Workout Music, Things I’m Loving, Salad Recipe, etc!

I’m sitting out on the back patio with my two side-kicks Stihly and Rogue as I type this and it is SO FREAKING NICE!!! My car said 94 degrees at around 4 PM… it’s now 6:30 and feels like heaven. Even though I am being eaten alive by mosquitos, I don’t even care!

Me & Stihl… when she hated me. she had to take this picture against her will.

Β I planned on taking full advantage of this weather but accidently slept in a littttle late this morning and didn’t go into work until 1:30ish… but got alot of laundry done with the help of some coffee, which always feels nice! SO, I am going to go on a little jog here in a little bit even though I already did my HIIT cardio today!

This weekend’s workouts were a little on the lighter/lazy side.. Saturday included a 3 mile walk with Stihl in the morning, then 20 minutes of pushing it on the elliptical and legs later on. Sunday was a 2 mile run and abs, so nothing crazy. Me and this girl had some skinny margs Saturday night @ a Mexican restaurant on the lake that has an outdoor bar! I swear I’m still physically paying for them, even though I only had 2. It was alot of fun and worth it, though!

Anywho, so on to the things you’re probably reading this for πŸ˜‰

On the Music Scene:

I used to HAVE to have music on when I worked out… whether it be during cardio or while lifting weights. But, after Jimmey and I started running together last year, I quit listening to my iPod and discovered I am just fine without it, which is a nice feeling! However, during HIIT sessions on the treadmill, I definitely need something to perk me up… which is why i am SO happy to announce I found the best station on Pandora:

LATIN WORKOUT RADIO!!!

I have a weird/strange love with Mariachi/Latino music… like you know, the kind they play at Mexican restaurants?! And that salsa dancers get down to?? It just makes me so happy and I think about sunshine, stucco houses, palm trees, everything that makes me happy! Obviously yes, this is probably not normal. What kind of person gets their jollies thinking about STUCCO houses? Well my dream home (in my head) is made out of stucco, so that’s why πŸ™‚ But I promise the music on this station is so up-beat it for sure pumps you up big time! Also, alot of people (myself included) listen to some hip-hop during their workouts. I used to listen to WAY more than I do now… now I only have probably 3 hip-hop songs on my iPod and want to slap myself for loving Lil Wayne, etc back in high school. Such an embarrassment. But the good thing about some of this Latin Workout Radio music is you can’t understand the words! Therefore, even if they’re singing about what most American rap singers “sing” about… slapping women, selling dope, etc, you won’t even realize it! You’ll just enjoy the beat and it’ll carry you along your way on your run πŸ™‚

For those of you who aren’t so much in love with Latin music, here are my other go-to songs if I need a little kick while I’m running:

My personal favorites would have to be:

1) Lean into the Fall- Mona

2.) Lying from You- Linkin Park [this song makes me feel like I can run forever! lol]

3.) Sex Type Thing- Stone Temple Pilots

4.) Vindicated- Dashboard Confessional [hasn’t been added to the list yet!]

5.) Little Things- Bush

Oh and 6) Burning Bright- Shinedown [also not added yet!]

Here are some foodie products i am OBSESSED with right now!!Β 

 

* Zevia Soda– I’ve gotten it in Cream Soda, Root Berry, Black Cherry, & Grapefruit Citrus- love every one of them!! They are zero calories and sweetened with stevia (all natural sweetener!) These satisfy me whenever I have a sweet tooth!

*Tabouli– love this stuff mixed with chicken , cucumber, chopped tomatoes, & 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

*PB2... my obsession. Surprisingly, I still have half the jar left after a week! My favorite way to eat it is still dipping frozen bananas in the pb2 and eating it that way!

*Bolthouse Farms Olive Oil Vinaigrette in Tropical Mango… i am in LOVE with this dressing!! It’s all natural and the best part: only 30 calories for 2 tablespoons! Most dressings are loaded with fat and calories, but not this one. And the mango taste is incredible.

