Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Friday Favorites + Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies! November 30, 2012

TGIF!  I’m SO glad it is Friday; it has been quite a week with being sick, still trying to get some good  training time in for next week’s competition, as well projects completed for the holidays! Though we have a busy day tomorrow, it will be nice to have some quality family time on Sunday. We are planning to get our Christmas tree this weekend, so Sunday’s agenda is decorating it and baking cookies! Also, I’m excited to start the Advent calendar and “Elf on the Shelf” with Keenan tomorrow!

Today has been a nice lazy day at home. My husband let me sleep in this morning to get some additional rest and boy, did it help! I definitely feel a lot better today. Even though I don’t like using nasal sprays, I gave in and used one last night and it worked wonders! I could breathe and finally get some sleep. I’m hoping with another good night’s rest, I will feel even better tomorrow.

Since it was raining this morning, I thought it was a perfect time to bake cookies, experimenting with almond flour and coconut oil. Keenan was eager to be my “baking assistant,” so he could taste everything, especially the chocolate chips! We had a fun time baking while listening to Christmas music. It was cute, he sat on his step stool and watched the cookies bake (I had the oven light on), the entire 8 minutes! Once the cookies were ready to eat, he was super excited to have one, and another and a half of another one! I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the cookies turned out. They are perfectly moist and flavorful. My husband actually said that they were probably some of the best cookies he has ever eaten…WOW!

These are so good, it is hard to stop eating them!

These are so good, it is hard to stop eating them!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies: (makes 2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

– 2 1/2 cups almond flour

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1 heaping scoop vanilla protein powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 2 tbsp flaxseed

– 1/4 cup Xylitol

– 1/2 cup coconut oil

– 2 eggs

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1/4 cup raw honey

– 1/2 – 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you want your cookies to be)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray nonstick spray on two cookie sheets

2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Mix wet ingredients together in a small bowl and gently mix into dry ingredients.

4. Add chocolate chips and combine.

5. Form dough into small balls, place onto prepared cookie sheets and press them down.

6. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly browned (but don’t over bake). Let cool and enjoy!

*Notes: These cookies don’t rise and spread out as regular chocolate chip cookies, so make sure to press them down, otherwise the cookies will stay in the shape of a ball.

So excited to finally eat a cookie!

So excited to finally eat a cookie!

Now, onto “Friday Favorites!” I love Fridays, because it is a great time to reflect back on the week and think about my favorite moments and things that I ate. I’ve been doing pretty well with living more in the present and cherishing each and every moment, instead of thinking about what I have to do next, but it is still a challenge. Friday Favorites is a nice reminder to slow down and appreciate the little things in my life!

Favorite Moments:

  • Keenan enjoying the wonderful taste of homemade whipped cream!

    Having a taste straight from the container (thanks to my husband)!

    Having a taste straight from the container (thanks to my husband)!

  • Cuddling with Keenan and his critters!

    Snuggling with his blanket and critters!

    Snuggling with his blanket and critters!

  • Baking cookies!

    My little "baking assistant!"

    My little “baking assistant!”

  • Enjoying some cuddle time with my husband while watching one of our favorite shows, “Parenthood.”

Favorite Eats:

  • Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake with turkey (Mexican style with black beans, spices, salsa and cheddar cheese)

    I made this last night and it was the best batch ever! Everyone liked the Mexican version better!

    I made this last night for dinner and it was the best batch ever. Everyone liked the Mexican version better!

  • Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

    Fresh out of the oven!

    Fresh out of the oven!

It’s time to work on some more Christmas projects and visit with my brother (he came in last night for a quick visit, since he has some work in the area). No CrossFit again for me today. I’m thinking rest is the best thing until I’m feeling 100%. I’m hoping to fit in a workout tomorrow or Sunday. Have a great afternoon!

Question: What were some of your favorite moments and eats from this week? Any fun holiday plans for the weekend?

REMINDER: There is still time to enter a chance to win a cute workout headband from Simple-Trends! Giveaway ends Monday, Dec. 3rd at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter.

 

Getting Ready for The Holidays and Thankful Thursday

With the last day of November being tomorrow, the countdown to the holidays is quickly approaching (or really, has already begun!). I felt the countdown starting as of last week, thinking about all of the things that I need to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, in fact, it is my favorite time of year, but I feel that they have snuck up all of a sudden. This year just went by way too fast! We are spending the holidays at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Montreal this year, thus leaving the week before Christmas, so I’m already feeling overwhelmed in getting everything done beforehand! We are doing a lot of homemade gifts, which is a lot of fun, but also takes a lot of time. Already, every weekend in December is booked, so it makes it challenging to work on things. There is only so much time in the day to do things with Keenan only napping for 2-3 hours. Anyhow, as my husband calls me, “a big stress puppy,” I just need to take a deep breath, make LOTS of to-do lists and start crossing them off! Doesn’t anyone else feel that way?

