Chest + Tri

The other day Chris and I worked out in the morning.  I was just going to do some cardio but he wanted a spotter and would I do weights with him.  So I switched it up and worked my chest and triceps until they were dying.  I tend to only work my arms in Pilates so doing actual weights was a bit of a wake-up call.

  • Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 (1: bar, 2: bar +10lbs, 3: bar + 15lbs)
  • Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 (1: bar + 10lbs, 2: bar + 12lb, 3 bar + 15lbs)
  • Dips at unassisted dip station – 3 sets of 5-8 (or use assisted dip machine)
  • Chest Flies – on weight bench, knees to chest for increased core work.  3 sets of 15
  • Tricep push down – 20lbs. 3 sets of 20
  • Cable overhead tricep extension – 20lbs.  3 sets of 15.

 

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Beach Weekend

We headed down to the beach this weekend to drop Chance off with his grandparents.  So happy that he gets to stay with them instead of a kennel when we’re in Maui.  While we were at the beach we were lucky to experience some amazing weather.  It was in the mid 50’s and sunny.  One of those rare, amazing days at the beach where you just feel so happy to live in the Pacific Northwest.  I’d already gone to the gym earlier in the morning and done some cardio but we decided to go on a walk along the Promenade and I’m so glad we did.  Not only did we get a little more cardio but the weather and good company seriously made me so happy.  After the prom walk we grabbed some beer and snacks (I had delicious clam chowder) and then headed back to the house for a bit.  Karen (mother in law) was going to make salmon but it was getting late and so we decided just to head down to Pacific Way for pizza.  Yum!  Pretty sure I couldn’t ask for much more in my perfect day.

So pretty

My family

Picture perfect

Pepperoni & pepperchini's for Chris, thai chicken basil for the rest of us

How cute is this guy?

Budgets Part 1 – Grocery Shopping

Piggy Bank

Last week I was chatting with a friend at work, saying that I’d been able to leave the grocery story with only a $47 bill for all our food for the week and she told me I needed to write a post about budgeting. And then, this weekend hanging with Kara and her sister, we also talked budgets. So I thought I’d post some thoughts to paper computer.

Now, that $47 bill was insane. Probably one of our cheapest bills in a long time. And I should also add that we bought all our protein (chicken and shrimp) at Costco the week before so that didn’t factor in. On average, our weekly grocery bill is around $65. Again, not including Costco which is probably $80-100 every couple weeks. I do find it a fun challenge to keep the bill as low as possible but still getting to eat the foods I like (and that are healthy). Here are some things I use that seem to help:

1. Meal plan. I sit every Sunday and plan out all our dinners for the week, Sunday – Friday. I leave Saturday out because that’s always a random night. Either a date night or going with friends or something. Unless Chris has a huge desire for something I usually make the meal plan and then run it by him. Sometimes we stick with my plan, sometimes we change it up. I then plan out what I need for lunch every week and then ask Chris was he needs for his lunches. After that I figure out if we need anything for our breakfast – usually just milk because we buy our blueberries at Costco.

2. Make a list. Using the meal plan, I write out a list over everything we’ll need. I’ll go through the cupboards and see what we have (do we have noodles, did we not eat all our apples?) and I’ll add on any non food items (toothpaste, soap etc). I never, ever, ever come to the grocery store without a list. I do not trust myself. I could wander around those aisles forever and probably walk out with a $200+ bill every time. For me, I need to be focused. It’s a task, just something to get crossed off the list (Chris has been good about helping me with this. He’s not a fan of going grocery shopping but there is never anything random bought when he’s there).

3. Only go to the store once a week. If you forget something to a recipe, too bad. Make whatever you have at the house work. Of course, go if you HAVE to (we mis budgeted the amount of milk last week and had to stop at the end of the week) but go with a list and just get those items. I’ve learned that when we’d go randomly mid week we’d always end up with at least a $20+ bill because we’d buy random things there.

4. Most of the time, store brands are just as good as the name brand. I get the Fred Meyer brand of all our canned goods, sour cream, yogurt etc. And the Kirkland/Costco brand for detergent, paper towels etc. I also just found at the Kirkland shampoo is the Pureology brand. That stuff is awesome. Definitely checking that out next time.

5. Buy in bulk for the staples. We’re ok about this. We use black beans and corn like crazy. It’s always in my lunch and at least once a week in dinner so we’ll buy the cases of the cans at Costco because it’s much cheaper than buying single cans each week. If our favorite noodles or ground turkey breast is on sale we’ll buy two. If you use it all the time, it makes sense to have a couple on hand. However (and I think we need to change this) we don’t do this for our protein – chicken and shrimp. I think it would make more sense to buy these in bulk while we’re at Costco and only go once a month but since they’re such big ticket items it’s hard to swallow the bigger bill. More to come on that decision.

