Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Oh, what a busy weekend! October 22, 2012

I can’t believe it is already Monday. I need one more day to rest and get things done, since we were so busy this weekend. Did anyone else feel that way? Either way, we had a good weekend, spending some time as a family, running our usual errands, including a trip to our farmer’s market and Costco, as well as seeing some friends.

On Friday and Saturday nights, my husband and I enjoyed our “at home date nights.” On Friday, we made a yummy antipasti dinner of eggplant rollatini and bruschetta (using some ciabatta bread we had in our freezer) with tuna. To top if off, we also enjoyed a nice bottle of wine. We ended up just talking and not watching any of our TV shows, as planned. It was a nice evening!

The eggplant rollatini recipe is from my cousin who lives in Tuscany. When my husband and I traveled to Italy the summer before Keenan was born, we stayed with my cousin Tony, and his wife, Vanda, for a couple of days. While we stayed with them, Vanda made us some AMAZING dishes, one of which was her eggplant rollatini that she served as part of her antipasti the first night. It was SO good, we knew we had to try and replicate it at home (which comes close, but it is not the same). Just thinking about her cooking is making my mouth water! Here is the recipe:

Eggplant Rollatini: (serves 4-6)

– 2 large eggplants

– 1 package ricotta cheese

– 1 large handful of fresh basil (finely chopped)

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Slice eggplants in very thin slices, using a mandolin kitchen slicer (if you have one).

2. In a nonstick pan, cook the slices of eggplant, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese, basil, salt and pepper together.

4. Once the eggplants are cool, put a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the center of the eggplant and roll.

5. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve as an appetizer or a part of your meal!

*Notes: If you are in a hurry, you can skip the refrigeration step and serve the eggplant rollatini immediately. When chilled in the fridge, the flavors have a chance to blend together and the ricotta sets.

On Saturday morning, I made a new creation for part of our breakfast, a baked paleo pancake. We each enjoyed a square of the pancake topped with pumpkin butter, along with my husband’s “cheesy eggs!”  The pancake turned out pretty good, though a little dense, but the flavor was great. For my pancake recipe, see below:

Prior to being baked.

Baked Paleo Pancake: (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup almond flour

– 1 banana (mashed)

– 2 eggs

– 2 Tbsp any milk

– 2 Tbsp flaxseed (ground)

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1 tsp honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.

2. Mix all ingredients together and pour into pan.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly brown.

*Notes: cut into squares and serve with coconut butter, pumpkin butter, nut butter, maple syrup or honey.

Fresh out of the oven!

For Saturday night, we started off our evening with a wonderful goat Gouda cheese that we picked up at Costco, with some Fiber Gourmet crackers (look for a review and giveaway coming soon!), and a nice bottle of wine. Since I had some broccoli that needed to be used up, we roasted it with cherry tomatoes and a red onion, topping it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of feta cheese. It was delish! Since we ate so much of the Gouda cheese, we didn’t feel we needed any other protein. Since we didn’t watch anything the night before, we had a TV marathon and got caught up on all of our shows that we missed last week. “Parenthood” had me in tears and “Revenge” is getting SO good!

Wine and cheese, the perfect pair!

On Sunday, we enjoyed a nice breakfast of french toast (using the leftover ciabatta bread from Saturday night), thanks to my husband! Of course, we had pumpkin lattes to go with it! After breakfast, we headed to a local CrossFit competition in Elk Grove, the WarriorZ Throwdown, to watch our coach compete. Some of the top CrossFit athletes from Northern California competed, so it was really inspiring to watch!!

After the CrossFit competition, we headed to our neighbor’s son’s birthday party (he turned 1). Keenan was SO tired, because he didn’t have a nap yesterday, so he was wired at the party. He enjoyed playing in the bonce house and having his fill of sugar! The theme of the party was from the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and they had cake pops in the shape of a caterpillar; it was really cute! I have to say that the cake pops were some of the best that I have ever eaten; they were SUPER moist and very chocolatey! Keenan devoured his in seconds and my husband and I shared one. I could have had another one all by myself, because they were so good! 🙂

Today, has been another busy Monday with Keenan’s music class and finishing up some things around the house that I didn’t get to over the weekend. I also made a batch of Italian Carrots for Keenan, since he was all out of his cooked carrots. Since he still can’t eat raw carrots (I thought he could a while back, but when he had them over the weekend, he just spit them out, since they were too hard for him to chew), I like to keep some cooked ones in the freezer for easy additions to his meals. I just microwave a few carrots for 20-30 seconds and they are ready for him to eat, so easy! Here is the recipe, if you are interested in making some for your toddler, or if you just prefer cooked carrots:

So good, I like eating them, too!