Fortunately, my husband is very supportive, so he has offered to help me with some of the gift ideas that we are doing, thus taking a load off of my shoulders. I don’t feel as stressed, but the stress is still there. I think a lot of it has to do with how I feel. My cold has gotten worse, in fact, my nose was so stuffed-up last night that I could hardly sleep. Everything has moved in to my sinuses and head, as well as feeling cold one minute and hot the next, so I’m drinking lots of fluids and taking plenty of vitamin c to hopefully get rid of this bug soon! Today was definitely all about laying low with no CrossFit, that’s for sure!

This is how our day started while I was making No Oat Oatmeal for breakfast. Keenan was having fun with an app all about different sounds!

Speaking of the holidays, I’m so excited that Keenan is of the age where he is starting to “get” Christmas. When he sat on Santa’s lap last weekend, he was so excited and no longer scared like last year! He says “hi” to our Santas and baby Jesuses in our nativity scenes (my mom bought him a toy one to play with) every morning. He is learning (and can pretty much sing them entirely) “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” with is so cute! Yesterday, as we were driving to the box, “Rudolph” came on the radio (we pretty much listen to Christmas songs in the car from now until the end of December) and he started singing along! Every time we pass by Christmas lights, he is in awe and it is so much fun to see him experience the magic of the holidays. It has brought back many wonderful holiday memories for my husband and me when we were kids. I just love it!

To continue fostering the magic of the holidays, we are starting some family traditions. Last year we were given an Advent calendar and we used it with Keenan, but he was still a tad young for it. As soon as we brought it out this year, he was super excited to “practice” opening all of the boxes. Starting on Saturday, I will place either a sticker, a very small toy or one of his favorite snacks in the first box for him to open in the morning. We will continue the tradition until Christmas!

Our Advent calendar!

In addition, I just bought the “Elf on the Shelf,” after hearing about it and seeing it on so many blogs. It is such a cute idea and a great story! If you aren’t familiar with it, the book is about an elf that comes to live with you from December 1st until Christmas. The elf is watching you at all times and taking notes for Santa, so it can be used as a great tool for fostering good behavior (something I’m looking forward to!). The idea is to put the elf in different parts of your house each day and have your children look for it when they wake up in the morning. I think Keenan is going to love this and I can’t wait to start on Saturday! We are going to read the story with him tomorrow night and then have him look for the elf when he wakes up. I’ll keep you posted on his reaction!

Such a fun tradition!

We accidentally got the “girl” elf, oh, well. I didn’t know there were different ones! Keenan won’t know the difference!

Since the holidays is now all about Keenan, my husband and I are thinking about starting our own tradition of having an “at home date night,” exchanging our gifts and watching a holiday movie a couple of days before Christmas. Dana from Mastering Mommy Brain and her husband do this tradition and I really like it! I mentioned it to my husband and I think we might do it a couple of days before we leave for Montreal.

Since it is Thursday, I also wanted to link-up with Jessie for her fun Thankful Thursday Link-up!

In a similar fashion to what Jessie wrote, I’m not going to make a list of all that I’m thankful for, as I have pretty much said most of it before. After talking about family traditions around the holidays, it has really made me think about the true meaning of Christmas. My mom gave Keenan two great books about the story of Christmas, one from Tommy DiPaola, “The Christmas Pageant.” We have been reading them almost every night and they have made me think about why we celebrate Christmas, not just for Santa Claus. Giving gifts to others is really a side note; it shouldn’t be the main event. The best gift of all is giving back to those in need and spending quality time with your family, truly appreciating all of the moments you have with them. The time you have with your family is time that you won’t get back. Even though families can sometimes be complicated (who has a family that’s perfect?), it is still important to spend quality time and show them that you love them. In addition, helping someone who is less fortunate than you can be the only and most special gift that person has ever received (the true gift of giving).

I’m thankful for Keenan opening my eyes again to the magic of the holidays and making me remember why it is such a special time.

Questions: What are you thankful for this time of year? What kinds of holiday traditions do you have? Any new ideas that you are trying this year? I would love ideas for more traditions!

REMINDER: There is still time to enter a chance to win a stylish and comfortable workout headband from Simple-Trends! Giveaway ends Monday, Dec. 3rd at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter.

 

What I Ate Wednesday and More November 29, 2012

Happy Hump-Day! Sorry this is so late; this is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down in front of my computer all day! It was a busy one, to say the least! Keenan woke up past 8:00 a.m. which was nice, but he also woke up at 3:00 a.m., calling frantically for my husband. I think he had a bad dream because he just wanted to be held and sung to when my husband went into his room. Fortunately, he went right back to sleep, but my husband and I had a hard time going back to sleep. Needless to say, we were tired this morning!

Today was cleaning day (not one of my favorite days, especially with a cold!), so after Keenan and I ate breakfast, I  did a little cleaning downstairs while he played (which included some cuddle time on the couch with his critters!) before we got ready to head to the box. I met a couple of my fellow athletes to do some skill work, back extensions on the glute ham developer, light deadlifts and box cleans. It was good to get some extra work in before the evening class.

Snuggling with his blanket and critters!

