Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Thank goodness it’s Friday! September 29, 2012

Good morning!

I don’t know about you, but I am SO happy it is finally Friday! This week was a long one, so I’m ready to have some relaxation time this weekend!  To kick off the weekend, we are having an “at home date night” tonight making pizza again, but with an almond flour flaxseed crust topped with grilled peaches, prosciutto, spinach and goat cheese. Of course, we will also be sharing a nice bottle of wine! I think I am also going to try making some almond butter brownies, pumpkin cookies or a pumpkin microwave cake for dessert. I have been reading a lot about microwave cakes, so I am very intrigued. I’ll definitely keep you posted! Also, look for the recipe to the almond flour flaxseed pizza crust coming soon!

Tomorrow, we are going to head to our local farmer’s market in the morning (hopefully ride our bikes there) and then I’m meeting up with a friend for some coffee and pedicures in the afternoon. In the evening, we are heading to a class at a local gymnastics center, as part of our CrossFit box, to improve our gymnastics skills. Tomorrow should be fun! On Sunday, we are visiting some friends in the bay area, who are expecting a baby next month. We definitely have a busy, but fun-fill weekend planned!

This morning, after breakfast of our “usual,” Fage Greek yogurt with flaxseed, chia seeds, Kashi cereal and a banana, Keenan and I headed to our MOMs Club monthly social. At the social, an estate planning lawyer talked to us about making plans for our children, if something happened to us. It certianly made me think about who would take care of Keenan, if something (god for bid) happened, so I think my husband and I are going to set-up a time to meet with him. You just never know what could happen, so I feel it is better to be prepared.

After the social, we headed outside to play at the park for a bit (of course, we had to play with the water fountain, too!) before heading home for lunch.

Playing!

Having fun with the water fountain!

For lunch, I made Keenan a turkey and cheese sandwich (I was able to sneak in some tomato and lettuce for the second time this week, whoohoo!) with some avocado on the side. Since my husband bought chocolate milk last weekend for a treat/post workout snack for him, Keenan has been asking to have it all week. We have been giving it to him as a special treat after he finishes his lunches or dinners (making sure he eats all of his veggies). It has worked really well because he has been sucking down his veggies faster than normal, so he can have a small glass of chocolate milk!

Enjoying his chocolate milk in a “big boy” cup!

Speaking of food, I have received a couple of questions in regards to some of the items that I add to my yogurt or recipes, such as flaxseed, chia seeds and Xylitol, so I thought I would address them here:

What is flaxseed and why do you use it?

Flaxseed is a nutritional powerhouse that is full of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans (which contain antioxidant qualities) and fiber. Researchers are finding many cancer fighting properties in lignans, such as inhibiting enzymes that are included in the metabolism of various hormones and stopping the growth and spread of cancerous cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart and may help prevent heart disease. Americans don’t typically get a lot of omega-3’s in their diets, because they are mostly found in fish, such as salmon, so flaxseed is a great way to fit them in! You can buy flaxseed in most grocery stores,, either in the bulk or natural foods section. You can buy it ground or whole (small seeds). You can use flaxseed in your baking, subbing it for eggs (it is a great binder), just adding it to your recipe for more nutrition, mixing it into your yogurt, smoothies, protein shakes, or using it as a crispy coating for baked sweet potato or zucchini fries. In addition to the health benefits, I personally love the nutty flavor of flaxseed, so I try to add it into as many things as I possibly can!

What are chia seeds and why are they so beneficial?

Chia seeds are considered a “super food.” They are very high in omega-3 fatty acids (even higher than flaxseed), antioxidants and fiber. They also contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin and zinc. Chia is very similiar in its’ antioxidant properties and cancer/disease prevention as flaxseed. In addition, chia also helps to decrease inflammation in the body. Chia seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores and they are usually sold in whole form. Some brands are even incorporating chia seeds into their cereal, crackers or beverages. The easiest way to eat them is to add them to your food, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, smoothies, shakes and baking.

What is Xylitol and why do you use it instead of regular sugar?

Xylitol is a natural carbohydrate that tastes like sugar and looks like it, too. It is a sweetener that comes from any fibrous plant material, thus being completely natural. It is mostly extracted from corn cobs and hardwood. In addition, it is also made in our bodies during normal metabolism. Researchers are finding many health properties to Xylitol, such as fighting/preventing cavities, thus you will see it in many toothpastes or gum. In addition, Xylitol can help prevent bacteria that causes respiratory illness, thus you will see it added in nasal sprays. Xylitol contains zero calories and its’ ratio to sugar is 1:1. I use it in my coffee and baking as I would normally use sugar. I find that the taste and sweetness is the same as sugar. I use Xylitol because I don’t like to consume too much sugar, if at all, due to the health consequences and calories. I’ve tried other alternatives, such as Stevia, but Xylitol seems to taste better to me, as well as provide the same level of sweetness as sugar. On the downside, Xylitol is a little harder to find. You can get it at  health food stores and some grocery stores (in the natural foods section) or order it online. My local grocery store fortunately carries it.

After Keenan’s nap, we headed to CrossFit. Since it was a partner WOD, my husband and I teamed up. The WOD was 6 rounds of 20 medicine ball cleans to the wall, 50 m wheel barrel carry and 40 v-ups. The time cap was 25 minutes and we finished in 23 minutes. It was a fun WOD for the end of the week! Tomorrow evening should be fun at the gymnastics center! I am looking forward to it, since I haven’t tumbled since high school!