Italian Carrots: (serves 6-8)

– 1 bag baby carrots

– 1 tsp butter

– tsp Italian seasoning

– 1/2 tsp pepper

– 2 tsp Parmesan cheese (grated)

Directions:

1. Steam carrots until tender with a fork.

2. Toss carrots with all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until all are well coated.

3. Either eat the carrots freshly cooked, or store in a zip-lock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, heat as many carrots as desired in a microwave-safe dish for 25-35 seconds.

*Notes: When re-heating carrots, you might want to microwave for 20-25 seconds at first, to check to see if thoroughly heated, since all microwaves are different.

Well, Keenan should be waking up soon, so it’s time to get ready for CrossFit. I’m helping out with the beginner’s class tonight, so that should be fun! They are a great group of people! On the menu for dinner is a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and pine nuts! I haven’t roasted beets before, but I love ordering a roasted beet salad in restaurants, so I’m excited to try it out. I’ll keep you posted!

Questions: How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Did you make or try any new foods/dishes? If so, what new foods/dishes did you try?

**REMINDER: There is still time to enter a chance to win a box of goodies from Go Raw! Contest ends tonight at 8 p.m. PST!! To enter, click here.

Advertisements
 

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?

 

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.

 

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!

 

Health Lessons Learned Lately: “We eat our way, the way that works for us” September 14, 2012

Loving his sweet potatoes!

Today, I am linking up with Healthy Living Blogs, as the theme for the month of September is “Health Lessons Learned Lately.”

Fact: With the food we eat serving as fuel for our bodies, it’s important that we properly fuel ourselves for our daily activities. Fact: Everyone is different.

I’ve noticed that some people feel the need to drastically change their diets and dive into a whole new way of eating, when they want to make positive changes in their overall health. Yes, if you’re only eating fried chicken wings and drinking milkshakes during every meal of every day, not too many people will deny that drastic changes in your diet will benefit you mentally and physically. A balanced diet comprised of fresh, whole foods doesn’t seem like it should really be altered, though. Most Americans simply eat too much, so changing how much you eat might make more of a difference than what you eat, if you’re already trying to eat a healthy diet.

Some ways of eating advocate very drastic changes, and others dictate specific food groups to be avoided. It seems that the Paleo way of eating (or diet) is a hot topic these days, or has been for a while, now. In the CrossFit box that I work out in, there are a lot of people eating Paleo. Many people have experienced significant changes, such as losing weight, gaining more lean muscle and improving their performance. But the question that I ask is: Could someone experience the same results by just eating “clean,” i.e. by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole foods (little to no processed food), lean meats, nuts, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats and practicing mindful eating? Though I am not a medical professional or Registered Dietician, my knee-jerk answer is, “Yes!”

By cutting out whole food groups, of course it will be easier for someone to lose weight, but is it necessarily healthy or sustainable for a lifetime? How do you make sure your body is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs if you are cutting out food groups? In addition, once your body consumes the foods that it hasn’t had in a long time, what happens? You might find your weight slowly creeping up or your body can no longer handle/digest the food as it did before.

I am a firm believer and advocate of adopting healthy eating habits that will last lifetime. When I was working as a Health Educator in physician’s offices, many patients would ask me to provide them with a list of foods that they could no longer eat and/or a specific meal plan. In addition to it being out of my scope of practice–since I am not a Registered Dietician–I would never provide anyone with a list of what they can’t eat or a set meal plan, because it is not practical in real life. In life, we are faced with eating out, dinner parties, holidays, meetings with catered food, cooking for a family, etc, so how can you eat Paleo or any other diet 100% of the time?

As I have met more and more people following “set diets,” and achieving results, I have learned that I need to do what is best for me, my body and my family. I have achieved my own results with practicing mindful eating and listening to the needs of my body (eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full) and witnessed even greater results in my husband: My husband lost 23 pounds since he started CrossFit in January of this year, while he also ate healthier, practiced mindful eating and cut back on his portions (he used to go for “fourths”… no joke). For myself, I have put on more lean muscle and have more muscle definition, while maintaining my weight pretty consistently over the past two years. We eat “clean” by rarely eating any processed foods, except for Kashi cereal and a few pita or tortilla chips every once in a while (like special occasions when we have company over, or are on vacation). We still indulge in dessert every now and then (usually allowing ourselves one splurge a week) and drink alcohol (wine and beer). It is something that works for us, makes our bodies feel good and–most importantly–we are able to sustain it. When we travel and splurge WAY too much, such as the cupcakes last weekend, we cut back as soon as we get home by eating salads or lean protein, veggies and fruit for the first few days (until our bodies get back on track). It is a give-and-take and I like to say we eat healthy 90% of the time and allow ourselves to eat “not so healthy,” i.e. ice cream, cupcakes, gelato, french fries, milkshakes 10% of the time.