Tonight’s WOD was challenging: run 400 meters and 3 rounds of 15 pullups and 15 hand release pushups for 20 minutes, doing as many rounds as possible. The pullups were tough on my arm and the running is always a challenge. I’m slowly working on a faster pace. I was able to complete 2 rounds and 200 meters, not bad, but definitely not the best. After class, I helped coach the beginner’s class, which was fun, as always! It is fun to meet new people who have just joined and those who have been coming for a while and are continuing to get stronger!

Since it’s Wednesday, you know the drill! I’m linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

Peas and Crayons

Here are some of the things I ate the past few days:

Breakfasts:

  • My husband’s famous “cheesy eggs” (with feta, for a change)

    My husband’s scrambled eggs are some of the best I have ever eaten!

  • Pumpkin Pie Latte with my husband’s leftover homemade whipped cream (a nice compliment to my breakfasts!)

    So yummy; perfect for cold and rainy mornings!

Lunches:

  • Turkey wraps with spinach, tomato, avocado and pepperoncinis

    One of my new favorites!

  • Egg whites in a mug over a bed of spinach, tomato, avocado, pasta sauce and roasted pumpkin seeds

    I just can’t get enough of this!

Dinners:

  • Thai red curry stir-fry of baby bok choy, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and chicken

    A great meal for a cold night, thanks to my husband for making it!

Well, it is time for a nice hot shower and then bed! I’m exhausted! Have a good night!

Questions: What have you eaten the past few days? Are you still eating turkey leftovers? Have you tried any new foods or recipes lately?

REMINDER: There is still time to enter a chance to win a stylish and comfortable workout headband from Simple-Trends! Giveaway ends Monday, Dec. 3rd at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter.

 

Giving Back and Simple-Trends Headband Review and Giveaway!! November 27, 2012

Well, I definitely have a cold. My throat is not as sore as it was yesterday, but I definitely have a lot of post-nasal drip. When I woke up this morning, everything had moved into my head. Ugh…I just hate head colds, because I feel like one giant nose (like in those cold medicine commercials)! Fortunately, Keenan woke up late this morning, at 8:30, so I was able to sleep in a bit, which helped. My husband doesn’t seem to be as affected, so far, and Keenan seems to be okay. I’m hoping he doesn’t get it.

My husband was very sweet this morning and fixed us a nice breakfast of his famous “cheesy eggs” with a pear and a latte. It was nice to come downstairs and have breakfast all ready!

After breakfast, Keenan and I headed to our local retirement home for my MOMs Club service project. As part of my duties as the Vice President, I have to plan at least one service project for the year. Since we haven’t done any work with retirement homes, I thought it would be nice to coordinate some activities during the holidays with them, especially since many of the residents don’t have any family. Today, we did holiday arts and crafts: making cards, pictures and ornaments with the residents. We are going back in a couple of weeks to attend their holiday party and give a card and picture or ornament to each resident while singing Christmas songs. The residents were so happy to have us there today. Some of them enjoyed helping the kids color and glue, while others just enjoyed watching. They kept talking about how they were looking forward to having us come back for their holiday party, as well as starting a regular story time. In January, we are starting a monthly story time where the residents will read their favorite stories to the kids. Overall, it was great morning, both for the residents and for our kids. I look forward to going back, soon!

It feels so good to give back or help those in need, which is what the holidays are all about (or should be). It shouldn’t be so much about shopping and giving gifts to friends and family members; the real gift of giving should be volunteering your time (or money, if you have it) to those who are less fortunate (or don’t have anyone in their lives, like the residents of the retirement home we visited today). Maybe for every gift you buy for someone, you donate money to your favorite charity or donate your time this holiday season–just a thought.

On another note, I’m excited to host a giveaway, just in time for the holidays!

Nicole at Simple-Trends kindly sent me a couple of headbands, one to try and one to give away. They are just what their name implies, simple, but comfortable (and versatile) headbands that you can wear for working out, when out-and-about, or simply spending the day at home. You can wear their bands wide, or tuck them in to be thin. You can also wear them with your hair up or down. All of Simple-Trends headbands are handmade in the U.S. and come in a variety of prints.

I wore my band to CrossFit last week and I have to say, I loved the style and fit (so comfortable, I practically forgot it was on my head!), but as soon as I started my WOD, it slid right off. The band doesn’t have any material underneath to make it stay on your head, so it is definitely a band to wear for low-intensity activities, only, such as yoga, pilates or walking. I love the style and how it feels on my head, so I will definitely wear it out and about, but I just can’t wear it for CrossFit. If you are one who does yoga and pilates, Simple-Trends is the band for you, or if you just want a fun and stylish band to wear out-and-about, I highly recommend them!

Since Nicole was so generous and sent me an extra headband to give away, see below on how to win it!

To enter the giveaway, please follow the steps below:

1. Leave a comment on this post stating how you would wear your headband.

(Optional) Earn an extra entry by:

1. Like Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy’s Facebook page

2. Follow Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy on Twitter: @FitNWellMommy

3. Follow Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy by email

4. Post on YOUR Facebook page, or Tweet, “I want to win a headband from Simple-Trends and Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy!”

