Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Around the Plate 12 Day Healthy Holiday Challenge and a New Slow-Cooker Recipe! December 11, 2012

Peanut decided to find a comfy spot on the stairwell this morning! Keenan immediately found her as we were walking down the stairs. He usually holds onto the rail as he walks down the stairs and when he saw Peanut, he immediately took his hand off, to make sure he wouldn’t touch her! It was too funny!

Happily siting on the stairwell!

Happily siting on the stairwell!

Before I share my new slow-cooker recipe, I’m excited to be featured as a guest blogger on Around the Plate for their 12 Day Healthy Holiday Challenge series. Around the plate is a wonderful online community that brings together nutrition experts and interested individuals to improve the way the world eats one plat at a time. I had the privilege to write a post for Day 7 of their challenge: Holiday Activities to Keep You Moving and Burning Calories. It was a fun article to write, since I love doing all of the various holiday activities that usually aren’t around the rest of the year. As an added bonus, most of the activities provide great exercise! Please take a moment to check out my post and share it with your friends and family members! Thanks!!

12 Day Healthy Holiday Challenge

Now, on to my new slow-cooker recipe that I made for tonight’s dinner! It smells SO good; I can’t wait to eat it!

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops: (serves 2)

Ingredients:

– 2 frozen pork chops

– 1/4 low sodium soy sauce

– 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

– 1/2 cup ketchup

– 2 tsp honey

– 2 small cloves garlic (minced)

– 1/2 tsp pepper

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

– 1/2 tsp garlic no-salt seasoning

– 1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together, except for pork chops.

2. Place pork chops in your crock pot and pour sauce on top, making sure to completely cover the pork.

3. Cook on high for 4 hours (if you use thawed pork, change as you need). Enjoy!

*Notes: I updated the recipe with 1/4 cup chicken broth and cooking for only 4 hours, because our pork chops were a little too dry, but the flavor was excellent!

Smells SO good!

Should be yummy!

This week is busy (to say the least!) in getting things done before we leave for Montreal next week to spend the holidays with my brother and his family, so I’m keeping today’s post short and sweet to finish up some projects. Have a great rest of your afternoon!

Questions: What holiday activities do you enjoy doing? What is your favorite slow-cooker recipe? I love looking at Christmas lights, going to Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas and of course, snow skiing and tubing (though, those can be done at other times during the year!).

REMINDER: There is still time to win a box of the BEST popcorn EVER!! Angie’s Popcorn giveaway ends tonight at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter!

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Competition and Weekend Recap + Coconut Flour Pancakes!

Sorry that this post is so late; my usual afternoon blogging time got cut short due to finishing up some odds and ends around the house and Keenan waking up early. Lately, if Keenan isn’t in bed for his nap by 1:30 (at the latest), he has trouble going to sleep, taking between 30-40 minutes to finally fall asleep. In addition, if he falls asleep later (like he did today), he tends to get up at his usual time between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., no matter how much or little sleep he got. I can’t figure it out!

Anyhow, look where Peanut was this morning! Keenan wasn’t so happy that she was playing with his tractor and car!

Enjoying a ride on Keenan's tractor, much to his dislike!

Enjoying a ride on Keenan’s tractor, much to his dislike!

This weekend, she was also found hanging onto one of the Wise Men in our nativity scene. Keenan was glad to see her out of his toys!

Having fun with the Wise Men!

Having fun with the Wise Men!

Well, onto my competition…I had a lot of fun and I’m so glad that I did it. I am much relieved, but also proud that I was able to do it and in the Rx (advanced) division. It was tough and after the first WOD of heavy deadlifts, my back tightened up (due to losing my form, something I must work on in order to stay injury-free), so I had to really push myself the rest of the day. I made it through all three of the WODs and accomplished my goal of not coming in last! I placed 20th out of 24 girls in my division, not excellent or great, but not bad for my first time, especially in the Rx division. I learned a lot and saw so many strong women pushing themselves to be the best that they can be. It inspired me to push myself even further, to work harder, be stronger, be faster and never stop trying to be the best that I can be. Some think I am crazy for doing two competitions in a row, but I am really looking forward to participating in this coming Saturday’s team competition (hopefully, I’m fully recovered and not as sore by then!) and pushing myself even harder than I did last weekend. After the holidays, I look forward to signing up for another competition or two, participating in the CrossFit Open and most importantly, working on my weaknesses to become a better CrossFitter overall.

Oh, how I dislike thrusters!

Toes-to-bar!

