Month: April 2015

Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

I feel like I have completely dropped out here. I have been trying to string together a bunch of recipes to post together, and have stressed myself out instead of just posting one recipe, or something! It’s hard to string together a week of new meals that turn out good (and that you remember to take a picture of so you can share it).

But my big plans did get me to try some new recipes, and I’d like to share one of my favorites. This one comes from the 21 Day Fix Extreme. I haven’t started this program yet, but I bought it awhile ago in anticipation! It’s been fun to look through the Eating Plan for ideas.

The original recipe is for the stovetop, not the crockpot. I just love the convenience of the crockpot; dinnertime can be busy and I am happy to be able to do things other than cook at that time. The recipe also called for more vegetables- onion and red and green bell peppers. I omitted these and it was delicious. But next time I will include the peppers.

Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

(in a Crockpot)

(adapted from 21 Day Fix Extreme Eating Plan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash

Preparation:

Heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat. Remove the meat. Add the canned tomatoes to the pan; scrape around pan and pour everything into crockpot. Add seasoning, broth, and vegetables. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

And that’s it! Dinner is done. You don’t need to add any side dishes. Maybe a nice loaf of bread to dip at the end. I did have salad with this stew, but if you add more vegetables I don’t think you’d need to.

You know I’m lazy with my cooking, but if you wanted to be really lazy (or were really rushed in the morning) I think you could skip the browning the meat part and just throw everything in the crockpot. Browning definitely makes the meat more tender and adds to the taste, but I have had some delicious stews that skipped this step.

Speaking of lazy, I found the butternut squash already cubed at BJs, and have since seen it in the frozen section at ShopRite. I had never used butternut squash before, so I was happy I didn’t have to figure out which squash to buy and what to do with it once I got it home:)

We are finally getting out of the chilly weather, but I think this stew would still be a nice weeknight dinner. It’s not too heavy, but is very satisfying. Can’t wait to make it again!

Working Out at Home

I chose “Stay at Home Fit” as a title for my blog because when I finally started getting fit, it happened at home. I am a stay-at-home-mom now, and have been for almost ten years, but this isn’t just for stay-at-home-moms or dads; it’s for anyone who wants to get fit at home!

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I have never belonged to a gym…for many reasons. One, I’m kind of shy and don’t have any desire to go to a gym. Two, I have four kids and I feel lucky to go to the bathroom by myself or get out to run errands without a full minivan. It wouldn’t be easy to get out on my own. Three, it’s expensive, and not something I would prioritize for our budget.

I know some people love the social part of going to the gym, and some people like the childcare provided by many gyms. The only part of belonging to a gym that does appeal to me is the classes- I’d love to go to a yoga class a few times a week, or try a spin class. But that’s not for me, at least not for a while.

So, in all fairness, I have never belonged to a gym and I have never really had the desire to belong to a gym. I understand the appeal of them, but here are my top reasons I love working out at home

  • I love working out at home because of the convenience! I would not want to be bothered with getting dressed to go work out at a gym. Even the minimum effort it would require to be presentable for other people seems like too much work. I can wear ratty old workout clothes and I don’t care what my hair looks like.
  • I also like not having to leave the house. It cuts back on the time involved since I’m not traveling anywhere. Plus I don’t have to go out in the cold or the rain.
  • I don’t need childcare. Most of the time I exercise before my children wake up in the morning. On the days that doesn’t happen, they occupy themselves or they watch a show. Every once in a while they interrupt me, but for the most part they don’t now. It used to be harder, but they have really gotten used to it. Even my two-year old lets me finish the workout most times…occasionally adding some resistance to my push ups as he climbs on my back. And sometimes the others even join in, which makes it kinda fun.
  • It is sooo much more cost-effective. The workout programs I use are a one time expense, and I get a lot of use out of them! My sister and I also share programs sometimes. And with the new Beachbody OnDemand available, there is another way to expand your workout collection for a small cost!
  • I get that going to the gym and having friends there might add a sense of accountability. Plus, if you are a stay-at-home or work-at-home person, just getting out of the house might be worth the cost and trouble of a gym! But I like being able to do it at home, on my own schedule. I do believe having someone (or some ones) you are accountable to makes a big difference in motivation and results. I reluctantly joined a Facebook accountability group, and ended up loving it! Now I’m part of a few and they are great motivation, and a great source of support, and a lot of fun. These groups really feel like a social connection for me, and they are important in my fitness routines.

I won’t even talk about germs…but they matter to me too!

So, Stay at Home Fit is about getting fit at home, whether you work outside the home or not. It’s what’s worked for me. I would like to get out more as the weather gets nicer, to start running more. I have also enjoyed yoga classes and as my kids get older would like to join classes here and there…

But I see at-home fitness always being a mainstay in my fitness. I love all the Beachbody programs I have tried- Insanity, Insanity: The Asylum, T25, P90X3, Piyo, Chalean Extreme, 21 Day Fix, Insanity Max 30. I have my favorites, but I would honestly do all of them over again, and plan to! You can also create hybrid workout calendars, blending two programs, or a chosen program and running. The variety is enough to keep things interesting, and to keep your body guessing. I get excited about picking my next workout program!

I also think working out at home is a good option if you’re self-conscious about exercise. It’s all about you there. Just make sure to set yourself up for success- find a workout partner, write down your goals, post inspirational and motivational pictures and sayings. And be patient with yourself…it is all worth it! Once you get hooked, you’ll love it, and you’ll love what you can do:)