil pills (and the fudge had walnuts in it), so I’m pretty sure that cancels it out.

Not helping the situation is the fact that I haven’t been working out as much as I like to. I’m still getting used to my longer commute, and even though I leave the office at the end of the day all pumped for my workout, by the time I get home I’m all

Homer gif

However, when I do buck up the energy to exercise, I’ve been loving the HIIT routines on FitnessBlender. They’re pretty tough (especially if you choose level 4 or 5), but you can get a killer workout in just 30 minutes. Two of my current faves are the Active/Static Bodyweight Bootcamp and the Butt/Abs Tabata. Doing these types of workouts just three times a week has somehow kept me from growing out of my pants over the last month, which is actually pretty impressive considering the amount of candy and seasonal beer/cider that I’ve crammed down my gullet.

Etna Brewery Taphouse

Via Instagram Again, I’m not exaggerating. But in my defense, a new taphouse just opened in town and I have to do my part to support the local economy.

Anyway. Tomorrow I head down to my parents’ house, where I’ll get to see my sister and adorable nephews and have fun enjoying all of our family Christmas traditions. I’m excited, but it will also be a bit bittersweet, as this will be the last Christmas in my childhood home. My parents are moving to Hawaii early next year, and my emotions have been ranging from slightly sad to YESSS FREE PLACE TO STAY IN HAWAII. Speaking of which, now’s the time to buy stock in Hawaiian Tropics, you guys – it’s going to take truckloads of tanning lotion to keep my pasty Irish skin from blinding the good people of Honolulu.

And on that note, it’s time to wrap this up. The chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen aren’t going to eat themselves.