*Make sure to leave a second comment on this post with your Facebook post, Tweet, like or following, in order for your extra entry/entries to be counted!

The giveaway ends Monday, December 3rd at 8 p.m. PST!! Good luck!

Well, it is time to get ready for CrossFit and finish preparing dinner (crock pot pork and apples with roasted broccoli) so it is done when we get home. My piriformis and rhomboids feel pretty good today, but I’m still not going to go 100%, to make sure I continue to feel better (in addition, my energy is low due to my cold). Enjoy the rest of your afternoon!

 

Thanksgiving Weekend + New Pumpkin Recipe!

I hope everyone had a great holiday and a relaxing long weekend! Despite the septic incident and part of the turkey catching on fire while we scrambled to keep sewage where it belonged, we had a nice Thanksgiving. All of our food was delicious (including the turkey which turned out nice and juicy!).

Our Thanksgiving table!

Since we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, we stayed until Saturday, to spend some time with my parents. Keenan enjoyed playing with Nonna (either inside or outside and “helping” Avo and my husband fix the septic system).

Having fun riding cars with the “baby” and Nonna!

On Friday night, my husband and I met some friends for drinks for a fun double-date! It was nice to have a night out while my parents babysat. On Saturday, we took Keenan to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops, an awesome sporting goods/outdoor shop near my parents’ house. He was SO excited and actually smiled this time (last year he cried!).  In addition to taking a picture with Santa, there are so many things to look at and do at Bass Pro Shops; it is huge! They have a big aquarium of fish, along with lots of different animals. Of course, Keenan enjoyed sitting on the toy four-wheeler, playing all of the kid games and sitting on the “real” four wheelers and buggies, outside. It was also the first time my husband had been there, so being an “outdoorsy guy,” he was like a kid in a candy store!

Keenan was so excited to sit on the toy four-wheeler!

Coloring at the arts and crafts area at Bass Pro Shops (they really do have everything!).

Enjoying a picture on the buggy!

On Sunday, Keenan helped me put all of our Thanksgiving decorations away and decorate for Christmas, as well as lending a hand to my husband while he put the lights up, outside. But, in the midst of decorating, Keenan fell ill and threw up–twice! We ate Pumpkin Almond Flour Muffins that were leftover in the freezer, but something didn’t sit right in Keenan’s tummy. When I made the muffins the first time a couple of months ago, he also threw up, but I had given him a taste of raw walnut butter, so I thought it was attributed to the butter. Needless to say, I’m not sure what happened yesterday, because my husband and I were fine. We ate the last of those muffins, so I won’t be making them again (or at least giving them to Keenan!). But, after Keenan was done puking, he ate a good lunch (saltine crackers and applesauce), napped well and was back to his usual self by the evening. Since I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store, we used what was in our cupboard and made a delicious pumpkin white bean soup for dinner. Keenan devoured his soup, so I knew he was feeling better!

Speaking of, here is the recipe for my pumpkin soup!

Such a nice (and easy) Fall soup!

Rustic Pumpkin and White Bean Soup: (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

– 32 oz. can of pumpkin puree

– 1 can of cannelloni beans

– 1 yellow onion (diced)

– 5-6 oz. pre-cooked chicken (chopped)

– 1 cup chicken broth

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning

– 2 cloves garlic (minced)

– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

– 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin

– salt and pepper, to taste

– tiny splash, each, of Worcestershire and soy sauces

– 1/4 C spiced, roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, salter, pepper, herbs and spices in olive oil.

2.Meanwhile, drain and rinse can of beans.

3. Once onions are translucent and herbs and spices smell wonderful, add beans, pumpkin, and chicken broth to pot and cook for 5-20 minutes (you can whip this together, or let the flavors meld).

4. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Add sauces. Add more chicken stock if too thick for you. Taste, and add more seasoning if needed.

5. Divide amongst 3 soup bowls and place chopped chicken and pumpkin seeds on top. Enjoy!

*Notes: I added chicken for more protein since this was a one-pot meal for us, but you can serve this without chicken as a starter for a dinner party or as a side. Instead of canned pumpkin, you could use a fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, diced and roasted. Add roasted pumpkin or squash to pot and blend as directed.

Today, my husband and I both woke up with scratchy throats and post nasal drip, so I was dragging all day. My mom was getting over a cold last week, so I’m hoping we didn’t get what she had (keeping my fingers crossed!). Though, my husband made each of us a mini Cafe Bon (minus the Amarula and half the chocolate) since we had some of his whipped cream left over. It was good!

My new favorite holiday beverage!

As my husband was adding the whipped cream to our Cafe Bon, Keenan wanted a taste, so as you can see from the pictures, my husband kindly gave him some!

Having a taste straight from the container with his critters (thanks to my husband)!

A mouth full…

So good!