Well, its time to do Keenan’s bath and bedtime and then it is date night! Have a great evening!

Questions: What are your plans for the weekend? Do you use flaxseed or chia seeds? If so, how do you incorporate them into your food?

 

Tired Thursday September 28, 2012

Today was one of those days…from the moment I woke up, I was dragging all day long! I should have felt somewhat rested, since I was able to get seven and a half hours of sleep last night, but for some reason, I wasn’t! On top of it, today was cleaning day at our household, so I was in total procrastination mode. Who really looks forward to cleaning? I sure don’t, but I love the feeling of having a clean house!

Before I forget, here are a couple pictures of Keenan and I in his crib from a few days ago! I thought I would post a couple today! He wanted me to get in his crib after he woke up from his nap and go “sleepy sleep” with him. We had some fun taking silly pictures!

Being silly in his crib!

Another picture!

More about today: Keenan was tired, too and unusually fussy, getting into things he knows he isn’t supposed to and constantly testing the waters. Finally, one of his bottom molars came in, but the other one is not quite there yet, so I think that was the reason for his behavior today, Nonetheless, we had A LOT of time outs today! It is so easy to let things slide as parents, but it only gets worse if you don’t deal with the issues at the time. Consistency is key in parenting, though it certainly is tiring after a while! My patience were tested to the limit today, but without consistency, I feel Keenan will not learn what he can and cannot do or what is right from wrong.

Anyhow, more about our day…before talking about food, I completely forgot to take any pictures of our meals today, sorry! For breakfast, we had toasted almond flour pancakes leftover from last weekend topped with pumpkin butter and some slices of strawberries on the side. I had a latte, as usual! After breakfast, I preped our dinner, so it would be pretty much done by the time we got home from the gym.

Once dinner was prepared, we headed upstairs to start cleaning. Since Keenan was fussy today, he wasn’t too interested in being my usual “cleaning helper.” Though, when it was time to clean the bathrooms, he was excited about helping me scrub the bathtub and cleaning his potty!

For lunch, I made Keenan his favorite (of course): peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich with some cooked carrots and a glass of milk. I made myself my Egg White Florentine in a Mug topped with salsa and some baby carrots, sugar snap peas and a small peach on the side.

After Keenan went down for a nap, I finished cleaning and made myself an iced coffee (using my husband’s coffee concentrate), but I still felt tired, ugh!

Once Keenan woke up, we headed to CrossFit and I felt defeated prior to even working out! I was out of gas from the start, but it felt good to  workout. Today’s WOD was: 4 rounds of 200 m plate carry of 25 lbs for women, 15 over the box jumps and 15 squat snatches (65 lbs for women). I completed 2 rounds and 29 reps (just 1 rep shy of completing 3 rounds!). It was a hard one, to say the least!

Prior to going to CrossFit, Keenan insisted on having a snack, even though he almost always eats his snack at the gym. Today, he seemed to be hungrier then most days, so I gave him a snack before we left (and brought one for the gym). Anyhow, it made me think about kid snacks and how much “junk” is out there. I thought I would talk about here.

It seems that every processed kid-friendly food is marked as “contains whole grains,” “contains all of the essential vitamins and nutrients” or is “high in fiber,” even though the first ingredient is enriched white flour, contains a very low amount of fiber, high in sodium and loaded with sugar! It is such a marketing scam, because unless you actually read the ingredients, you think you are buying something relatively healthy for your children.

For Keenan, I apply the same healthy eating philosophy that my husband and I adhere to: eating “clean.” We eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole foods (little to no processed food), lean meats, nuts, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats, practicing mindful eating. For Keenan’s snacks, I try to make sure they are nutritionally packed as possible. Some of his favorites are plain cheerios (of course), which don’t offer much nutritional value, so I add dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries and some slivered almonds to make “trail mix.” He also LOVES Trader Joe’s Fiberful dried fruit and veggie bars (which have 6 grams of fiber and no added sugar!), fruit and veggie pouches and yogurt melts from Happy Baby. When we are at home, I usually give him little cubes of cheddar cheese with Ak Mak crackers or fruit, or peanut butter with some banana slices (of course!). Sometimes I even give him popcorn (plain popcorn that I pop in my air popper). I try to give him as many “whole food snacks” as possible. It is easy to buy whatever snacks that “look good” at the grocery store and are advertised towards kids as “healthy” or “organic,” without looking at the label and applying your  healthy eating habits to your children. Just because your children are kids, it doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy and have fun eating healthy food, too!

Trader Joe’s AWESOME Fiberful fruit bars and Keenan’s “trail mix” (though I ran out of slivered almonds\, so it only contained cheerios and dried blueberries today).

New Yo Drops from Plum Kids that we recently tried. They are too small (which get everywhere) and contain only 1 gram of protein. The yogurt melts from Happy Baby are much larger and contain about 3 grams of protein per serving (I know, not much, but at least it is more!).

Speaking of food, for dinner, we enjoyed grilled country style pork ribs that I marinated with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and Worcestershire sauce, roasted butternut squash with walnuts mixed with cinnamon, maple syrup and a little butter, along with a salad. It was delish!

After a long day, it is time for bed. Night!

Question: What kinds of snacks do you give your kids? Any homemade kid-friendly snack ideas?

 

What I ate Wednesday September 26, 2012

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m linking up with Jenn again, for What I ate Wednesday: Fall into Good Habits.

Peas and Crayons

Before I talk about today’s eats, here is a little recap of dinner last night: We ate some more of my leftover cheesy pasta bake with a peach and walnut salad mixed with a little feta cheese, dried cherries, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I finally remembered to take a picture!