In the end, my most important lesson learned is listening to the needs of my body, not someone else, as they don’t lead my life. I eat to maintain my health, while still fueling my body for intense workouts. If someone is mainly sedentary, their daily nutritional needs are much different than someone who is working out every day–let alone an athlete! Find what works for you and your family. If you can sustain a “set diet,” then more power to you! Maybe your entire family is eating Paleo, so at family functions, you don’t have to worry about what you can and cannot make or eat. For me, it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake with almond flour these days (more often than whole wheat flour), because of the nutrition that it packs, or even sweet potatoes. At times, we do eat meals that consist of just lean protein and veggies, but we don’t limit ourselves to only eating a certain way. We eat our way, the way that works for us.

Speaking of eating, here is the recipe for the spaghetti squash tomato bake with added turkey, that I promised:

Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake with Ground Turkey: (Adapted from Roni at Green Lite Bites)

Ingredients:

– 1 medium spaghetti squash (cooked) *I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds, fill the inside with a 1/2 cup water and put the top half back on and microwave (covered) for 10 minutes.

– 2 large tomatoes sliced

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)

– 2 lbs. ground turkey

– 1 onion (diced)

– 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

– 1 clove garlic (minced)

– 2 Tbs olive oil

– Italian seasoning

-garlic (no-salt) seasoning *I use one from Costco

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

2. Caramelize onion and garlic in large pan and add turkey. Cook until turkey is browned.

3. Spread about one cup of spaghetti squash in the bottom of the casserole dish (using a fork to scoop out the flesh).

4. Add a layer of turkey on top of the squash (enough to cover it, but not too much, saving enough for a second layer).

5. Add six tomato slices over the turkey. Sprinkle with basil and spices.

6. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the tomato slices.

7. Repeat the layers: squash, turkey, tomato slices, basil, spices and cheese.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top).

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before we cut into it!

*Notes: You might need to add one more layer, if you have a large spaghetti squash, thus increasing the amount of the other ingredients. The turkey makes this casserole pretty thick, which was good! I love the added turkey this time, because it added a ton more flavor and protein, making this a one-pot meal!

Enjoying his pancake with pumpkin butter!

Well, today was “cleaning day” at our household, so after eating breakfast (something different this time…toasted pancakes with a spoonful of Fage 0% Greek yogurt for me and pumpkin butter for Keenan, in addition to slices of strawberries and a banana with a latte!) and prepping tonight’s dinner: turkey meatloaf in a crock pot with roasted sweet potatoes (I set my oven for a delay start) and sauteed kale with a red bell pepper (I washed and chopped everything, so it was ready to cook when we got home from the gym), Keenan and I cleaned house. Today, he wasn’t into helping me as he usually is, but he definitely wanted to vacuum and mop! We finished everything in time for CrossFit!

My breakfast…it is becoming one of my new favorites!

“Helping” me prep dinner!

Well, it’s late and I’m exhausted after a busy day and a hard workout tonight: 5 rounds of 15 hanging power snatches (women weight: 75 lbs), 30 air squats and an alley carry of 35 pounds (weight for the women) with a 30 minute time cap. I tore my hand while doing chest-to-bar pullups on Tuesday, so I had some issues with my grip today, thus slowing me down. I was halfway done on the last alley carry (my 5th round) when the timer hit 30 minutes, ugh! Have a good night!

Oh, don’t forget to leave a comment on yesterday’s post , if you would like to be entered in the Sweaty Bands Giveway! The contest ends at noon PST tomorrow!

 

Busy, busy busy… August 20, 2012

Keenan ready to eat his peanut butter banana pancake (making his “usual” funny face)!

Where did the weekend go? Since we had so many things to do, it really didn’t feel like a weekend. Aside from our “at home date night” on Friday night (which, by the way, my husbands Asian dish was delish!) and making peanut butter banana pancakes (my husband threw them together with whole wheat flour, flax seed, eggs, milk, applesauce, baking powder, chunky peanut butter and banana) yesterday morning, it really didn’t seem like much of a weekend. We were constantly on the go! Yesterday, I got my hair trimmed (I’m trying to grow it out) at a new salon. The person who has been cutting my hair for the past 4 years has not been listening to me lately, chopping my hair and giving me very short layers, so I decided to take the plunge and find a new hair stylist. It feels weird that I went to a new stylist yesterday, almost like I am cheating on my old hair stylist, but it is for the better! I was very pleased with the woman who cut my hair yesterday, so I think I will schedule another appointment with her in a couple of months. It’s funny how “we” women feel about changing hair stylists! Men don’t seem to have a problem of going to different people to cut their hair (at least my husband doesn’t!).

