Weekly Updates: 08/04/14 – 08/10/14 (Zooma Week 1)

I wrote this post before the tragic passing of Robin Williams. I know that some people feel like mourning celebrity deaths is ridiculous, and sometimes I feel that way too. When Paul Walker passed I read this article that explained so well why we feel more when certain celebrities pass away.

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I feel like I grew up with Robin’s works. Mork & Mindy was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. Dead Poets is what made me want to teach. Good Morning, Vietnam made me want to learn more about history. Hook, Aladdin, Jumanji & Mrs.Doubtfire are engrained in my childhood, and Good Will Hunting is always my  favorite Boston movie, but my favorite movie about life and love. Here is a great article on the life lessons we learned from Robin Williams.

I hope people remember that Depression is a disease, one that this no cure, but that needs constant vigilance and work. If you are feeling like you have no one please call the suicide prevention line (1-800-273-8255) or tell someone. Even in times of darkness you are loved.
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So, Zooma training has officially kicked off. I am excited for the training and for the workouts!

Monday, August 4th –  Cross Training per the plan! I ended up using Monday as a rest day since I went to Pure Barre on Saturday and Sunday, and they were both tough workouts!

Tuesday, August 5th - 30 minutes running. I went to Pure Barre in the morning and when I got home I took B on a jog(ish) in town. His stroller is not a running stroller so it is heavy, and ended up walking more than running.

Wednesday, August 6th – Cross training. I took an evening class at Pure Barre with Jane, and we were rewarded with free wine at the end of the day! For my local friends, Pure Barre Lynnfield has $10 Tuesdays for the month of August for new clients, if you have been wanting to try it, this is your chance!

Pure Barre

Thursday, August 7th – 30 minutes running. My car started making wonky noises and we couldn’t get an appointment with the mechanic until Saturday, and he advised us not to drive unless absolutely necessary. So I did 30 minutes of running around outside our house with B.

Friday, August 8th – 3 miles. Same situation as above, and our street (and neighboring ones) don’t have sidewalks so I do not feel comfortable taking B’s large stroller out on the busy streets. We ran up and down our dead-end street for a while, I didn’t check for mileage because that seems silly, but we were out for over 2 hours, so hopefully that counts for something.

Saturday, August 9th – Rest. I knew Sunday would likely be a rest day, so Jane picked me up at home and drove me to Pure Barre. Thankful for awesome friends!

Sunday, August 10th – 45 minutes running. I was outside playing with B for a good chunk of the day, and also running around the house doing a ton of projects, it wasn’t the planned workout, but I think it’ll be okay.

Week 1 Lessons: It is not easy training with a toddler, that is something I don’t have to really explain. Where I run/jog/walk isn’t super populated during the early hours of the morning, at least not at the time that works for us. So until B starts pre-school I am going to have to fit in what I can, when I can. I also, have to keep my pace worries in check. With the stroller and B alone I am pushing about 70 pounds, plush whatever gear, snacks, toys, etc… I bring with us to keep him occupied until we get to the playground.

Food Updates:

This weekend was one of the first weekends this summer that resulted in spontaneous dinner plans. Cait and I had been trying to meet up for a while, and we both happened to be free on Friday night. She picked me up (seriously, I have great friends) and brought us to Legal C Bar at Market Street in Lynnfield.

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We took a couple of seats at the bar and had a great time, great food and conversation will do that for you. I also had a pretty healthy dinner. The combo plate hat scallops,scrimp and a crab cake full of crab not stuffing alongside a light salad.

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I still enjoyed the warm bread and some wine, but I still put this dinner in the win column.

LegalCBar Wine Flight

Do you run with a stroller? What was the best seafood dish you’ve made or had made for you?

Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Carrot Purée

Since getting back on track, I have been trying to pack my meals with tons of veggies, and as much as I love roasted brussels and asparagus, it can get boring. So I have been experimenting in the kitchen. Before we get to the recipe at hand, I want to share what I have been eating to keep me on track for this WIAW.