Our delicious and quick dinner last night!

Since Keenan had swim class this morning, we ate a quick breakfast, but I managed to do something different today! We had my own creation of egg florentine (in a mug) with egg whites and some slices of strawberries on the side (of course, I also had a latte that my husband so kindly made for me!). Breakfast was good and most importantly, Keenan enjoyed it, too! It was a nice change from yogurt and a great way to get some extra veggies. We will definitely be doing this again! Below is my recipe.

My delicious egg white florentine creation, though it doesn’t look that appetizing!

Egg White Florentine in a Mug (serves 1):

– 3/4 cup egg whites

– 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach

– 2 Tbsp feta cheese (crumbled)

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning

– 1 Tsp no-salt garlic mixed seasoning from Costco

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Spray a small ramekin or microwave-safe glass bowl with olive oil or cooking spray.

2. Pour egg whites into bowl and mix in spinach, spices and cheese.

3. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and cook in the microwave for an additional minute, or until egg whites puff up and are fully cooked (no liquid is present). Top with salsa or pasta sauce (if desired) and enjoy!

Notes: Depending on the size of your bowl, add more or less spinach. I added as much spinach as I could possibly fit! You can also make this without cheese and it still tastes good!

The line-up that went into the egg whites.

My breakfast with a little pasta sauce on top of my egg whites.

Keenan’s breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed to swim class at the Y and then home. My mom came over for a short visit after we got back from the Y. Keenan was SUPER excited to see her! They played while I did some laundry and prepared a yellow bean salad for part of our dinner tonight. We are having the last of the cheesy pasta bake with a yellow bean salad mixed with tomatoes, feta cheese and roasted walnuts. I actually haven’t eaten yellow beans, but when we saw them at our farmer’s market last Saturday, I thought they would be fun to try! I’ve only had green beans, so I’m curious if the yellow ones taste different. Here is the recipe for my salad:

The final product before going into the fridge.

Yellow or Green Bean Salad: (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 pounds green or yellow beans (cut in half)

– 4 fresh tomatoes (chopped)

– 1/2 chopped walnuts

– 1/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

– 2 Tbsp olive oil

– 3-4 Tbsp red wine vingar

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Steam beans either stove top or in the microwave. Once steamed, let cool and set aside.

2. Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Add cooled beans and rest of the ingredients.

3. Mix well, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving (so flavors meld together).

Notes: To steam the beans in the microwave: place them in a microwave-safe dish with a 1/4 cup of  water and cover. Microwave on high for 6-8 minutes, or until they are tender. To make this a one-pot meal, add some chopped chicken.

Once Keenan wakes up from his nap, we are heading to CrossFit, as usual. Yesterday’s WOD was short and sweet. It was 3 rounds of 7 deadlifts (women weight: 145 lbs) and 21 over-the-bar lateral burpees for time. I finished in 5 minutes and 16 seconds, the third best girl time, not too bad. I was hoping to finish in under 5 minutes. I love when the workouts are short because you just go as fast as you can and power through them. You can do anything for 5 to 10 minutes, right? It is the long WODs of 20 minutes or more that are difficult. You have to stay focused and find a good pace (not too fast, but not slow) to get through it (at least for me!).

Anyhow, I have a board meeting tonight for my MOMs Club, so I’m glad dinner is already done. My husband will be on Keenan duty tonight! Have a great afternoon!

Question: What have you eaten today? Have you tried cooking any new vegetables lately? If so, what have you tried?

 

Healthy Living Tuesday September 25, 2012

It was nice to get up early again this morning and have a little bit of quiet time checking emails before Keenan woke-up. I’m really liking this, but we’ll see how long it lasts!

Before I forget, since it is the last Tuesday of the month, I am linking up with Healthy Living Blogs today for Healthy Living Tuesdays with my article that I posted a couple of weeks ago: Health Lessons Learned Lately: “We eat our way, the way that works for us.” If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to do so!

Keenan woke up a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning and was in a silly mood! He asked me to get in his crib with him and go “sleepy sleep!” We also read a couple of stories. My husband climbed into his crib a couple of weeks ago, after he woke up from his nap, and Keenan loved it! Since then, he loves having us climb in with him and pretend to sleep or just read stories; it is too cute! Next time, I will have to take a picture!

After we both got out of the crib and I changed Keenan, we headed down stairs to have a quick breakfast of our “usual,” Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries, chia seeds, flaxseed and Kashi cereal. I don’t know why, but I have craved yogurt the past few days! But, I have something different in mind for tomorrow’s breakfast, so I think we will change it up a bit!

After breakfast, I took my latte to go and we headed to our local firehouse for a tour, an outing that was planned through my MOMs Club. I told Keenan about this yesterday and he was SUPER excited, especially since he is all about being our little “Firefigther” these days! During breakfast, I asked him if he remembered where we were going today and he quickly replied in a loud voice, “The Firehouse!” He was SO excited that he ate his breakfast in record speed and was ready to get dressed and head out the door (with his fire hat and boots on!) quicker than I’ve ever seen him!

My little Firefighter!

Buddies!