Toes-to-bar!

After the competition, we didn’t do anything exciting, except make a slow drive home in hopes Keenan would take his nap, but of course, he didn’t! Since he stayed awake, we made a stop at Costco since we were out of so many things. That night after we put Keenan to bed, we enjoyed our wonderful truffle brie cheese with some wine, followed by a yummy one-pot meal of sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon, onions and roasted pine nuts, thanks to my husband! It was delish and perfectly satisfying after competing!

So good!

So good!

Yesterday, I was exhausted, not to mention sore, so we enjoyed a relaxing day at home, starting with Coconut Flour Pancakes (recipe below)! We looked up a few different recipes and then came up with our own, which was really good, though a tad dry. I’m not sure if it is just the  texture of the coconut flour, or if we need to experiment with adding more liquid (though the recipe has A LOT of liquid!).

Perfect Sunday breakfast!

Perfect Sunday breakfast!

Later that day, I made a huge batch of pasta sauce that my husband canned (he stayed up until 3:30 am!) for Christmas gifts and to keep us stocked all year long. He is making homemade pasta later this week to go with our sauce. In addition, I also made some candied walnuts, which will be for gifts, too!

Lots and lots of sauce!

Lots and lots of sauce!

Lots and lots of jars of pasta sauce!

Lots and lots of jars of pasta sauce!

Last night, we made some hot chocolate and took a nice walk around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Keenan was mesmerized with all of the lights and LOVED his hot chocolate! He pretty much sucked down his drink before we left the house!  He’s definitely like his father, when it comes to chocolate. After he was done, he kept asking for more! It was fun to see Keenan’s reaction to all of the lights and sounds (some of the homes had Christmas music playing with their displays); his eyes were so big, taking everything in! After we were done and walking home, he kept saying, “more lights please!” It was so cute! We are going to drive to the Fab 40’s later this week to walk through that neighborhood, since they are known for their incredible light displays. I can’t wait for Keenan to see them! The holidays are truly a magical time, especially seeing it through your child’s eyes.

Today was another lazy day at home. Keenan and I enjoyed some piano time playing Christmas songs, and doing some arts and crafts, making Santa and Frosty using cotton balls. He colored Frosty’s hat and “helped” to glue the cotton balls on by getting glue everywhere and cotton stuck to all of his fingers! He kept wanting me to wipe his hands clean only to get them dirty with glue and cotton balls again!

A fun (but messy) project!

A fun (but messy) project!

Coconut Flour Pancakes: (makes about 10 large pancakes)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup coconut flour

– 8 eggs

– 1 1/2 cups (+ possibly 1/2 cup, more) milk or liquid of your choice

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 2 tbsp melted coconut oil

– 1/4 tsp cinnamon

– 2 tbsp raw honey

– 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients, except for baking soda, together in a medium size bowl. Mix wet ingredients, except for vinegar, and add to dry ingredients. Let sit for a few minutes.

2. After batter has hydrated, add just enough extra liquid to make a batter that’s too thick to spread by itself. Add in baking soda and vinegar and mix just until incorporated.

3. Using an ice cream scoop, plop batter onto a greased or oiled skillet, spread out batter, and cook for a few minutes per side (until browned on both sides of pancake).

4. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

*Notes: For the milk, we used some leftover coconut milk, and regular milk. My husband said that he made the batter too thin, and a thicker batter will flip much easier, and not break so easily. He added 2 extra ounces of liquid.

Well, it is late and time for a hot shower (since I’m still in my sweaty workout clothes from CrossFit tonight) and bed. Have a good night!

Questions: What kinds of holiday activities have you done or have planned? What was the highlight of your weekend? How do you like your hot chocolate? I love adding a little Frangelico or Amarula to mine, along with a couple of marshmallows!

REMINDER: There is still time to win a box of the BEST popcorn EVER!! Angie’s Popcorn giveaway ends tomorrow, December 11th at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter!

 

What I Ate Wednesday + Coconut Whipped Cream and A New Slow-Cooker Recipe! December 5, 2012

Peanut got into Keenan’s legos this morning! Again, Keenan wasn’t pleased with her playing with his legos and immediately asked me to put them away, since he couldn’t reach them (she was sitting on the ledge of our china hutch)!

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On another note, I can’t believe it is already Wednesday! This week is flying by (which is a good thing, because I can’t wait to get my CrossFit competition over with!). I’m excited for the competition, but already nervous…UGH! Since it is Wednesday, I am linking up with Jenn again at Peas and Crayons for her fun What I Ate Wednesday link-up!

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

Before I talk about my eats from the past couple of days, I want to tell you about a new recipe experiment that my husband and I tried this morning: coconut whipped cream! I have been seeing more recipes and uses for coconut whipped cream on other blogs, so I thought I would give it a try, especially since coconut is loaded with healthy fats and is SO good for you, compared to regular cream. We made it to add to our coffee this morning, which I have to say was REALLY good! We used a can of coconut milk (all natural, no additives in it), Xylitol and vanilla. We whipped everything in the mixer until we had some resemblance of stiff peaks, but after mixing everything for several minutes, it didn’t have the consistency we were hoping for (what you see on the internet). Don’t get me wrong, it was still thick and lofty and had a great flavor when added to my coffee. The only thing I can think of as to why it didn’t form stiff peaks was there were no additives, thus no emulsifiers in the coconut milk. I’m going to get a can of regular coconut milk with additives to see if it makes a difference. Either way, the cream was still tasty! Here is the recipe, if you are interested!

So creamy and rich!

Coconut Whipped Cream:

Ingredients:

– Solidified fat of 1 can of coconut milk (refrigerated for 24 hours)

– 3 tbsp Xylitol

– 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Open can and scoop out all of the fat at the top (save the liquid for Asian inspired dishes such as curries or even add to smoothies) and place into mixer bowl.

2. Add Xylitol and vanilla and mix on high with wish attachment until stiff peaks form.

3. Add prepared whipped cream to your morning coffee, hot chocolate, on top of muffins, baked goods or even No Oat Oatmeal and enjoy!

*Notes: You can store the leftover whipped cream in a container in the fridge and use the next day.

Before mixing it all together.

Onto the past couple of days of eats:

Breakfasts:

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Muffins with strawberries

So yummy and such a great pumpkin pie flavor!

No Oat Oatmeal with leftover butternut squash

Such a good combo!

– Cheesy eggs

Enjoying his cheesy eggs!

Enjoying his cheesy eggs!

Lunches:

Turkey wraps

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Perfectly balanced lunch!

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

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This is still one of my favorite things to eat for lunch!

-For Keenan: Homemade mini pizzas on a sandwich thin with pasta sauce, chopped chicken and cheddar cheese

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Keenan loved his pizza!

Snacks:

Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

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A new batch that Keenan and I made yesterday!

Dinners:

Crock Pot Pork and Apples with roasted butternut squash (sorry, I forgot to snap a picture!)

Green beans sauteed with Italian sausage

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So good, thanks to my husband for preparing!

– Slow-Cooker Eggplant Caponata with Chicken (see recipe below!)

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Should be good!

Slow-Cooker Eggplant Caponata with Chicken: (serves 3)

Ingredients:

– 3 frozen chicken thighs or breasts

– 3 medium size eggplant (cut into small/medium size cubes)

– 1 large yellow onion (chopped)

– 2 cans no-salt added chopped tomatoes

– 1/2 cup pasta sauce

– 1 clove garlic (minced)

– 2 tsp Italian seasoning

– 2 tsp garlic no-salt seasoning

– pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place frozen chicken at the bottom of your crock pot. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

2. Add eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, sauce and seasoning on top of chicken and mix.

3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Serve on top of a bed of fresh spinach, pasta or whole wheat couscous topped with a sprinkle of feta or Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Today has been a fun today. We met a friend and her son (Keenan’s best buddy!) at The Bounce Spot in West Sacramento this morning for some play time, since it was raining. The boys had so much fun bouncing, climbing and going down the slides. It was the perfect activity for a rainy day, and it only cost $5.00, not too bad! Though it was a little far out, it was well worth it and something we will definitely do again. Keenan definitely burned off some energy this morning, because by the time we got home, he was tired (rather, cranky) and quickly ate his lunch and went down for a nap (a successful morning in my book!).

It is time to get ready for CrossFit, for my last WOD before my competition on Saturday. Tomorrow, I’m just doing a little bit of cardio and then I’m off on Friday. So far (keeping my fingers crossed), my piriformis and rhomboids are feeling good!

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!

Questions: What have you eaten today? What is your favorite slow-cooker/crock pot recipe? I’m looking for some new ideas!

 

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.

 

Thanksgiving Weekend + New Pumpkin Recipe! November 27, 2012

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?

 

What I Ate Wednesday + New Crock Pot Recipe! November 22, 2012

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?
 

 
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