Anyhow, Keenan and I didn’t do too much, except for playing with legos, having some music and piano time. We also managed to go to the grocery store to stock up for the week. After Keenan woke up from his nap, we went to CrossFit and did a short but challenging WOD of max box jumps and 5 snatches every minute on the minute. It felt good to have a workout, especially since I didn’t do much of anything for the past 4 days, due to straining my piriformis and rhomboids (which are still a little sore). I did okay today, but my plan is to train conservative this week (not going to heavy), until everything feels better. My first competition is on Dec. 8th, so I have less than two weeks to prepare. We’ll see how this week goes…

Well, it is time to finally take a shower and work on some Christmas gifts before heading to bed to fight off whatever bug my body seems to be fighting. Have a good night!

Question: How was your Thanksgiving and long weekend? What was your favorite thing that you did or ate over the weekend?

 

Happy Thanksgiving! November 22, 2012

Filed under: Coffee,Family,Food — Fit 'n' Well Mommy @ 10:25 pm
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Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day with their loved ones and eating “yummy food” (as Keenan likes to say!). We started our day off on a yummy note with Cafe Bon (thanks to my husband) and pumpkin bread pudding (recipe coming soon!) for breakfast. Keenan was thrilled to have his own little dish of whipped cream to eat (a VERY special treat!). Also, the day started off even better because Keenan slept in until 7:30 a.m.!! He never sleeps in at my parents, so we were all excited! My husband downloaded some “white noise” on his phone and we kept it on all night in his room, as well as talking to Keenan about only waking up when it is light outside. I’m hoping the noise did the trick and he will sleep in the rest of the weekend (keeping my fingers crossed!).

Cafe Bon! (Sorry for the poor quality picture, I only had my phone with me).

SO good, especially with my husband’s whipped cream! (Another poor picture.)

We also enjoyed some thick-cut bacon that my mom prepared (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!). It was the perfect holiday breakfast and morning!

Shortly after breakfast, my mom discovered that their toilets were backing-up, thus the septic system was clogged! Awe…nothing like country living! Luckily, my parents’ were able to get a hold of someone to come out and unclog it (which they are working on as I write this). It just makes for a poopy day (no pun intended!). Fortunately, we aren’t eating our turkey dinner until 5:00 p.m., so we have a little bit of time to de-clog everything, clean the bathrooms and take showers (since we can’t use the bathrooms until everything is fixed). Most of our meal is already prepped, so there isn’t much that we need to do, aside from my husband’s risotto and baking my mom’s famous broccoli casserole.

On the menu for our turkey dinner is: turkey (cooked in the barbecue), broccoli casserole, butternut squash risotto, homemade cranberry sauce, artichoke torta, salad and pumpkin beer bread. For dessert, my mom made an apple crisp and a pumpkin pie. I can’t wait to try everything! I’ll be sure to take pictures and post about our dinner in the next few days.

Since it is Thursday and Thanksgiving, I thought I would link-up with Jessie at Jessie Loves to Run for her Thankful Thursday link-up.

Today, I am thankful for:

1. My Parents: They do so much for all of us and are always very supportive. They are so generous and give so much to everyone. I love you, Mom and Dad!

2. My Brothers: Though, they both can’t be here with us today (my middle brother lives in Canada) and my oldest brother, Chris, is watching from above. We know you are both with us in spirit. I’m thankful for all of the great memories we have together. We miss you Chris and I can’t wait to visit my middle brother, niece and sister-in-law for Christmas!

3. My husband: I am so thankful to be able to share my life with my best friend. He is a great father, cook and “handyman.” He makes me laugh everyday, and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else!

4. Keenan: He brings a smile to my face and melts my heart everyday. He definitely takes on his daddy’s humor because just like my husband, he makes me laugh all the time!

Enjoying some play time this morning! (Sorry for yet another poor quality picture!).

Well, it is time to start cleaning and getting ready for our dinner! Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

Questions: What are you thankful for? What is on the menu for your turkey dinner?

 

What I Ate Wednesday + New Crock Pot Recipe!

Happy Hump Day! I still can’t believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Since we are barely settling into fall weather here in California, it doesn’t feel like the start of the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for all of the yummy goodies and spending time with family, but it just crept up so fast. Does anyone else feel that way?

Keenan is SO excited to see Nonna and Avo (and eat yummy food!) for Thanksgiving!

In addition, I wish I felt a little better. My eyes are slowly clearing up, but I still have to wear glasses instead of contacts, in addition to not wearing eye makeup. By the way, I don’t know how people workout and wear glasses! The past two days my glasses have slid down my nose due to sweat and have been uncomfortable while wearing a Sweaty Band! I guess you get used to it, but I just can’t stand having anything on or around my face while working out! Also, while I was doing heavy deadlifts in our partner WOD last night, I strained my piriformis and back, again (left side of glute/lower back). The weight was heavy, and I was rushing to get done as fast as possible and I irritated it again. Ugh! So, the next four days is full of rest, ice and icy hot for me! I’m hoping to feel better by Monday, especially since I have two weeks left until my competition. My plan of attack once I feel better is working on good technique/form at lighter weights to stay healthy, before increasing the amount of weight. But, I really shouldn’t complain, as my eyes and piriformis are really minor things. Overall, I am thankful for having good health, the ability to move, and such a supportive and loving family. No complaining anymore!

Since it is Wednesday, you know the drill; it is time to link up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

Peas and Crayons

Here is a roundup of what I ate the past few days:

Breakfasts:

  • No Oat Oatmealwith spinach and topped with strawberries and almond butter

    Becoming my new favorite and “usual” breakfast!

  • My “usual” (which isn’t much of a usual anymore, since I mainly eat No Oat Oatmeal for breakfast now)

    Not as satisfying as it used to be. I feel so much better when I start my day off with eggs or egg whites now!

Lunches:

  • Egg whites in a mug over a bed of spinach, tomato and avocado topped with pasta sauce and roasted pumpkin  seeds (I have been craving this for lunch almost everyday; I just can’t get enough!)

    I just love having this for lunch!

  • Salad with egg whites in a mug, cherry tomatoes, avocado, raw sprouted pumpkin seeds and feta cheese with balsamic vinegar and olive oil

    So satisfying!

  • Turkey roll-ups stuffed with spinach, avocado and pepperoncinis (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture!)

Post-Workout Snack:

  • Arbonne Chocolate protein shake (review coming soon!)

    Keenan loved having some of my protein shake, as you can see from his mustache!

Dinners:

  • Roasted broccoli with cherry tomatoes, red onion and roasted pine nuts drizzled with balsamic vinegar and grilled country style boneless pork ribs

    One of my favorite dinners!

  • Crock Pot Italian Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup (new recipe creation below!)

    Such a hearty and simple one-pot meal!

Crock Pot Italian Sausage, Kale and White bean Soup (serves 3-4):

Ingredients:

– 32 oz. chicken broth (low sodium)

– 2 bunches kale washed and chopped

– 1 onion (large dice)

– 1 can chopped tomatoes

– 1 can white cannelloni beans (low sodium)

– 3 pre-cooked Italian sausages (sliced and quartered)

– 1 tsp Italian seasoning

– 1 clove of garlic (minced)

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir, making sure Kale is thoroughly mixed in.

2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

3. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, if desired. Enjoy!

It is time to load up the car so we are ready to go to my parents’ house once Keenan wakes up from his nap. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Questions: What are you looking forward to the most, tomorrow? Are there any particular dishes or desserts that you can’t wait to eat? I can’t wait to eat my husband’s famous butternut squash risotto and my mom’s homemade pies!

 

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips + New Pumpkin Recipe! November 20, 2012

Wow, Thanksgiving is only two days away! I can’t wait! Tonight, I’m making Artichoke Torta (our family’s tradition) and getting everything packed to head to my parents’ house tomorrow. Keenan is so excited to go to my parents’ house that he keeps saying, “Go to Nonna and Avo’s house now!” I keep reminding him that we are going tomorrow and not today. He definitely has Thanksgiving down because when I ask him why we are going to Nonna and Avo’s house, he says “Thanksgiving and eat yummy food!” It is too cute!

Speaking of Thanksgiving and all of the delicious food that will be around, it is a great time to re-evaluate your eating habits during the holiday season, check-in on your goals, and have a plan in place to not get off-track. For myself, I look forward to eating all of the tasty goodies that I only get once a year. I allow myself to splurge, having a little bit of everything (though not going overboard). I always try to get some sort of exercise in on Thanksgiving or really push myself the day before, as well as working out the day after. I say “try” because it doesn’t always work out the way I plan, so I just aim to do my best. We usually do something fun as a family the day after Thanksgiving, so I might not have a chance to work out. Either way, I try not to be hard on myself and just plan to get back on track the following day (by then, my body is usually craving my normal routine!).

In preparation for the holiday season, here are a few healthy eating tips that I try to follow:

  • Don’t starve yourself: With a big meal ahead, you might be tempted to eat as little as possible (or nothing) during the day, to save your calories. By not eating, your metabolism actually slow down. In addition, you might feel cranky, irritable and even tired, if your body isn’t consuming its regular calories as it is used to. Instead, eat as you normally do during the day, but a little lighter, saving room for consuming extra calories at your holiday feast.
  • Portions: Since most of the foods at your holiday feast are probably ones you only get once a year, allow yourself a small handful size portion of everything and don’t go back for seconds. By having a taste of everything, you won’t feel guilty or too full! Even if you think you are still hungry, save yourself for a small slice of pie or other dessert. I’m sure that after having dessert your stomach will feel satisfied! We tend to eat with our eyes instead of our stomachs, so having a small portion of everything will be enough.
  • Leftovers: I love Thanksgiving leftovers because you can do so much with them! When you think you need a second helping of your grandma’s casserole or mashed potatoes, think about saving it for the next day. This way, you get to enjoy your “once a year goodies” again the next day (without stuffing yourself the day of your feast). Change up the form, like turning mashed potatoes into potato pancakes with some turkey and cranberries. Or, chop leftover turkey into small pieces and add to a salad for lunch the next day.
  • Exercise: Keep moving! Plan your exercise accordingly. If you don’t have time to fit in a workout on the holiday or the day after, do as much as you can on the days leading up to it. I try to workout extra hard on the few days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as plan some time on the days after to workout (to make up for all of the calories I consumed!). If it means involving your family in your exercise, do it (what a great way to model healthy behavior!)! Go for a jog with your little one in the BOB stroller, a long family walk, ice skating, sledding or snow skiing! Most importantly, stay as active as you can during the holiday season, making sure to not miss a workout no matter how many things you have to do. The more you move, the more you will be able to stay fit throughout the holiday season and not gain those extra pounds!
  • Maintain: If you have been working on weight or body fat loss the past few months, change your focus to just maintaining during the holidays. With all of the tempting goodies, it is hard to eat healthy 100% of the time. Take off some of the pressure and allow yourself to taste everything (a small handful size portion), without depriving yourself. But, keep things in check so you don’t go overboard. Be mindful of how your clothes fit and how you feel to make sure you don’t get completely off-track.
  • Being Mindful: Take the time to truly savor each bite of the scrumptious food you will be eating. Listen to your body and know when you are full. Enjoy and cherish the time you are spending with your loved ones, appreciating each and every moment. Sometimes we get in “rush mode” (as I like to call it), due to the craziness of life and we forget to slow down during the holidays, taking the time to appreciate the important things in our life like family.
  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up: If all else fails and you indulge in a little too much pumpkin pie, egg nog, gingerbread or stuffing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back on track the next day with your healthy eating and exercising. One day isn’t going to destroy all that you have worked hard for!

Well, today was another “semi-lazy” day at home. We were going to meet some friends at the park, but Keenan woke up late (8:05 a.m.!) and after eating breakfast, preparing tonight’s dinner (another new recipe, coming soon!), cleaning out Keenan’s closet and battling an eye infection (…from trying a new eyeliner on Sunday. Ugh, my eyes are just too sensitive!), we both were not motivated to leave the house. Instead, we had some good play-time of making soup in his kitchen, racing his cars, dancing and riding his trike. By the time Keenan went down for his nap, he was pretty tired! It was a great morning!

Lining up his cars and trucks for a race!

After Keenan went down for his nap, I headed to the box to do some extra work of kettlebell swings, snatches, GHD (glute hamstring developer), double unders and bench presses. Once he wakes up from his nap, we’ll head to the box to do today’s WOD of burpee box jumps, deadlifts and double unders (which I’m not looking forward to!).

Before I forget, here is my new recipe for pumpkin muffins. After searching the internet for new pumpkin ideas, I came across a couple of recipes for pumpkin pie muffins, so I experimented and came up with my Paleo-friendly ones!

Healthy pumpkin goodness!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Muffins (makes 8 muffins):

Ingredients:
Muffins:
– 2 cups almond flour
– 1 tbsp baking powder
–  1/2 cup xylitol
– 1 tsp raw honey
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– pinch of salt
1 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup any milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
Filling:
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp xylitol
2 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp coconut oil
– pinch of salt
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, mix all of the dry ingredients of the muffins together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate (small) bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
5. Prep a muffin tin by spraying it with cooking spray.
6. Mix all ingredients of the filling in a small bowl.
7. Add a scoop of the muffin batter into each muffin tin (leaving enough to cover the filling).
8. Next, add a scoop of the filling on top of the muffin batter, followed by another scoop of the batter (so the filling is in the middle).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Enjoy!
*Notes: If you don’t have Xylitol (or don’t want to use it), you can sub it for more raw honey!
Questions: How do you stay on track with your healthy eating and exercise routine during the holidays? Do you have any tips that you follow?
 

Weekend Recap + Two New Recipes! November 19, 2012

Happy Holiday week! I hope you had a restful weekend! We had good weekend, but definitely a busy one (not enough rest!).

After coaching the weekend CrossFit class on Saturday (which went great!), we ran a few errands before heading home for Keenan’s nap.

Being silly in the shopping cart at REI!

That night, my husband and I had our date night: dinner at a fairly new restaurant in downtown Sacramento called, Trios and then we saw the show, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” It is a musical about dating, falling in love, marriage and having kids, as well as how men and women interact with each other. It was so funny and so relevant to my husband and me! I highly recommend seeing it!

On Sunday, we ran more errands, such as going to Costco (such a bad idea the weekend before Thanksgiving!) and even visited our local animal shelter. We are thinking of adopting a dog. My husband and I grew-up with dogs and since we got married seven years ago, we have wanted to get one, but never had the space. We still don’t have the most ideal space (our back yard is tiny!), but Keenan loves dogs (especially my parents’ dogs), so we are thinking of taking the plunge and getting one. We are looking for a small/medium size dog that is low-key, cat-friendly, loves to go on walks or jogs, but is okay with a smaller space.  There are a couple of dogs that we are considering, in fact, we will be meeting one tomorrow! So, we’ll see… My husband and I still have a lot to discuss, especially since we love to travel and get away on the weekends. Having a dog will definitely change our lifestyle.