As soon as we got to the firehouse, he was excited, but apprehensive. At first, he didn’t want to walk, he wanted me to carry him and he wasn’t sure of getting into the fire trucks. I’m not sure why he acted that way, especially since he loves everything that has to do with Firefighters! Since there were a lot of kids there, I think he might have felt a little overwhelmed. As soon as he climbed into the Fire Truck with his friend, he was all smiles! He listened intently to what the Fire Captain said and took everything in. But, as soon as the Fire Captain slid down the fire pole, Keenan started crying. I’m not sure what made him scared! After that, he didn’t want to take a picture with the Fire Captain, he only wanted to give him a high five (with me carrying him). All, in all, it was a great experience (I even learned something!) and Keenan definitely enjoyed himself, because on the way home and during lunch, he only wanted to talk about the firehouse!

For lunch, I made Keenan his favorite: peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich with some applesauce and a glass of milk. He devoured everything in minutes; he was hungry! I made myself a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and some yogurt jalapeno dip from Costco (they finally have it again!). In addition, I had some baby snap peas, carrots and a small peach. It was very satisfying!

Once Keenan wakes up from his nap, we are heading to CrossFit (they moved into their new space today, so it will be great to have more room!). Yesterday, we had a challenging, but good WOD. I surprised myself on how well I did! The WOD consisted of: run 400 m, 21 chest-to-bar pullups (I was finally able to string 5 in a row!), 15 thrusters, run 400 m, 15 chest-to-bar pullups, 12 thrusters, run 400 m, 9 chest-to-bar pullups and 9 thrusters. The prescribed weight for women was 65 lbs and the time cap was 16 minutes. I completed it as prescribed in 14 minutes and 8 seconds! I was so thrilled! It was probably one of my best WODs! So, we’ll see how today goes!

After CrossFit, we are heading home for dinner of leftover cheesy pasta bake with a salad. After Keenan goes to bed, my husband and I have a date on the couch to catch-up on a few of our favorite TV shows!  As promised, the recipe for my cheesy pasta bake is below. I think this was the best batch that I have made because it was so gooey and flavorful (even my husband agreed!). Keenan even loved it because he ate all of his portion in minutes! Sorry, we were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of it, after it came out of the oven!

This is the cheesy pasta bake (prior to being baked) that I made for a mom in my MOMs Club who recently had a baby.

Cheesy Pasta Bake (serves 6):

Ingredients:

– 1 box of whole wheat or brown rice rotini or elbow noodles

– 6 Italian pre-cooked sausages (diced)

– 5 roma tomatoes (diced)

– 3 cups spinach

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese

– 1/2 cup feta cheese

– 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

– 4 Tbsp garlic no-salt seasoning from Costco

– 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

– 1 tsp pepper

– pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 glass dish with olive oil or cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta according to package, making sure to add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Once cooked, drain and place into a large bowl.

3. Add all ingredients, except for bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, to the pasta and mix well.

4. Place pasta mixture into prepared dish.

5. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of the pasta mixture.

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and bubbly.

Notes: If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use two small cans of diced tomatoes. You can also use different seasonings, especially if you don’t have Costco’s garlic no-salt seasoning. If you want to store this meal for later, you can prepare it as directed above, cover it with plastic wrap, then foil and freeze until ready to bake. When you are ready to bake it, take the plastic wrap off, but leave it covered with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, uncovering it the last 15 minutes so it can brown.

Question: What health lessons have you learned lately?

 

Monday, Monday September 24, 2012

“Monday, monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da)
So good to me (ba-daba-da-da-da)
Monday mornin, it was all I hoped it would be…”

Since I’m up early this morning, the song, “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas and The Papas, popped into my head. I’m not sure why I thought of this, but I think it’s appropriate for today. My husband had to get up early and be out of the house by 6:00 a.m. today to head to San Francisco. He is taking an exam to be able to move up in rank and pay in his job. Since he was anxious and a little nervous about today, we both didn’t sleep well last night (even though we went to bed early). So, instead of lying in bed and trying to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up with him and write my post (at least try to write it before Keenan wakes up). It is actually kind of nice writing this while drinking my latte when everything is quiet. I might have to do this more often…

My morning latte in my favorite mug!

Anyhow, before I forget, I have to tell you about the peach cobbler that I made Saturday night. It was really good! My husband really liked it, so that is a HUGE plus! The texture was slightly grainy, due to the almond flour, but the flavor was great! The Xylitol worked very well, in fact, it was the perfect sweetness (not overly sweet). I will definitely make this again and use other fruit when peaches are not in season. But, I would like to try making it with whole wheat flour next time, to see the difference in texture. Also, it was SUPER easy to make, since you pretty much mix everything together, put your fruit on top and bake!

Yummy peach cobbler! Sorry for the poor quality picture; I took it with my phone.

Almost Paleo Peach (or any fruit) Cobbler:
Adapted from my grandma

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup butter (melted)

– 1/2 cup Xylitol *You can use plain sugar or another sugar alternative

– 1 cup almond flour

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 cup milk *You can use any kind of milk, i.e. almond, coconut, etc.

– 7 medium peaches (sliced)

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients, except for fruit, to form the batter.

3. Spread the batter in the bottom of an 8X8″ pan or glass dish.

4. Microwave sliced peaches in a microwavable-safe dish for 5-6 minutes, until bubbly and there is a lot of juice.

5. Place fruit (with all of the juice) over batter.

6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with a dollop of ice cream or eat plain!

Before the cobbler went into the oven.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a lazy, but productive day at home. For breakfast, we ate some leftover peach cobbler with eggs scrambled with spinach and of course, my husband and I had lattes. After breakfast, I made my cheesy pasta bake for a mom in my MOMs Club, who recently had a baby. I also made one for us that we are going to have for dinner tonight. While I cooked, Keenan played in his sandbox and my husband studied for his exam. After cooking and cleaning-up, I was able to get our laundry done (folded and put away) and all of our bedding changed (ours, Keenan’s and the guest bed). While Keenan napped, I paid bills, got caught-up on a few things that have been on my to-do list for a while and managed to do a little online shopping! I ordered some TOMs and a pair of the Reebox Nano 2.0! I’m so excited for my new shoes! I have been wanting TOMs for a while now and finally was able to get them, since they were on sale! Since I attended the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course last weekend, I received a discount to use at the CrossFit/Reebok store, so I was able to save some money on the Nano 2.0! I just love shopping when things are on sale or extremely discounted!!

Oh, and I made a delicious chocolate peanut butter milkshake (minus the milk) for a late lunch/snack yesterday. I’m definitely making this again! Sorry, once again, I forgot to snap a picture.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake (minus the milk):
Adapted from Megan from Detoxinista

– 1 frozen banana

– 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

– 1/2 cup non-fat milk

– 2 tsp maple syrup

– 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 tsp vanilla

– pinch of salt

– handful crushed ice

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

Note: To add more nutrition, I might add chia and flaxseeds next time!

For dinner last night, I made roasted broccoli with a red onion, some tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, along with quinoa mixed with Italian sausage, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and feta cheese. It was delish! Sorry, I completely forgot to take a picture (once again)!

This morning, we are headed to Keenan’s music class, and on the way, we are delivering the cheesy pasta bake. We have a few errands to run after his class, then home for lunch and Keenan’s nap. I have a lot of things that I need to get done while he sleeps, so I hope he takes a long nap today! Yesterday, he slept for 2 and a half hours, so hopefully, he is getting back into his normal sleeping habits! This afternoon, we are going to CrossFit and then home for dinner to enjoy our cheesy pasta bake and a salad (look for my cheesy pasta bake recipe tomorrow!). Have a great Monday!

My little Fire Fighter eating his breakfast this morning with his monkey cup!

Question: How do you like to start your week? I love having a nice warm latte, checking some emails, listening to the news and looking at my calendar to plan for the week ahead.

 

Enjoying a Saturday at home September 22, 2012

Last night’s dinner turned out great! The Cauliflower pizza was delicious, though, it definitely didn’t have the texture of an actual pizza crust. It was lightly toasted, rich in flavor and very satisfying! As a bonus, my husband and I split the entire pizza because the crust was all cauliflower (with one egg and a little Greek yogurt added)! We will definitely be making this again!

Our beautiful pizza ready to eat!

Cauliflower Pizza: (serves 2)
 Adapted from Megan at Detoxinista

Ingredients;

– 4 cups steamed cauliflower rice (about one medium head)

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

– 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

– pinch of salt and pepper

– 2 roma tomatoes

– 1/4 cup basil (chopped)

– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or you could use fresh mozzarella cut in medallions)

– 5-6 oz. chopped chicken

– 1/2 cup tomato/pasta sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
2. To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.
3. Place pulsed cauliflower in a microwavable safe dish, add 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook in the microwave for 6 minutes (to steam). Once it is steamed, drain into a fine-mesh strainer.
4. Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dish towel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dish towel, twist, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! *This is critical to getting all of the moisture out, so your pizza crust is nice and dry!
5. In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower,  egg,  yogurt, and spices.
6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep the dough about 1/3″ thick, and make the edges a little higher, to resemble a crust.
7. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees, until golden brown.
8. Top with sauce, cheese, tomatoes, basil and chicken. Place pizza in oven at 400 degrees and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice and enjoy!

Pulsing the cauliflower.

The steamed cauliflower after twisting it in a dish towel to drain all of the excess moisture.

Mixing it all together to form the “dough.”

The pizza crust prior to baking it.

While we were waiting for dinner to be ready, we enjoyed some wonderful wine that we bought in the Anderson Valley of Northern California, last February.

I just love this wine from Toulouse Winery!

We also munched on some candied Pecans that my Foodie Pen Pal sent! They were SO good, that they were addicting! We kept eating the pecans until there weren’t any left!

Sugar Toasted Pecans…SO good!

After dinner and great conversation, we caught up on “So You Think You Can Dance” (finally watching the Finale) and started “Glee!” I just love that Kate Hudson is on the show this season! I can’t wait to finish the episode tonight!

This morning, Keenan woke up bright and early at 7:00 a.m. He brought a few of his books to our bed, so we read Llama Llama stories and cuddled as a family. For breakfast, my husband made almond flour pancakes (trying a new recipe) that were tasty, but a little dry. We need to add either a banana or more liquid next time. Sorry, I was totally absorbed in our family time this morning, that I forgot to take a picture of our pancakes!

Dancing with Daddy after breakfast this morning!

After breakfast, we headed to the Farmer’s Market and got vegetables for the week and then ran a few errands. Keenan was so tired that when he was eating his snack (Trader Joe’s Fruit leather) while we were driving, he was falling a sleep!

A little bit ago, I enjoyed a berry smoothie of frozen berries, yogurt and a scoop of protein powder, as my late lunch/snack. Here is the recipe:

So delicious!

Berry Protein Smoothie: (serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup frozen berries

– 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

– 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy!

Note: You might need a spoon, because it will be pretty thick! I think I will also add some faxseed and chia seeds next time!

After Keenan wakes up, we are heading to Costco! Tonight, my husband and I are going to enjoy another date night after Keenan goes to bed. For dinner, we are thinking of grilling some corn, tomatoes and country style pork ribs. We might also try Carolyn’s idea of grilled peaches wrapped in prosciutto for an appetizer! Also, I didn’t have a chance to make the peach cobbler last night, so I’m going to make it this afternoon. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Questions: How did you spend your Saturday? What are you having for dinner tonight? Do you tend to spend more time cooking on the weekends then during the week? I definitely do! I usually try new recipes on the weekend.

 

TGIF: At Home Date Night September 21, 2012

TGIF! I’m SO glad it is Friday!  Even though the week went by fast, it was a long one! Did anyone else feel that way? Since I really didn’t have a relaxing or restful weekend last week (though, I had a blast at the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course!), this week seemed long. I’m ready for the weekend and our “at home date night” tonight! As an added bonus to kicking off the weekend, I just found out that I passed my CrossFit Level 1 exam, so I am officially a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer!! I felt confident when I took the test last Sunday, but hearing the news today made me relieved and ready to celebrate!

Keenan woke up early (6:45 a.m.) this morning, but fortunately he went to bed on time last night. I REALLY hope he gets back to his normal sleeping habits soon! While I got breakfast ready, Keenan wanted to watch “Elmo’s World.”

Watching “Elmo’s World” and smiling for the camera!

For breakfast, I felt like yogurt, so we had our “usual” with Fage Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flaxseed, strawberries and little of Kashi Cereal. Keenan insisted I add cheerios to his yogurt, in addition to the Kashi! Before my husband headed out to his work event, he made each of us a STRONG latte, which was SO needed, because I felt really tired this morning.

Friends!

A little while after breakfast, Keenan and I met our friends for a walk and to play at the park. It was nice to catch-up with my friend, and let the boys play. Keenan and his friend are only 5 days a part, so it’s cute to see them interact together. They are pretty much the same size, too.

Playing on the Frog!

The boys sharing the swing!

After playing at the park, we headed to Marshalls to return some workout shorts and then home for lunch. Keenan was SO tired, so I made him his favorite: a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich with a glass of milk. He sucked that down in minutes! Poor thing, he must be worn out from the past couple of days, in addition to his teeth bothering him, because he fell asleep in less than 5 minutes!

Once Keenan gets up from his nap (hopefully, a long one!), we are heading to CrossFit. I missed yesterday’s class, due to the awful traffic going through downtown Sacramento on my way home from my parents’ house! I thought I could make it, but I completely forgot how backed up the traffic gets at 5:00 p.m.! Needless to say, I am looking forward to a good workout today!

Sine we are having our “at home date night” tonight, we are feeding Keenan, putting him to bed and then making our dinner. I am looking forward to having a relaxing dinner, sharing a bottle of wine and catching-up on all of our favorite TV shows that we recorded this week! On the menu is pizza made with a cauliflower crust inspired by Megan. We are going to make a Margherita pizza using the tomatoes we picked yesterday, fresh basil from our garden and leftover mozzarella cheese that I had from last week. For additional protein, we are going to add some chopped chicken. For dessert, I’m going to make a peach cobbler, using the peaches we picked yesterday, almond flour and Xylitol. Look for the recipes and pictures on Monday!

Question: What are your plans for tonight? Any fun plans for the weekend? We are staying home and running errands, including a trip to Costco, going to the Farmer’s Market and hopefully fitting in a nice run with some speed intervals (I need to work on improving my run time/pace for my WODs)!

 

Cousins and Country Living September 20, 2012

Well, so much for Keenan sleeping in (at least not at my parent’s house!)…today he promptly woke up at 6:30 a.m.! On top of waking up early, he didn’t fall asleep until 9:00 p.m. last night, due to a little fiasco of putting he and Maddie to bed in the same room. I thought Keenan was already asleep when we put Maddie to bed last night. As soon as my mom and Maddie walked in the room, Keenan stood up in the crib and was ready for play time! Needless to say, we didn’t have the two of them sleep in the same room, otherwise no one would get any sleep! As far as Keenan’s early wake-up goes, I think it is partly due to his teeth, and also being at my parent’s house. He has two molars coming in on the bottom, so he is constantly sticking his fingers in his mouth, not to mention being a little irritable. Also, for the past few days, he has only been napping for an hour to an hour-and-a-half (he usually sleeps at least 2 full hours!). I’m hoping after his teeth come in, he will go back to his normal sleeping habits (crossing my fingers!).

A quick picture before we headed up the road!

Since we have been at my parents’ house, we have been playing outside non-stop and enjoying the country. Every time we visit my parents’ house, it makes me want to move back to the country sooner, rather than later!

Yesterday, after Keenan and Maddie woke up from their naps, we went on a bike ride up the road (Keenan rode his trike and Maddie rode her bike) and on the way back, we stopped to pick peaches! Keenan thought the “mushy ones” on the ground were SO funny! He kept wanting to pick them up and make them even more mushier! I can’t wait to make a nice crisp or cobbler with some of the peaches this weekend! I am going to try making it with almond flour and Xylitol. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Picking peaches!

After we got home, we made ice cream cones, cupcakes and cakes out of play doh.

Play doh time!

A little while later, we danced, sang and gave lots of love to the dogs, Lady (Rottweiler) and Princess (German Shepherd)!

Giving lots of love to the dogs!

Hugging Princess!

“Scratching” Lady’s back with the broom!

For dinner, my mom made roasted chicken with potatoes, broccoli and salad. She stuffed the chicken with lots of garlic and herbs, so it was perfectly juicy and full of flavor! Once again, I forgot to snap a picture, sorry!

After breakfast and a little playing outside, we went to the ranch so Keenan and Maddie could ride the tractor with Avo. At first, Keenan wasn’t sure about the whole thing, but after seeing Maddie on the tractor, he wanted to ride it, too! They also got to sit in the big tractor!

Maddie enjoying a tractor ride with Avo!

Enjoying his tractor ride with Avo!

Sitting in the big tractor!

After we were done with the tractors, we picked a LOT of tomatoes (Keenan wanted to pick the green ones!) and visited GG (my grandmother), who lives down the road.

Picking tomatoes!

When we got home, Keenan helped my mom pick a couple of pumpkins from her garden, to bring home to our house (we’ll save them for carving next month!).

Helping to pick some pumpkins!

For lunch, we had leftover chicken and broccoli with some slices of tomatoes and peaches. Since Maddie and Keenan finished all of their lunch (including all of their broccoli!), my mom made them small ice cream cones, before they went down for their naps.

We definitely had a busy, but fun-filled morning! Hopefully, with all of the activity, Keenan and Maddie will take long naps! Once Keenan gets up, will be heading home and I’m hoping to go to the later CrossFit class tonight. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon!

Question: Aside from eating peaches fresh, grilling them or making a crisp or cobbler, what other ways do you eat them? Since we have so many peaches, I’d love to try some new ways of cooking/baking them. Also, how do you like to use fresh vine-ripend tomatoes? We picked two big bags full, so I’m thinking of roasting and grilling some. I would love to find other ways to cook/eat them (aside from adding them to salads or pasta dishes).

 

What I Ate Wednesday September 19, 2012

Happy Hump Day! Since I always forget to do this, I thought I would link up with Jenn today and What I ate Wednesday “Fall into Good Habits.”

 

This morning was a little hectic, to say the least. Since we were heading to my parent’s house to spend the night, I got up very early to attend the 7:00 a.m. class at our box this morning. Before I left, I ate a small snack of half of a banana and a couple teaspoons of peanut butter to get me through the workout. Boy, did I need it! The skill was 3 sets of 10 handstand push-ups and 20 bridge ups. For the WOD, we did 3 rounds with a 20 minute time cap of 20 “two for one” wall balls (squatting twice), 3 rope climbs and 50 double unders. The wall balls were hard for me (as they always are!), but I managed to finish in 18 minutes and 33 seconds, not too bad, but not great.

As soon as I got home, my husband had breakfast waiting for me and Keenan was already up, changed and just finishing his breakfast…I just love my husband! He made me half of an egg sandwich with some cheese and avocado, along with some strawberries and a latte to go (sorry, I was in such a rush, that I forgot to take a picture!). I scarfed down my breakfast, took a quick shower, loaded up the car and headed to swim class.

Before I talk more about today’s eats, below is the recipe for our dinner last night. I prepped everything, but my husband put it all together, since he didn’t go to the gym with us. He isn’t much on measuring, so he says the recipe is as close as he can remember. He did an excellent job; it was delicious!! We will definitely be making this again!

Dinner last night!

Grilled Baby Bok Choy Salad: (servers 3)

 Ingredients:

– Three boneless, skinless chicken thighs

– 6-7 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

– 2 cups sliced mushrooms *we used baby portobello

– 1 red bell pepper, large dice

– 1 medium onion (white, yellow, or red), medium dice

– 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

– Fresh ground pepper, to taste

– 5 T good-quality soy sauce or tamari

– 4 T oyster sauce

– 1 t fish sauce

– Garlic powder, to taste

– Chinese 5-Spice, to taste

– Toasted sesame oil

– Rice or white wine vinegar, to taste

 Directions:

1.  Marinate chicken: Place chicken in food-safe bag or bowl, and glop on 3 T soy, 2 T oyster, and 1 t fish sauces. Grind in some pepper, sprinkle in some garlic powder, and trickle in enough cold water to allow the chicken to marinate. (Add more water if you’re going to let it site for a while, or leave the soy sauce concentrated if you’re going to be cooking the chicken very soon.)

2. Prepare bok choy: Halve the baby bok choy lengthwise, only removing outer leaves that are damaged. Don’t bother trimming the base, as you’ll be cutting that off after they’re grilled. Drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper.

3. (If you’re grilling over fire, start your grill, now, and get ready for medium-high heat.) Heat a large skillet or everyday pan over medium-high heat, and add about 2 T oil. Sauté onion, bell pepper, ground pepper, garlic powder, and 5-spice for a few minutes, then add garlic. Sauté for another minute, and then add mushrooms. Add some more garlic powder and 5-spice, if you want it to be pungent (we do!). Stir a little, and then cover the pan. Some brown bits should start developing on the bottom of the pan, and removing the lid and stirring a few times should help keep that going. If you time the “sitting and stirring” correctly, the mushrooms should start releasing water just before anything starts burning, so all of that nice brown flavoring should come right off the bottom of the pan. At that point, keep the lid off the pan and cook until most of the moisture has simmered away. (If you’re using a gas grill, you need to start it, now, and get ready for medium-high heat.) Add 2 T soy sauce, 2T oyster sauce, and cook until the sauces have thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

4. Remove chicken from marinade, oil it, and place on grill. Watch it while you cook the bok choy, and flip when needed. Once it’s almost done, remove from the grill, wrap in foil, and let the chicken rest. It will continue cooking, and be super-juicy.

5. Place as much of the bok choy on the grill as you possibly can, cut side down, without cramming things. Cover grill. Depending on the size of the bok choy heads, you want to check things after 3 minutes, or so. The very tips of the leaves should get a little black, but everything else should be fine, with some grill lines developing on the stem of the leaves. If that’s happened, flip the bok choy, and leave it for about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Remove bok choy when it’s done, and let rest, uncovered. Finish cooking the rest of the bok choy, if you couldn’t do it all at once.

6.  Pour veggies and sauce from pan into a large mixing bowl. Chop chicken and toss in bowl. Rough-chop bok choy, leaving thick base of stem (but trimming as much of the leaves as possible, to reduce waste), and toss into bowl. Grind in some pepper. Sprinkle about ½ t of toasted sesame oil over salad. Sprinkle about 2 T of vinegar over salad, and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings (it’ll probably need more vinegar for a sharp bite, unless you like a deeper flavor).

7.  Divide amongst 3 plates or shallow bowls.

*Note: For more texture and added flavor, I would sprinkle roasted walnuts or almonds on top!

After Keenan’s swim class, we headed to my parent’s house and made it just in time for lunch. Keenan was SO excited to see Nonna, Avo and Maddie, that he kept repeating (over and over) in the car, “Going to Nonna and Avo’s house!” My mom had some Aram Sandwiches (flat bread wrapped in a pinwheel with turkey, lettuce, tomato and cheese) from Costco, so I had two of those with a small piece of a leftover pork chop (that my parents had for dinner last night), broccoli, baby carrots and some slices of a peach. Keenan loves the Aram Sandwiches, so he had one with some broccoli dipped in hummus, a few pieces of cheese, slices of a peach and a glass of milk. Again, I completely forgot to snap a picture, sorry!

After the kids wake up from their naps, we are going on a little bike ride and to pick peaches! I’ll be sure to take a few pictures!

I’m not sure what my mom has planned for dinner tonight, but I’m sure it includes some pasta with meat, veggies and a salad! Have a great afternoon!

Question: What are some of your favorite dishes that your mom and/or dad make or that you had while growing-up? My favorite dishes that my mom makes are her chicken scallopini, raviolis and risotto!

 

The Importance of Family September 18, 2012

I had to post this picture…we gave Keenan some peanut butter ice cream (left over from his birthday) after dinner last night, as a treat, and he was SO excited to eat it!

My brother and niece arrived from Montreal late last night, to stay here (our house for a couple of days and then at my parent’s for the rest of the time) until Sunday. My brother has work in the area for the next few days, so he thought it would be nice to bring my niece along, so we can all see her. Most importantly, Keenan and my niece can spend time together and play. Keenan woke up this morning around 7:30, a little before my niece, and was SO excited to see her and his Uncle E (my brother) that he kept saying, “See Maddie and Uncle E!” Since my niece and brother weren’t up yet, Keenan stayed with my husband and I in our bed, reading stories. As soon as my niece woke up, Keenan and her were SUPER excited to see each other. It was non-stop giggling, screaming, running and playing from that moment until lunch time! Keenan adores his cousin and my niece is such a wonderful big cousin to him; it’s very cute to watch them interact. I just love seeing the two of them play so well together! Every time we are all together, I always wish we could live closer, because it would be so nice for our children to grow-up next door to each other. Maybe some day…

When my brother, niece and sister-in-law (though, she is not here this time, due to her expecting baby number 2!) are here, it always reinforces the importance of family to me. I’m so blessed and thankful to have such a supportive and loving family. They are always there for me, supporting me along the way, no matter what happens. Even though we might disagree sometimes, we always come together in the end. We enjoy spending time all together and since we don’t get to see each other that often, we cherish the moments we do have!

Once everyone was up, we headed downstairs and Keenan and Maddie played in his kitchen, while my husband and I prepped breakfast. We made scrambled eggs with a little mozzarella cheese and fruit (we also had lattes, of course!). Both Keenan and Maddie also wanted some cheerios, so they each had a small bowl, in addition to the eggs and fruit. After breakfast, we got dressed and headed outside to see Slinky and play in the sandbox. Maddie loves Slinky so much that she only wanted to be with her, following her around everywhere; it was too cute! Meanwhile, Keenan played in his sandbox the whole time!

Keenan and Maddie “cooking their own breakfast!” Keenan was wearing the hat that Maddie and Uncle E gave him, too!

For lunch, Keenan had a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich with cooked carrots, applesauce and a glass of milk. Maddie had a jelly sandwich (no peanut butter) with carrots and a glass of milk. For some reason, Fage Greek yogurt sounded good again, so I had a cup of it for my lunch with chia seeds, flax seed and a nectarine. It hit the spot!

After lunch, my mom came to get Maddie, so she can stay with her for the next few days. Keenan was sad to see Maddie go, but we are going to my parent’s house tomorrow, so the two of them can continue to play.

After Keenan gets up from his nap, we are heading to CrossFit (yesterday’s WOD was a good one: 10 push presses and 10 back squats of 65 lb for women, doing as many rounds as possible in 8 minutes, which I completed 6 rounds and 3 reps) and then home for dinner. On the menu is a grilled baby bok choy salad, with sauteed red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and chicken. Since we have had so many Italian/Mediterranean meals lately, I thought it would be good to switch things up and have something Asian inspired! I saw grilled baby bok choy in a Bon Appetit magazine a while ago, so I thought it would be fun to mix them with other veggies. We’ll see how it turns out! I’ll post a picture and the recipe tomorrow!

Question: What are you having for dinner tonight? What kinds of different vegetables have you grilled?

 

 
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