I don’t usually go to Whole Foods because I know I can’t be paying an arm & a leg for produce/baking products, but I went in today to buy some Nutritional Yeast, which I’ve seen alot of other food bloggers talk about, and I got it! I also needed some soy milk for my Blonde Coffee… and then, I found THIS:

AHI TUNA BURGERS!!! Sara at Nourish & FlourishΒ has been talking about tuna for like, the last three weeks, and every time I read about it on her blog-which is one of my absolute favorites- might I add- I get the biggest cravings ever!! It is tied with chicken for my favorite protein source… One of these burgers only as 110 calories and 17 grams of protein! I got the Mediterranean style burgers, but they also had Teriyaki Style as well! I have already grilled 2 of them up for late-ish dinner surprise for Jimbo when he comes home from mountain bike riding on the trails! I had a little nibble and they are bomb.com!

A Book I’m Loving:

the salad had to be in the picture, too!

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.

I bought this at Sun Dog Books in Seaside while we were on vacation. Honestly, it’s hard for me to get into books. I don’t like books that everyone & their grandma seem to be reading…and it’s hard for me to get into fiction books. I usually prefer non-fiction or self-improvement books… and this one is neither. It’s a collection of letters written to an advice columnist who goes by “Dear Sugar.” The stories/letters range from topics of cheating spouses & how to forgive, abusive family members, worry over ever finding love again, etc. And yes, that may sound depressing, but they’re really not exactly… The way “Sugar” answers her readers is so empathetic and brilliant… I am loving this book. I’ve cried like 3 times so far!

Now on to another new obsession: THIS SALAD/Wonderful mess of healthiness!Β 

Are those colors not beautiful!?

Let’s call this…

Spicy Orange Chicken with Mandarin Oranges & Veggies

[as you can tell, I use the crock pot recipe I posted here… it tastes amazing with this salad/mix, but you could use regular grilled chicken or even smoked salmon- that would taste amazing!]

In the big ole bowl:

– Spicy orange soy chicken breast

-steamed broccoli

-arichokes

-spinach

-avocado [probably 2 tbsp of it]

-Reduced-sugar Heinz ketchup squeezed all over

– 6 little mandarin oranges

-Bolthouse Farms Tropical Mango dressing

This is heaven in your mouth!! I didn’t have any Tabouli on hand this day, but I added it yesterday to this meal and it’s fantastico!!

Well that sure was a long post!

Only one week til school starts back up… so enjoy the last week of summer!

πŸ™‚

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars & New Ab Circuit Workout!

Hey there! Hope you’re having a great Sunday! I am SO happy with the weather today! It is so relieving to walk outside and not want to die/puke after standing in the sun for more than 20 seconds. My car said it was only 94 degrees and it really feels like Fall weather compared to what we’ve been having!

Here is how Stihly and Rogue entertained themselves all weekend:

Watching a mysterious and rarely seen frog swim in the pool. They are intrigued and tormented by it and it’s hilarious.

Last night Jimmey and I decided to go try Hu-Hot, a Mongolian style grill restaurant in Quail Springs Mall. We ate at Genghis Grill like two weeks ago and really liked it Β so we were going to see which place we liked best and we both agreed Genghis > Hu-Hot…by a long shot. It was pretty dirty when we walked in to Hu-Hot and the food just wasn’t as good as Genghis. It wasn’t bad, just not as filling or as tasty. The protein options looked a little fishy (no pun intended) but I liked the fact there was mango and bamboo shoots! I think the main thing that turned us off was the dirtiness. Not an awful place, just probably won’t go back.

Yesterday I was in baking mode and was in the kitchen quite a bit more than usual (Which is usually ALOT).

– I made my usual weekly Spicy Orange Soy Crockpot Chicken… I haven’t NOT made this stuff since April. The day i’m on my last bit of chicken, I make sure to start up another crockpot full! Here is a picture of everything I used:

Yes, the crockpot is a little dirty on the outside. all my fault. πŸ™‚

 

I also made these Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars!!Β 

Decided to get all fanciful with the sugar-free hershey’s syrup decorating πŸ™‚

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars with Cinnamon Vanilla Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

[DRY ingredients]

-2 scoops ProtiZyme Peanut Butter Cup Protein Powder (vanilla protein powder will work IF you have PB2 [peanut flour]

-1 tbsp oat bran

-1 tbsp whole wheat flour

-3 packets Stevia

-1/2 tsp baking powder

[WET ingredients]

-6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

-1 tbsp unsweet. almond milk

-1/4 cup eggwhites

-1 tsp chia gel [soaked chia seeds]

-1/2 frozen banana, melted

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 tbsp rolled oats

**If using vanilla protein powder and PB2, use 6 tbsp of pb2**

*Directions: Blend all of the wet ingredients together (this includes the 2 tbsp of rolled oats]. Mix them up with the dry ingredients and bake in a dish in the oven at 325 for about 30 minutes or so.