In addition to getting my hair cut, I ran errands and got groceries before we went to a wedding (a family friend of my husband’s) last night. It was the first wedding that we brought Keenan to. He had a great time, dancing up a storm with all of the little girls (especially one who was about his age). Keenan was so excited to dance that during the speeches, Keenan kept saying, “All done, dancey-dance time!” We put gel in Keenan’s hair for the fist time and gosh, he sure looked like a little boy! I kept looking at him and thinking, “Where did my baby go?” Anyhow, we all had a wonderful time at the wedding, last night. The three of us danced until pretty much the end (until Keenan dropped). As soon as we got into the car, Keenan immediately fell asleep, and for the second time EVER, we transferred him to his crib without him waking up! He was SO tired!

Our little GQ model!

Stealing a kiss!

Showing his dance moves!

Keenan’s “almost” first kiss!

The end of the night…Keenan was SO tired!

We all slept in this morning (Keenan didn’t wake-up until 9:30 a.m.!), so as soon as we got up, we headed out the door to get some errands done for Keenan’s birthday! He turns 2 tomorrow–can you believe it? We went to IKEA to get a small table (to add to his little play area for coloring and playing with Play Doh), Target and Costco (to stock up on food for his birthday party next weekend). Once we got home, I made my Grandma Rose’s special Artichoke Torta and Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies (recipes to come later) for tomorrow. We are taking Keenan to Sacramento’s Railroad Museum in the morning, and having a picnic with some of his favorite foods, afterwards. My parents are coming up to join us, so it should be fun!

Having fun at IKEA!

Well, it’s time for my husband and I to FINALLY eat dinner (a grilled peach salad), finish assembling Keenan’s little table, re-organizing his toys to make the table fit in his little play area and wrapping his gifts! Have a good night!

 

Back to reality August 15, 2012

Keenan this morning: he wanted to take all of his critters in the car!

We are back to our regular routine today… having our “usual” breakfast with Fage 0% Greek yogurt (Mountain High Original whole-fat for Keenan), strawberries, flax seed, chia seeds and Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal and of course, a latte for my husband and me. After a fairly quick breakfast, we headed to Keenan’s swim class at the Y. We actually arrived early for a change (a first for us!). We are usually right on time or a couple of minutes of late, so it was nice to not have to rush. After swim class, we ran a couple of errands before going home for a little play time and lunch.

Keenan and I played a little piano together (I play and he taps, or sometimes bangs the keys!) and then we made all of his favorite critters (aka Baba, Lambie, Elmo and Polar Bear) lunch from his little kitchen. He was adamant on feeding them before we ate our lunch; it was too cute!

Feeding lunch to all of his critters!

For lunch, I made Keenan his favorite, a peanut butter and honey sandwich with some nectarine pieces on the side and a glass of milk. I ate some baby carrots, a nectarine and a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado on a sandwich thin spread with some new tzatziki sauce that we got at a different Costco. Our regular Costco discontinued the one we usually buy, so we found a different brand at a Costco near my parent’s house. I love Costco, but I get so frustrated when they discontinue an item that you always purchase. What are your favorite items at Costco?

Anyhow, today is all about getting “back to reality.” Last night I made a to-do list with all of the things I need to get done before the end of the month, including a few for Keenan’s birthday. His birthday is next Monday, but we are having his party at my parent’s house the following weekend. It seems aside from Keenan’s birthday, every weekend is booked until the end of September! It is crazy how busy things are going to be for the next month. I guess that is typical after getting back from vacation. I don’t think we have ever come back from a vacation and not had any commitments or things to do…life is just busy in our household!

Though, I’m looking forward to all of the things we have planned for the next month: Keenan’s birthday, our good friend’s birthday, my cousin’s wedding and getting my CrossFit Level 1 Certification, it will be nice when we have a free weekend again! The hustle and bustle of life makes me continue to think of the simplicity in Alaska, and prioritizing what really is important. Instead of racing through life, constantly thinking/worrying of what I have to do next or how I am going to get things done, I am making a vow to slow down, not get stressed out or overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate. I am committing myself to focus more in the present, cherishing each and every moment and most importantly, appreciate the little things (i.e. kisses and cuddles from Keenan, laughing/playing with him and enjoying time with my husband). Lastly, I am pledging to truly differentiate between our needs vs. wants.  Life is too short and too precious to get caught in the rat race and forget what is really meaningful. How do you stay balanced and sane when life gets busy?

This afternoon, after Keenan wakes-up from his nap, we are heading to his friend’s birthday party and then to CrossFit for another grueling (but awesome!) workout. Yesterday, we found our 1-Rep-Max deadlift, which I PR’d (Personal Record) at 230 lbs and then had to do 150 wall balls in 8 minutes! It was rough, but I was able to complete 107 wall balls (not bad for my first day back)!

On the menu for tonight is a Basil Peach Salad made with arugula, fresh mozzarella cheese and walnuts, that I found in this month’s edition of Women’s Health Magazine. It looks so good; I can’t wait to try it! I’ll take a picture of it and post the recipe tomorrow!

 

 
%d bloggers like this: