Month: December 2015

Sloppy Joes

I think this was the first time I ever had sloppy joes. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it was. They were good! My mom never made them when I was little; I was probably too fussy to eat them. But I was inspired by the menu in a clean eating group I was a part of recently. I gave them a try and the kids liked them too!

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It’s an easy-to-make weeknight dinner that 3 out 4 kids ate happily, and it’s clean…so I’ll definitely make it again.

This recipe comes from Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix cookbook.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

(from Fixate by Autumn Calabrese)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce*
  • 3 TBSP all-natural tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup or honey

Preparation:

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl and set aside. Add turkey to the skillet and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Season with salt & pepper. Add onion mixture, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, pepper sauce, & maple syrup. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

I served it on whole wheat english muffins with a salad on the side. The picture was from my leftover lunch…when we were out of english muffins 🙂

*For the Worcestershire sauce, I used the “clean” recipe found on the food renegade website. I did it because I didn’t have any in the house! But I do think if you’re eating Worcestershire sauce regularly you should probably whip up your own. The bottled ones often contain high-fructose corn syrup. For here and there it’s probably not the end of the world to use the store bought stuff. If you’d like to make your own check out the recipe I used here.

 

Finishing a Workout Program

Yesterday was the last day of Les Mills Pump for me! I love finishing a workout program. There is a real feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. I’m proud of myself! It was hard; some of these workouts are an hour long. I struggled through some of them, and there were some days I didn’t want to start.

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Les Mills Pump is a 13-week program, so it’s been part of my life for a while now. Finishing a program is kind of a big deal. If you’re like me, you can probably think back to lots of fitness programs or diets or workout fads you started and didn’t finish.  And I think that might be part of the magic of Beachbody. You commit to a program, and something about the way it’s all mapped out helps you succeed. When you succeed, you feel good, you can see and feel results, and you are motivated to continue. When you commit to a program, see it through  to the end, and complete it you feel so good. You feel proud of yourself. I love this quote about self-esteem and I think it’s so true.

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I am proud of who I am as a person, and I’m proud of various things I’ve done in my life. I’m proud of being a stay-at-home-mom. But there are few things I see the finish of day-to-day as a stay-at-home mom. I’m not handing in a project by a deadline or getting an A in a class. I’m tremendously proud of my children, and I have feelings of satisfaction when my children do something, but it’s pride and awe of them and who they are and joy at being the one who gets to watch these moments. I feel good about stuff, and I love being home with them. There’s nothing I’d rather do. But sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the needs and desires of your family, and feel a little lost (as an individual) in the shuffle.

When I finish a tough workout I feel proud of myself. It’s a great way to start the day. And the feeling I get when I finish a whole program is amazing….

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I beat myself up about my tendency to start things and not finish them. I also hate the quote, “It’s the thought that counts” because I have terrible follow-through. I’m scatter-brained at home, I write notes to people and don’t send them, I have gifts meant for people from three years ago in my closet…Follow-through is not my strong suit. But I finished Les Mills Pump. And Insanity, and Piyo, and P90X3, and Chalean Extreme, and every other Beachbody program I’ve started. I stick to it and I am so proud of that. I’ve made a commitment to my health and well-being and I haven’t given up, I’ve made changes for life.

This program was great and I definitely feel stronger than I ever have. I did an Insanity workout on one of my cardio days and I could do more than I used to be able to do, and do some of the moves that I really used to struggle with.

I also run faster. When I run up a hill I feel like my quads and hamstrings are powering me up…I feel them engage and think of my workouts! A few years ago I don’t think I knew what a quad was 🙂

I see the glimmer of abs on the horizon, too…my stomach is definitely my most difficult area. I am an apple for sure, and it is very frustrating. I am trying to be patient, but I’ll admit I have days where I get just plain pissed off that my middle isn’t further along. This program definiltey gave them a nudge in the right direction, though. I can see a little bit of definition.

My “core” also feels stronger. I can keep my lower back pressed to the floor during crunches, which I could never really do before. I think having a complete lack of muscle in my core is what’s making it take so long…I think I had so far to go to build any muscle that it made doing the exercises difficult and made for some slow progress. I know if I keep up the clean eating, and stay consistent with my exercise, I’ll see more results. I just have to watch that I don’t get impatient and sabotage my hard work with crappy eating! I’m so good so much of the time, but I still struggle with stress eating sometimes!

So there is a great feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing one of these programs. It’s also exciting! And it’s fun. I loved Les Mills Pump. I am soooo excited to start my next program: Hammer & Chisel. I feel like a little kid over these programs sometimes. I can’t wait for it to start!

Between now and then I will be busy with the wonderful Christmas season. I’ll play around with some workouts I haven’t done in a while or have been wanting to try. I’ll definitely throw a few Pump workouts in there to stay on top of the gains I’ve made. I’ll eat clean hopefully 80% of the time and enjoy the other 20% without feeling too guilty!

What are you going to do to stay on track during the holidays?

 

Refresh Days 2 & 3

I finished my 3-Day Refresh! It’s been a busy week, so I didn’t get to write on either of those days. But it was a success! I feel great, I learned a few ways to tweak the Refresh to make it even easier for me, and I have zero cravings for bad stuff.

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I did a more complete review of the refresh which you can find here. But here are the small changes I made this time:

  • I drank coffee. It is discouraged, not forbidden. And I did it. I drank my coffee in the morning, blended with coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon. It definitely helped with the dull headache I experienced the first time I did the refresh.
  • I blended the vanilla fresh shake with water, ice, and a ton of cinnamon and it was delicious! This was so exciting for me. The first time I did the refresh I did not like the vanilla refresh and chugged it down. Considering you drink it twice a day for three days, you can imagine I was a little bummed about the taste. This development made me actually look forward to those shakes, and overall made it a more pleasant experience.
  • I chose the same dinner for each day and did all the prep on Day 1. This made assembling my big ass salad each night so much easier! It’s made with cucumber, pepper, tomato, and takes a bit to peel, chop, etc. I did it all at once for the 3 days, and bagged up each day. This made dinnertime much quicker and less stressful. (If you have little ones you know getting dinner on the table can be tricky on a good day, let alone when you have to make two dinners and one of them requires veggie prep!)

I really believe the first refresh helped me break through a weight loss plateau I have been stuck at for ages…like a year or so. And the best part is- I didn’t gain the weight back. In fact, I lost a few more pounds after it was over.

The 3-Day Refresh is great if you’re looking to kick your cravings, getting ready for a big event, or recovering from a big event or vacation! I feel amazing afterwards. Happy, energetic, light…I look forward to doing it again.

Refresh Day 1

I finished my first day of the 3-Day Refresh yesterday and I’m feeling great! I thought I would feel tired and lack energy, but I’m surprised at how good I feel, just like last time. I added a cup of black coffee this time, to see if I do ok with it. I don’t plan on giving up coffee, so I feel like detoxing from the caffeine isn’t as important as all the other stuff. (Maybe that’s just a lame rationalization for me wanting to drink my coffee, but I’m sticking with it.) Plus it will make me happier and keep me feeling better.  And I guess because it’s so strict, and it’s only 3 days, I don’t feel any temptation to cheat. I will not cheat. It’s not worth it! Plus I made an investment for this experience, so that motivates me to be on my best behavior too 🙂

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I was fairly productive yesterday, too…working on my home-brewed kombucha. I’ll save the gory details for another day, but let’s just say I dreamed about scobys. If you don’t know what a scoby is, just wait…

I also made spaghetti squash for the first time and it came out great! My favorite part, though, was discovering the seeds inside that are just like pumpkin seeds. It never dawned on me that there would be roast-able, eat-able, delicious seeds inside! I am definitely going to make spaghetti squash again…and again…and again…and again.

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More exciting news (for me anyway) around here is that I joined an organic food co-op. I’ve always been hesitant, because I worried about what we would get. Friends of mine joined one and got a lot of the same stuff, and in amounts that weren’t really practical for them. But from what I’ve seen so far, this one has good stuff and nice variety. I’ll let you know how it goes. First pick-up is Thursday- woohoo! I know I’ll be getting parsnips…anyone have any ideas for parsnip? See- it’s already good for me. Pushing me out of my food comfort zone 🙂

Looking forward to a good week of clean eating and exercise, enjoying this amazing weather in New York, and spending time with my little ones reading Christmas books and going to see the Nutcracker with Grandma on Saturday…

Post-Thanksgiving Update

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving! It might be my favorite holiday…I love the homey, relaxed coziness of it all.

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here….filled with treats such as this:

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My daughter loves to bake, and she is really good at it! She found the recipe online and did almost all the work herself. I helped with the frosting. “Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.” Oh, my…

which is why I am getting ready for this again:

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Yes, I overindulged. I enjoyed it, I didn’t fret about it, I don’t really regret it (well, maybe that last cupcake was a bad idea). But sometimes when I indulge like that it leaves me wanting more. So, I started a 21 day stretch of tightening things up (hopefully literally as well as figuratively) and will help kick those cravings with a 3-Day Refresh starting Sunday. I really can’t wait…I felt so good after the last one!

I did start my Thanksgiving off with a 5-mile Turkey Trot! That was a lot of fun, and I am very proud of how well I did- for me. I am a s-l-o-w r-u-n-n-e-r…but my finish time was my best ever! It goes to show how much all my other workouts carry over into overall fitness. I run faster now than I did when all I did was run!

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I’m also really excited to share the release of Hammer & Chisel! It’s a brand new Beachbody program featuring 2 trainers- Autumn from 21 Day Fix and Sagi from Body Beast. I have never done Body Beast (not yet anyway) but I have heard amazing things about it; it seems like the people who do it love it. Hammer & Chisel was just released December 1st. I will be starting that program in January to kick off 2016, and I am really looking forward to that, while enjoying the rest of this year.

I have one more week left of Les Mills Pump. I can’t believe it! I am going to miss it…it’s funny how you get attached to these programs. I have definitely seen some changes with Pump and I love, love, love the weights. It’s a program I’ll come back to, and probably sneak in some of the workouts here and there in the meantime.

That’s where I’m at now…and looking to recommit to my blog! Sometimes I shy away because I feel like I don’t have anything important or meaningful enough to post, but this is my life and my “journey” (I feel really sappy using that word, but that’s what it is) and maybe even the boring parts will help someone 🙂

I am grateful each day that I have discovered all the joy there is in getting fit…