Breakfast:

Since, I haven’t been training at Achieve anymore, my post workout breakfast has needed to change, but it hasn’t. Less intense training means I don’t need such an intense recovery meal. I have been sticking to oats, but have cut out the peanut butter. A friend suggested egg whites in my oatmeal, but I just can’t seem to do it, so I have it on the side. In my oatmeal is slivered almonds. I plan on adding pistachios but don’t have any on hand.

Lunch:

Lunch is usually a sweet potato, or half of one if it is particularly large, some green veggies, usually broccoli, and some sort of protein. The protein is usually grilled chicken, chicken sausage, fish (I prefer salmon and cod) or black bean burgers.

Snacks:

Fruit, I love watermelon, apples, and banana’s. Sometimes I will make a green smoothie, or just have plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey.

Dinner:

This is where I struggle, I always make a large salad with lots of raw veggies and a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar, a small portion of protein, and then I have lots of veggies on the side. We love asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts in our house, but I can only eat so many stalks of asparagus before I start to feel like one of em.

I don’t want to get bored with my veggies, especially the ones I love the most. While food prepping this week I decided to get creative.IMG_3841

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Milk (I used Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 lb Parsnips
  • 1/2 lb Carrots

Instructions

1. Peel, Cube, and Prepare the Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots to your liking. I prefer to steam them, but you can boil them as well. You want them soft, but not falling apart.

2. Once your veggies are ready load your vitamix or blender with the ingredients in the order they are listed. Make sure that if your veggies are hot you leave the vent open on your blender.

3. Blend until smooth, make sure you taste and add salt and pepper if you need it. This makes about 6 servings, so it is also a great side dish for a dinner party!

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For me this is a perfect side, it has a few of my favorite veggies, and I don’t have to share with Nick, the crazy man hates sweet potatoes AND parsnips. I think next time I will try mashing it, but this was simple and easy, perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Add Cooking!

 Disclaimer: I was provided the Just Add Cooking box free of charge, all opinions and injuries are my own.

  I love cooking and I am just starting to get the hang of this meal planning thing, but the last few weeks have been hard. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, so spending an hour meal planning and a few hours meal prepping were just not in the cards. I am grateful for one of the weeks I was able to try Just Add Cooking. Just Add Cooking is a meal service that provides meals that are pre-measured and high-quality, plus it is delivered straight to your doorstep. They are a Boston-based company and the ingredients are sourced locally to ensure freshness and support the local economy. When possible, ingredients are also locally produced and may be organic. JAC Logo_Normal_RGB     Just Add Cooking recently launched the 2 person box, there is also an option for a 4 person box, but this new launch is what we tried. Prices are very reasonable, for a 2 person box it is $79 for 3 meals, $89 for 4 meals, and $99 for 5 meals. The 4 person boxes are $109 for 3 meals, $129 for 4 meals, and $139 for 5 meals. Vegetarian boxes are available in 2 and 4 person boxes, but you can only receive 3 meals. There are no other dietary restriction boxes available (gluten or dairy free for example) but you can see what is available the following week and see if those dinner options fit your needs. The boxes include almost everything, it is expected that you will have things like salt, pepper and olive oil on hand, but almost everything is included and pre-measured. Alright, so let’s get to what I ordered. I decided to pick 2 vegetarian meals and one fish meal. Since we are fasting, I wanted to try out some meals that could maybe become staples in our home. The box arrived at our house between 2 and 6 pm on Sunday evening. I was supposed to get a text when it was out for delivery but for some reason I didn’t. Unfortunately, we were in CT last-minute and we didn’t get home until Monday morning. Luckily, the delivery person placed the box in a shaded area on our back porch and the temperatures were cold, so the fish never warmed up. Included in the box is a packet, each recipe has its own sheet of paper with instructions and cooking instructions. They let you know what the recommended cooking order is for the items as well.

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I went a bit out-of-order, I cooked the Mexican Cod on Tuesday night. I can easily say that the cook time was spot on, it only took 30 minutes  and it is a meal that will easily be kept in the rotation for a long time.

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I added asparagus, but it came with the potatoes, the only thing I didn’t include with the meal was the olives. I just don’t like them, but Nick ate them right out of the bag while he waited for dinner. Nick told me it tasted like a meal you’d pay $60 for in a frou frou restaurant. Success for sure! I also like that they included other types of fish that would taste great with the same recipe.

JAC's photo of the black bean burger!

JAC’s photo of the black bean burger!

On Wednesday I decided I wanted to try the Black Bean Burgers. I am always on the hunt for a burger that has minimal ingredients, and nothing complicated, like 3 different types of beans and flours.

The cooking timeline for the burgers

The cooking timeline for the burgers

When I made the patties they seemed very dry and it felt like I had way to much stuff to make 2 normal sized patties. I followed the directions, but the patties were falling apart in the pan. I decided to blend up the mixture and make smaller fritter type patties. I ended p making six smaller patties and Nick and I just stacked two in our sandwiches. I saved the leftover ones for Friday’s lunch.

What my burger looked like #reallife

What my burger looked like. Black Bean patty/fritter on the top and bottom, lettuce, avocado & tomato in between. #reallife

Because of the burger issue this meal took more like 45 minutes start to finish. I don’t know where I went wrong, but I am glad that I have experience cooking because that definitely helped.

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This is on every recipe. Degree of difficulty, serving size, time it takes, calories and type of meal. This is for the burgers.

The last meal I made was the Red Bean Chili, I make a lot of chili but I use the same recipe every time. I was looking forward to trying something new!

JAC's Red Bean Chili

JAC’s Red Bean Chili

I made this on Friday, again it was another fasting day and this was perfect. The chili had kidney beans, tomatoes, and lentils. The directions were easy to follow, however I had to let mine cook longer and add more liquid because the lentils were nowhere near done at the end of the cook time. Also, the bread that was supposed to go with it was stale by the time I made this. I think rolls might be a better option, the bread was cut from a long loaf so both ends were exposed causing it to dry out extremely fast. The other issue is the hot pepper, I don’t cook with them, ever. I can’t handle a ton of spice. I cut it an de-seeded without wearing gloves, I am sure you know where this is going, and I didn’t think anything of it until my contact needed adjustment and I touched my eye. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. I learned my lesson and will always be prepared.

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My Chili

I just have a few issues, for the items I chose, not a single one came with a veggie on the side that wasn’t a carb. I love veggies at dinner time, and I think those are items that a lot of people struggle with knowing how to prepare. The other issue is that I used A LOT of pots and pans when I was cooking. Normally, not a big deal but when I want this to be quick and easy, I don’t want to spend longer cleaning dishes than I did cooking.

While some recipes did not turn out exactly as planned, Nick and I loved every single meal and came away from the experience with 3 new recipes to add to our rotation and two new recipes to add to our fasting recipe index. I also must note that every meal had leftovers, this might not be the case for everyone, but it was for us, some B ate and some I saved to have as part of the next days lunch.

If you become a regular customer of JAC you can plan your meals up to two weeks in advance. This week they have a great looking Leek & Potato Soup as well as Poached Salmon and in the next two weeks they have items like Carrot Patties, Flank Steak with Grits, and Dill Chicken!

Overall, I really like the concept of Just Add Cooking. I think it is a great way to learn your way around the kitchen and learn how to cook. Or a way to find new recipes, and I definitely did that! I love that the meals are constantly changing and they are reflective of what the company can find around them.

On Friday I am giving away a box to one lucky person! They will receive the same size box that I did, a 2-person, 3 meal box. For all of you who don’t win Just Add Cooking is giving you a $20 discount first order (new customers only). This is a credit on any sized box and is good until 5/31/14. Use code SPRINGBLOG.

 Have you tried Just Add Cooking or a service like this?

Weekly Updates: 03/10/14 – 03/16/14

Weekly Workouts

Happy St. Patricks Day! Hope you wore your green today!

And if you missed it last week, I had a guest post on the 90 Plus Cellars blog last week!

Monday -

Finally, I got my butt to Pure Barre in the morning, apparently I am not the only one that has a hard time getting out of bed Monday mornings because it was the smallest PBL class I have been to so far. (5/20)

Tuesday – 

I was supposed to go to Studio Poise with  Jane for Poise Xpress in the morning but she texted me in the morning that she wasn’t going to make it. I was rallying for her but I had a long day ahead of me so I am glad I got the extra sleep.

Wednesday – 

I made it to Pure Barre in the morning (6/20) and then at night I went to Studio Poise for a charity yoga session that Yoga Jake was leading, you might remember that I had an awesome experience last time Jake taught at Studio Poise so I was definitely looking forward to this. The class was on the smaller side, so we ended up practicing different types of inversions. I had never done one before so I was totally down to hang out in Child’s Pose the whole time. I did try to do one and I was pretty impressed that I was able to do it. I continue to surprise myself and I think I forget how strong I can be.

Thursday – 

As I was heading home from yoga on Wednesday it was raining and foggy so I ended up cancelling my morning class, it was a good thing I did because it was pretty slick on the roads.

Friday – 

purebarremadnessI know you’re surprised, another Pure Barre class, I gotta get to 20 somehow! (7/20)

Saturday – 

I headed to Pure Barre in the morning, then Nick, B and I went for a couple walks because it was gorgeous out. (8/20)

Sunday – 

I took a late morning Pure Barre class with Lauren and it was wonderful, I had never had her as a teacher before and she was able to chat with me about things that would specifically help my body keep the correct form. After Pure Barre I ended up going grocery shopping and then running around and doing a ton of errands and cleaning after I got home. I think I spent the entire day on my feet. (9/20)

Food -

We were pretty good this week. For fasting we had the quinoa bake and for the other days we had grilled chicken kabob and lots of veggies. For lunches I had fish, broccoli and sweet potatoes. I keep craving chocolate and lots of it, my sweet tooth is going crazy lately.

How was your week in workouts and food? Any cravings lately?

Orthodox Lent and Fasting Recipes

Growing up Catholic I never really though too much about other religious sects within Christianity. I didn’t know any Orthodox Christians and I didn’t know a ton about how things were different. Fast forward to college, not only is Nick’s family Greek Orthodox, but we had friends that were Orthodox as well (Russian, Serbian, etc…)

There is definitely a lot to learn about Orthodox Christianity, and I think I understand most of the basics, but one of the areas that is vastly different is Lent. For Catholics, the more public aspect of Lent is mostly about giving up one thing for the duration as a sacrifice. For Orthodox Christians you fast during Lent, not a fast like no eating or drinking, how you usually associate the word fast.

Keeping it just about the food for WIAW, you fast every Wednesday and Friday. Everyone I know does fasting a little bit different, but for the most part you don’t consume meat or dairy, this also means no eggs or seafood with a bloodline. There are obviously exceptions, pregnant women, children, women who are breastfeeding, etc…

I thought I would share with you some recipes and ideas that follow those guidelines. Recipes that I’ve tried, recipes that friends and family members have tried. If you have any you would like to share please link them below.

Breakfast

For my morning coffee I tend to use almond milk or coconut milk and I use almond milk in my oatmeal. Obviously you can use soy milk as well, but for me personally, I prefer almond or coconut.  Vegan butter can be used as a replacement for regular butter. Personally, I find breakfast to be the hardest meal to keep dairy free, so many breakfast foods have some sort of dairy/meat component, the one that always slips my mind is eggs.

Mindy’s Banana Bread Muffins

 Iowa Girl Eats Immitation Starbucks Oatmeal – like she did, I would use almond milk instead of dairy

Kammie’s Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

Lunch and Dinner

In previous years, I have lived on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and pasta. Not exactly healthy, but I didn’t know nearly as much about cooking as I do now. Now, I have more carbs than I do most weeks of the year, but I try to keep it to things like quinoa and brown rice. I try to load up on lots of veggies and to make sure I find a way to get protein. My favorite family recipes are spinach and rice or lentils. Both recipes I need to write up and share with you. I tend to eat the same stuff for lunch and dinner because it is easier then prepping four different meat & dairy free meals for each of us. Try some of the recipes below if you are fasting this Lent.

Thug Kitchen’s Basmati Stuffed Grilled Peppers, I prefer tomatoes to peppers and might even leave out the rice.

Laura from Mommy Run Fast has a ton of great recipes but here are some highlights: Quinoa Minestrone, Soba Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Tofu, and Crockpot Black Beans.

Wildly Fit’s Lentil Stew – lentils are such a great way to get protein!