For the Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting:

-3 tbsp fat free cottage cheese

-1/2 or 1 packet Stevia

-Shake of cinnamon

-Vanilla extract

-splash of unsweet. almond milk for thinning it out

*Blend all of the above and spread over the protein bars!*

These bars made the whole house smell like banana bread my mom used to make…oh how I wish I could still eat that stuff.

AB CIRCUIT!

So I came up with this ab circuit last week on Tuesday and my abs were sore on Wednesday & Thursday which is the BEST feeling having sore abs!!! So I am pretty certain you should try this out. Side note: Jimmey is blessed with the ability to eat WHATEVER his heart desires and still have a chiseled stomach, but when he’s feeling like he needs to work on his abs- which is perhaps only 3 times a year- Β he uses an ab roller which we have @ the house and he claims his abs are “tighter” feeling the next day. The ab roller usually hurts my lower back like crazy so I stayed away from it but decided to give it another try… and I can honestly say my abs felt tighter after doing only 10-15 reps!! And my stomach is my biggest problem area and i’m in NO way genetically blessed like him. So everyone remember: the ab wheel is your buddy! πŸ™‚

Enough of that, here is the ab circuit I came up with:

This is a circuit, so you’ll do each move for the required # of reps and move straight on to the next one. After you have completed everything on the list, rest if you need to and then repeat it 2 more times. There are obviously extra sets of hanging leg raises and side planks, so those will be done additionally. The side planks with a plate on your side really work your obliques and you’ll feel firmer and tighter after doing this move!

One last thing: Has anyone ever tried this before?

GURU energy drinks… I get them @ Sunflower Market. They don’t sell them in any convenient or grocery stores, at least not that I have ever noticed. It only has 10 calories in the can and tastes like coca cola! Also, all the ingredients are natural. It really gives me energy! Β I love these as much as my pink sugarfree Rockstars!

Anywho, hope everyone has a wonderful evening!! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail!

I wanted to share one of the most important rules for staying fit and healthy and one of the golden rules for following a clean, healthy lifestyle:

BE PREPARED!

Throughout the day, no matter where you go, if you are trying your best to follow a healthy diet filled with lean proteins, fruits, & vegetables, you’ll quickly discover by all of your surroundings that your options are very limited. I can’t tell you how many times I have craved something, whether it be grilled chicken, salmon, cottage cheese (yeah, I might be one of the few who actually craves that stuff!), blueberries, hummus, steamed broccoli… but my only option is to run to wherever the closest Wal-Mart if I want these things, but who really wants to take the extra time and the extra headache of going in there?!

Instead, taking one afternoon a week to prepare your meals and dishes for the next several days will save you lots of headache, lots of time, & risking the chance of having to just grab the first thing you see that will thwart all your efforts in being healthy because you’re so famished!Β 

Here’s what to do:

Choose an afternoon where you have some free time, usually a Saturday or Sunday afternoon are perfect. Go to the grocery store and stock up on lean proteins, veggies, fruits, low-fat dairy products, etc. Then cook enough of each so that you’ll have enough food for several grab and go meals throughout the week. These meals can be breakfast as you’re leaving the house for work, snacks to eat before you work out, or ingredients for a healthy family dinner.

Grocery List of Healthy Items for the Week:

*Proteins*:Β 

-chicken breasts

-tilapia

-lean ground turkey meat (97%-99% fat free)

-egg whites in cartons

-eggs

-0% Plain Greek Yogurt

-Fat Free Cottage Cheese

-salmon

-canned tuna (low sodium)

-AHI TUNA (ahh…my favorite. if only i had a million dollars so I could eat this every day!)

-lean steak

-lean ground beef

-Whey protein powder

* Veggies *

-Broccoli

-Cauliflour

-Spinach

-Cilantro

-Carrots

-Onions

-Garlic

-Shallots

-Sweet potatoes/Yams

-Bell Peppers

-Tomatoes

-Cucumbers (loving these right now)

-Avocados (my favorite!)

-Sweet butter lettuce (or whatever lettuce type you prefer!)

-Pumpkin

*Fruits*

-Blueberries

-Bananas

-Strawberries

-Blackberries

-Oranges

-Nectarines

-Peaches

-Grapes

*Grains*

(I don’t eat alot of grains- prob about 1-2 servings per day @ the most)

-Rolled Oats (NOT the instant kind!)

-Tabouli

-Quinoa

-Rice cakes

-Brown Rice

*Condiments & Other Things, Etc*

-Stevia

-Almond & Vanilla Extracts

-Unsweetened Applesauce

-Unsweetened Almond Milk

-Sugar free Syrup (I need to break away from this stuff, tho!)

-Salsa

-Dijon mustard

-Stubbs Chicken Marinade

-Xantham gum (you can find this in cheap little packets in the Gluten-Free aisle of Wal-Mart)

-Low-sodium soy sauce

-Garlic Vinegar

-Red wine Vinegar

-Apple Cider Vinegar

-Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

-PB2 or Just Good Stuff powdered peanut butter (I can’t keep regular peanut butter in the house or bad things happen!)

-Chia seeds

-Ground flax seed

-Slivered almonds

Whoo…that’s a long list! I plan on taking some pictures of my grocery carts when I go shopping just to give a better idea of what all I get!

THE PLAN

Okay, so whatever day you pick to go buy all your food and cook it all up:

1) First cut up whichever veggies you will be using for the week and cook them, whether it be steaming on the stovetop, baking in the oven, or grilling. Store them all in tupperware so they’re easy to grab out of the fridge and throw with whatever else you’re going to eat. Examples of what I do: Sautee onions, peppers, & mushrooms on a skillet in non-stick spray or a little bit of extra virgin olive oil… cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, steam broccoli and cauliflour, also roast broccoli & cauliflour in the oven, bake sweet potatoes in the oven.

2.) You can also chop up whatever fruits you plan on using as well! A good idea is to freeze several different fruits, like bananas (they are best to freeze when they are getting all brown and mushy!), blueberries, strawberries, peaches, etc for smoothies.

3.) Go ahead and bake, grill, broil, whatever two different kinds of protein. For example: chicken breasts and lean ground turkey. I buy the long sleeves of chicken breasts from Wal-Mart or Sam’s… each are about $1.97 per lb and close to $10 a sleeve. I will go through 2 sleeves a week! I grill a few pieces and put the others in the crockpot as my spicy orange soy chicken and have that throughout the week. For the lean ground turkey meat, you can cook it on the skillet with different seasonings! Or, mix it with egg whites and a bunch of chopped veggies and bake in an oven dish= Meatloaf! Cut into four servings, and each serving will have roughly 120 calories + the calories from whatever else you add in!

4.) For snacks, try baking some protein bars, like the Carrot Cake Protein Bars or, one of my favorites, Jamie Eason’s Lemon Protein bars. Having these made will make it easy to grab and keep if you get hungry later in the day.

Jamie Eason’s lemon protein bars… I added blueberries! these are fantastic

 

Sorry this post is a little lacking on the colorfulness and pictures! Hopefully it helps give you an idea of how to stay on top of your diet! Even with the best intentions, things can come up that throw us off… But being prepared and having healthy food ready to eat in the fridge will definitely make your life LOTS easier! πŸ™‚

Today I think we are being lazy and maybe fixing up the pool! Then date night! I’m about to go do some grocery shopping and food prepping myself ! πŸ™‚

my coffee mug & his πŸ™‚

[ I am in love with the Blonde coffee from Starbucks and finally got smart and bought a bag to just make here @ home! Has anyone else tried this stuff?! ]

Have a wonderful HOT weekend!!!