Before I forget, on Friday night, we had our “at home date night,” and made a yummy roasted cauliflower arugula salad that I want to share. We had a great evening (probably one of our best dates!) catching-up and just talking about life and our future. We talked so much, that we only watched one of our shows, “Parenthood,” that had us both in tears! It is getting SO good!

Anyhow, here is the recipe:

Such a satisfying salad and perfect with a glass of red wine!

Roasted Cauliflower Arugula Salad (serves 2):

Ingredients:

-1 large head (or 2 small heads) of cauliflower (chopped)

– 1 bag of arugula

– 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon (diced and cooked)

– 4 tbsp roasted pine nuts

– 1/4 cup of Gruyere cheese (shredded + extra for a garnish on top)

– 3 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tbsp champagne vinegar

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 1/2 tsp brown mustard

– 1/2 tsp honey

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil on top, as well as a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Combine, so all of the cauliflower is thoroughly coated. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees (until golden brown).

2. Add arugula to a large bowl, along with pine nuts, cheese and bacon.

3. Mix the rest of the olive oil, vinegars, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

4. Add cauliflower to salad and pour dressing on top.

5. Toss and divide amongst two plates. Shave a couple of pieces of cheese and place on top of each salad for a garnish. Enjoy!

*Notes: We added some chopped roasted walnuts for extra protein. You can also add some roasted or grilled chicken.

Last night, after Keenan went to bed, I baked an apple for dessert that my husband and I shared. It was my first time baking one and it was delicious! It is such an easy and healthy dessert for a cold fall or winter night! Here is the recipe:

So good, especially with vanilla ice cream!

Baked Apple: (serves 2)

Ingredients:

– 1 large apple (any kind is fine)

– 1 tsp brown sugar

– 1/8 cup of cranberries

– 1/8 cup chopped walnuts

– 1/2 tsp butter

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

2. Wash and core apple (making a deep hole in the center of the apple without cutting it all the way through).

3. Mix sugar, cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

4. Add sugar mixture to the center of the apple. Top with butter and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until apple is soft and butter is browned.

5. Cut apple in half, divide amongst two dishes and top with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Before baking the apple.

Since we had such a busy weekend, Keenan and I had a lazy morning making pumpkin muffins (a new recipe coming soon!), watching “Sesame Street,” playing in his sandbox and cuddling with Slinky. It was the perfect morning!

Don’t you just love the PJ’s with his”Elmo” shoes?!

Hello!

Well, it is time to get ready for CrossFit. Today’s WOD is a partner one, so it should be fun! On the menu for tonight is one of our favorites: roasted broccoli with cherry tomatoes and a red onion, along with grilled country style boneless pork ribs!

Questions: Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What is your Thanksgiving menu? We are having turkey (of course), pumpkin sage risotto, my mom’s famous broccoli casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, artichoke torta (family tradition!), a green salad and my mom’s homemade beer bread. As Keenan said, “we will be eating a lot of yummy food!”

 

Friday Favorites! November 16, 2012

TGIF!! I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend, especially since it is suppose to me cold and rainy here in Sacramento! Even though we have errands to run and things to get done around the house, it will be nice to have an excuse to cuddle up on the couch with a warm cup of hot chocolate. It is also crazy (and exciting) that Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Is it just me, or has this year flown by?

I’m also looking forward to a date night tomorrow night, thanks to an anniversary gift from my parents. We are going to dinner and then seeing the show, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. It should be a fun night! Tonight, we are having an “at home date night,” making a roasted cauliflower salad with Gruyere cheese, bacon, roasted pine nuts and arugula, along with a bottle of wine that we bought last weekend after Keenan goes to bed. We have a lot of shows to catch-up on, so I think we will be having a TV marathon after dinner!

Before I talk about my “Friday Favorites” for this week, I want to tell you how my coaching went last night. I coached the CrossFit beginner’s class again and it was SO much better than last week! There were only 8 people, so that made a huge difference, but overall, I felt more confident and more of myself. I was able to loosen-up, be louder, make people laugh and remember everyone’s names from last week. I had a blast coaching and I can’t wait to do it again! Speaking of, my coach asked me to coach the weekend class tomorrow morning, since his wife is in a competition all day in the bay area. It should be fun, and another great opportunity to practice my coaching!

Now, onto “Friday Favorites!” If you missed my post from a few weeks ago, I decided to start a new theme for my Friday’s posts. Every Friday, I plan to reflect back on my favorite moments and eats from the past week, as part of my new focus of living more in the present and cherishing each and every moment.

Favorite Moments:

  • Doing arts and crafts with Keenan yesterday: making a turkey using his hand cut-outs and hand prints!
  • Having our “morning family snuggle time” in our bed reading stories with Keenan.
  • Having breakfast with my favorite silly guy!
  • Coaching the CrossFit beginner’s class last night.

Favorite Eats:

  • Egg whites in a Mug over a bed of spinach with avocado, tomato, roasted pumpkin seeds and salsa or pasta sauce (another thing I just can’t stop eating!).

Have a great afternoon and weekend!

Questions: What were your favorite moments and eats from this week? Any fun plans for the weekend? Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

 

 
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