Two Peas & Their Pod’s Black Bean and Enchilada Quinoa Bake – this is a family favorite. You can either use vegan cheese or just omit the cheese altogether. It also makes A TON of servings, you can make a whole pan and freeze some so you can take out the servings you need instead of eating it all week.

Burgers – There are a ton of black bean burger recipes out there for you to make the following ones are ones that either I or my family members have made and loved. Maria’s Spicy Black Bean Burger – just omit the cream sauce and Girls Gone Sporty’s Spicy Buffalo Black Bean & Quinoa Burger with Vegan Blue Cheese Sauce. You can also try a Greek Veggie Burger or an unfried Falafel Burger.

Still want pasta, but want something to add to it? Try these quinoa meatless meatballs!

Try slow cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

And if you need something sweet at the end of the day? Try these Crockpot Baked Apples!

Find more recipes at Jenn’s WIAW Linkup!


What are your favorite meat and dairy free recipes? 

Weekly Updates 01/ 27/14 – 02/02/14

As I mentioned in my last update post, I am going to start making this a weekly thing. (Hopefully) Every Monday, I will get an update on how my workouts and eating went the week before. This is to keep me accountable, but also so I can use as a reference when I do start any sort of training.

Weekly Workouts

 

Monday, January 27 -

B was still feeling pretty gross, I pretty much spent the entire day holding him until we ended up at a sick appointment at the end of the day. No flu or strep thank goodness, but he just wasn’t getting over this dumb cold. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was here over the weekend so she actually prepped a ton of food for us and we were able to healthy (and quickly) before an early bed time.

Tuesday, January 28 -

I was supposed to get to Achieve for my weekly kettlebell session, I ended up missing it because we had another long night with B, toddler coughs ar the worse, and Nick and I did not get much sleep. I was able to keep. It ended up being a work out at home day. I did a weights and kettlebell circuit with an additional core circuit. I know that I don’t always push myself as hard at home as I do at the gym, but I got a good workout in and I am happy about that.

Wednesday, January 29 – 

I had signed up for a free preview class at the newest location of Pure Barre (at the Lynnfield MarketStreet). The class started at 6:10 am and the doors open at 6 am, security won’t allow them to let anyone in earlier than that just as a FYI. A few of us were there a bit early and so the women went over how the class works, where the equipment was, etc…

I am not sure if this is how many people are usually there in the morning classes or if it was just because it was a preview class, but there were 5 women from the team there. The teacher, Kelly, and there were 2 other teachers in class with us which really helped since Kelly walked around and was adjusting positions it made me aware of whom to keep an eye on if I was unsure about positioning. There were also 2 women at the front desk, which is pretty unusual for morning classes (from my experience). I was able to give them my phone in case Nick called (I don’t usually do this, but since B was still feeling under the weather I wanted to be reachable) and fortunately I wasn’t needed.

I was a bit apprehensive to try PB because I love my current studio, but also because I haven’t had the greatest experience with other locations of PB with trying to get information about classes and other questions, but also because some friends that workout at other studios also have had not so favorable experiences. I am extremely glad I did it. PB’s barre classes are different from Studio Poise’s and are a challenge. The women that were at class were great, and all the teachers and staff were extremely helpful and happy. Everyone introduced themselves to me and chatted, I felt very welcome. I loved how different the class was, we started on the floor, moved to the bar, then to the mat & and the bar, and finally back to the floor. Class went by super fast and I was definitely feeling the shake. I ended up purchasing the 5 week unlimited special. For their grand opening you were able to purchase 5 weeks of unlimited classes for $100 (thank you Christmas money), which is pretty much a steal since their monthly unlimited is $225. You also don’t have to use it right away, so when my gym membership ends, I can begin taking classes at PB and the 5 weeks will start from my first class.  That special is no longer available but you can get a new client special for one month unlimited for $100.  When I start going regularly, I will be blogging about it!

Food on Wednesday was great, since we were out of the food Nick’s mom had made us, I prepped more salad and healthy dinners for the rest of the week.

Thursday, January 30 -

This was again supposed to be an Achieve day, but whatever B had hit me. I had a pretty bad sore throat and couldn’t keep much down. I relied heavily on tea, water and toast to keep me feeling human. I was able to choke down a normal healthy dinner fortunately.

Friday, January 31 -

I had forgotten to cancel my Pound Fit class at Studio Poise since there is a 24 hour cancellation policy, I really hate wasting money so I went. I was actually feeling a lot better when I woke up, so I am glad I pushed myself out of bed in the morning. B and I met Cait for lunch at Whole Foods in Cambridge, I had planned on grabbing a few supplies for dinner since the fish I purchased earlier in the week was not edible but as Cait can attest B had a pretty awesome meltdown so we just left. I was going to back to the store that evening but Nick suggested sushi. I can’t say no to that.

Saturday, February 1 -

I had a double at Studio Poise, yoga followed by Zumba. Yoga was awesome, we did a class that was almost all stretching, and I so desperately needed it. I loved Zumba too, as I always do. I ended up heading to the store afterwards for a great juice and a few supplies for our Superbowl party.

Sunday, February 2 -

I spent the majority of the day prepping food for the party, and we had our share of unhealthy items (wings, pizza, and buffalo mac & cheese) but we also had plenty of health items. I had a spread of raw veggies, vegan chili, hummus, mini caprese’s on toothpicks, etc… Of course one friend brought tagalongs, and I had to have one. I had planned on Sunday evening being one of my 10% meals, and I am very happy with how the evening went. I stuck to water and indulged in the foods that I don’t have often. It was a succesful and fun party, and it is one of the parties we have every year.

This week I am hoping everyone can stay healthy & happy and I can make it to all my planned workouts.

 

Five Things Friday: Yoga, Athleta & Salad Fun

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these, but I have a bunch of fun things to share and none of them make a big blog post. Before we get to those, make sure you enter my giveaway!

1. OXO Salad Chopper

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Lauren, one of the owner’s of Achieve, recommended this to me a few weeks ago and I friggen love it. When it arrived (thank you amazon prime shipping) I immediately washed it and made a salad.

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Spinach, Beets, Edamame, Broccoli, Hard-Boiled Eggs, and a small bit of goat cheese

After yoga on Wednesday I added some grilled chicken sausage to it, and ate a serious portion of this for dinner, it was perfect. I loved that there were no awkward large pieces of lettuce or spinach. It also came with a great booklet of ideas for salads to make, I can’t wait to try them.

2. Kid Classes

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Because I don’t have any many mom friends in my area, I joined a facebook group for moms in my town. One of the moms owns an art studio that does primarily kids classes (she has a few paint nights for adults) based on their age. She had a few open spots in her 2-3 year olds class and offered a free class to check it out. I went in with zero expectations, but B loved it, so we have decided to keep going. Fun fact: when he wanted to paint the left side he used his left hand, and when he wanted to paint the right side he used his right hand.

3. A Quinoa Fan

Nick had never had quinoa before, I’ve made it for myself for lunches etc… but never for dinner. I decided to just make it and see if he and B liked it. Turns out he loved it, I guess I should’ve done that sooner. B also likes to call it sweet potatoes…can’t win em all.

4. Athleta legging love

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It’s not a great photo, but I bought these leggings on a whim when I was in Athleta the other day. They were soft and comfortable and reasonably priced. I wore them to yoga on Wednesday night and I loved how they moved with my body. I would buy a gazillion pairs of these! (Someone wanted to come to yoga, but he’s a bit too young)

5. YOGA LOVE

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I took a Lululemon community class on Wednesday night. Danielle, the owner of Studio Poise, is a Market Street Lululemon ambassador. On Wednesday night Yoga Jake (also a Market Street Lululemon ambassador) held a class at Studio Poise.

I’ll be honest, I was super anxious and nervous to attend this class. I started taking yoga classes in November and haven’t taken that many classes. I was worried that everyone would be better than me and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I re-read these great posts from Christine and Angela and had a great pep talk from Caitlin.

I got to class and got settled, Jake started talking about how yoga is an individual practice and to do what you can. It really started to relax me. I don’t really want to delve too much into what happened to me and how I practiced, because it was a very personal experience, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to mentally let go of a lot and to relax. What truly surprised me was during shavasana I felt a moment of complete happiness and next thing I knew tears were rolling down my face. It shocked me, but I had heard from more than one person that it can happen. It felt freeing to let go of all my anger with the miscarriage and my unhappiness with our struggles trying to get pregnant. I am by no means over it, but it pulled me to a better place, and today I feel less frustrated with the entire situation than I have in months.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to take this class and grateful that I didn’t bail because of my anxiety.

What are some of your favorite salad mix-ins?

What’s your favorite piece of work out clothing?

Have you ever had a yoga moment that moved you to tears?

 

Healthy Swaps for 2014

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey.

I am definitely a proponent for people partaking in the indulgences that surround the holidays, I don’t believe the holidays should be all about abstaining and calorie counting. I personally love to have the deserts that are only around during the holiday season, and I don’t feel guilty about that.

However, it can be very hard to get back on track after the holiday season. One of the easiest and tastiest ways for me to keep on track is by using Designer Whey in smoothies and different snacks. I had mentioned that I had fallen off the healthy eating path a little bit lately, and I know that getting back on is necessary, I feel like garbage when I eat garbage. For 2014 I will make strides to get my eating back in check. How am I going to do that? By making sure I have plenty of items in my fridge and pantry that are healthy, instead of reaching for some toast or a cookie, I can reach for a bar, smoothie or another protein packed treat!

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Designer Whey has a plethora of protein powder flavors, I haven’t met one that I didn’t like! Most recipes will use the protein powder. My favorite smoothie is my Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly smoothie, which uses the Chocolate Velvet Sustained Energy powder. It really tastes like a pb&j, but it is all healthy, it also has some spinach to ensure I get a lot of veggies during the day. Linz also has a ton of wonderful smoothie ideas for every flavor pallet!

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My favorite bites to make are Lindsay’s Tropical Orange healthy bites, for these I used the French Vanilla powder. I love these because they are easy to make, and I can grab a couple and stash them in the car so that I have something to eat immediately after I leave the gym, because let’s be honest when I get home and B is awake my first priorities are his breakfast and I end up waiting way to long to eat something.

One of the most common ways I use the powder is in my oatmeal, my favorite is to use 1 scoop of the White Chocolate powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter, it tastes like a cookie to me. Linz also has a great sunflower seed vanilla oatmeal that I love making on the weekends as a special treat!

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I have to say, I am really great at making sure I have a bag full of snacks for B whenever we go anywhere. Lots of veggies and fruits and snacks that will keep him full, and ones that aren’t packed with sugar is a must. I used to be terrible at doing the same for myself. I finally realized that if I don’t want to become a bear, either due to hunger or the fact that I am sugar crashing, then I need to keep something for myself in that snack bag. I love having a bar because they are easiest to eat. I love the designer whey bars are perfect for this. They have a few different flavors and you don’t get that cardboard taste that some bars have. There are also recipes on the Designer Whey website where you can make your own bars!

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The last product that I use a lot are the shakes. They come in two flavors, gourmet chocolate and french vanilla. They are 100 calories, 18g of protein, and only 2g of sugar. I prefer to drink them cold, so I bring them to the gym and stash them in the gym fridge, or I leave it at home and drink it as soon as I get in the house while I am getting B’s breakfast ready. My favorite is the chocolate because it tastes just like chocolate milk, which is one of my favorite post-workout drinks!

What all these things have in common is being prepared, when I first started on my eating healthy and weight loss journey, planning was something I didn’t really do, and it was a slow start. Once I started planning, by keeping bars in my bag or putting my shakes in the fridge. Even just portioning out my smoothie components the night before, that way I could just put all the items in my blender and mix.

If you aren’t sure about Designer Whey products, you can also try out a sampler pack. For $20.13 you receive 1 can of powder, three protein bars, three drink mixes, and a water bottle!

Prepped and Ready for 2014, are you!?

Prepped and Ready for 2014, are you!?

What are some of your favorite healthy habits? Share with us so we can all start 2014 on the right foot!

Stocking Stuffer Guide for the Host!

This year I put together a gift guide for the fitness enthusiast and last year I put together a list of gifts under $100 for the new runner. The last guide I am going to share with you is stocking stuffer ideas for the host. That person that loves to host parties, or even just spend lots of time in the kitchen and put together lovely elaborate meals for his or her family and friends.

I know that gift guides seem materialistic and silly, but I do honestly love sharing products that, for the most part, have either been purchased by me or gifted. I am grateful for many things in my life and I know that life is more than gifts. For me this is a fun and light-hearted post.

Now, on to the fun stuff. I picked items that I love in my kitchen or that I think I would love. Sometimes, the little items that seem frivolous are the ones we never buy ourselves. These gifts are what I would definitely call frivolous, but they are all under $20 and I am sure would be appreciated.

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1. The Olive Stuffer $17.95. This would seem perfect for someone who loves to throw parties with lots of cute apps, and I can imagine, would save a lot of time.

2. The Apple Corer $10. I don’t have this brand, but I love my apple corer, it makes Fall baking so much easier!

3. Zester $9.99. I just bought my first one a few weeks ago, and oh my gosh it was a life saver when I needed a ton of orange zest for the Koulourakia.

4. Grater $7.99. I don’t grate a ton of cheese, but I have a few recipes that need small amounts of grated cheese, and to be honest my current method is just asking for a bloody finger.

5. Juicester $7.95. I use a lot of lemon juice for everyday cooking and I have a handheld juicer, but I love this because it catches the juice for you, and you can juice the lemon or limes while you have down time in-between steps.

6. Cherry & Olive Pitter $13. Again, an item for the entertainer, it may take a lot of effort up front, but at least you won’t be finding pits everywhere the day after a party.

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1. Cupcake Corer $6.99. Hands Down one of my favorite frivolous items. I could never get my coring to be perfectly circular, nor could I get each cupcake to match, this solved all of those problems.

2. Rubber Spatula Set $11.99. I have these and use them all the time, in baking and cooking. I love the different sizes, and definitely did not realize how much I would utilize the smallest one. This is a must have!

3. Mini Metal Cookie Cutter Set $3.29. In my mind you can never have enough cookie cutters for any holiday. Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, I even have a football one for superbowl parties. This is also fun for kids when they get to help with the holiday baking.

4. Medium Cookie Scoop $13.99. Actually, I have the medium and small one, I use them both. There are just certain cookies that are meant to be a bit smaller (snickerdoodles) and ones that should be larger (pumpkin chocolate chip) so I appreciate having options. There is also a large scoop, but I do not have that one yet.

5. Cake Tester $2.99. This is an item I could use. I am always scrambling to find a toothpick and then they always roll onto the floor creating a bigger mess, it is extremely frustrating.

Other items I think are wonderful in the kitchen are Silpats and an Egg Timer that you put in the pot with your eggs to hardboil! What are some items you would want in your stocking?

Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway

It’s kinda crazy to think that one of my first ever reviews was for Swanson Health Products almost 2 years ago!

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Here we are just in time for the holidays with another review and of course a giveaway! I am so honored to be a part of this group, each day for 30 days, well now there are 20 days left, a blogger will be hosting a giveaway and you could win $100 to spend at Swanson Health Products for the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!

Swanson was wonderful and also gave me a $100 to spend. Here are a few of my favorites!

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It’s not holiday time in my house without baking. I am participating in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I am hosting my own cookie swap, and of course I bake for my family, friends and neighbors. This means I need A LOT of flour. I am very loyal to two brands, one is King Arthur and the other is Bob’s Red Mill. I love that Swanson carries a variety of Bob’s Red Mill products, including some gluten-free items!

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I got hooked on this stuff when I received it in a Foodie Pen Pals box last year. I drizzle my veggies with olive oil and sprinkle this on top, it is so delicious, and I cannot find it anywhere else!

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The first time I tried Coconut Oil was the first time I ordered from Swanson, and I haven’t used any other brand since. Nick loves to use this when we make popcorn on the stove top!

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A fun treat for the B man and also my sister, ha. I love that Annie’s Organics are available online at Swanson.

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My favorite flavor or kind bar, Swanson actually has quite the variety of bars!

There are a few other items but some of those are going in stockings so you will have to wait until Christmas to see them, but if you would like to enter the giveaway to win $100, enter the widget below! This is only open for 24 hours so make sure you enter now!


What item would you buy first at Swanson?