6. Spend most of your time in the produce section. It’s healthier to be eating lots of veggies, plus the fresh ones are better than frozen. And usually it’s cheaper to buy fresh cilantro, yams, broccoli etc than having to pay for pre-packaged, processed versions of the same thing. It might be more work to wash and prep it yourself but it’s better for you and your wallet.

7. Buy organic when getting anything off the dirty dozen list but buy regular things for the rest.

8. Get an app. There are a lot of apps out there for coupons and sales. Check out ones for specific grocery story or coupons.com. It can help you make your meal plans based on what food is on sale or what bulk items you could stock up on.

I think that’s it for now. Those are the big things we stick to when heading to the grocery store. The one thing to note about our budget and shopping plans is that we never really have a lot of snacks in the house. Sometimes this gets really annoying like when I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat. But, those times are few and far between. And I can always seem to round up something, even if it is random like tomato soup and a cheese quesadilla. The one benefit to not having a lot of snacks in our house is that I’m not munching on a lot of unnecessary calories. When we do have snacks in the house (like chips and salsa/humus) I tend to be a bit of a snack monster about it. I’ll come home from work and eat a bunch of chips when I’m not hungry which is no good. Better not to just have them around me.

I’ll work on another post later where I talk about our general home/shopping budgets.

Enjoy

Shorts-weather legs

I got out of a meeting late today so had to miss pilates (sad).  But instead it gave me a chance to mix things up and do my own leg workout.  I love to workout my legs.  That’s what I would do every day if I could but my knees don’t really think that’s cool.  Luckily they cooperated today and my knees were only slightly sore on the walk back to my office.  We’ll see how they feel tomorrow. I’ve got to get these puppies in shape.  I leave for Maui in a week!  Need to look good in my shorts.

Pretty please can I have these legs?

For this workout, I did my 3 sets of leg press all together to start things off and then ended with the 3 sets of my leg extensions. For the rest of the workout I did 1 set and moved through all the exercise and then repeated for a total of 3 sets on each thing.  Make sense?  After this I did 15 min on the rowing machine and 15 min on the treadmill, 4.0 at a 5% incline.

  • Leg press  – on a machine.  3 sets.  15 reps.  60 pounds (my knees did not like this)
  • Parallel Bench Squats – 3 sets, 15 – 20 reps with 20 lbs.  Stand in front of a weight bench, legs parallel, knees over toes, squat down so that your butt just barely touches the bench.  Stand, repeat.
  • Plié/sumo squats – 3 sets, 15- 20 reps. Weightless.  Stand in an exaggerated plié/ sumo stance (toes should be pointed out).  Squat down so your legs are parallel to the ground.  Return to standing.
  • Step Ups – stand in front of a weight bench with 10 lb weights in each hand.  Start with the right leg and step up on the bench, raise your left knee.  Step down with your left leg.   Repeat.  20 reps on each leg.  3 sets.
  • Deadlift + bicep curl.  10 points in each hand.  Straight leg dead lift into a bicep curl.  3 sets, 12 reps.
  • Standing lateral leg raises.  3 sets, 20 reps on each leg.
  • Calf Raises.  Holding 20 pounds.  20 calf raises with legs parallel, 20 in turn out.  3 sets.
  • Dumbbell side bend – 3 sets, 20 reps.  25 pounds in on hand, bend to the side and use your obliques to pull you up.
  • Balancing leg extensions – not sure what to call these.  I sat on a weight bench, balanced so my legs were elevated and then straightened/bent them to do an ab crunch.   3 sets of 25.
  • Leg extensions – on the machine.  3 sets.  12 reps.  30lbs.  (Also killed my knees)

SPICY Chipotle Chicken + Cilantro Lime Rice

I found this recipe on Pinterest 2 weeks ago and pinned it because it looked delicious and it was from a clean eating site.  We bought all the ingredients last week andnever ended up making it so tonight we gave it a shot.  Verdict?  Yum.  But boy oh boy was it spicy.  The chicken and the rice were fine but I poured on some of the marinade over the chicken and rice.  Holy moly.  My lips were seriously burning by the time I was done eating.  I even had to pour on some extra sour cream to take away the heat (did you know dairy – especially milk, will counteract anything spicy?  Try it.  It works).

Anyway, here’s the original recipe that I followed.  I used two chicken breasts, orange juice (instead of juicing an orange), omitted the orange rind from the rice (only because I didn’t have any) and used light butter syrup instead of maple (I don’t like maple syrup).  For the rice, I also added juice from half of a lime and about a teaspoon of garlic powder.

Chipotle Chicken + Cilantro Lime rice

Enjoy.

Crack Clusters

So this weekend my friend introduced me to cashew clusters from Costco but I think they should change the name to Crack clusters because I’m seriously addicted. I mean, literally cannot keep my hand out of the bag. It started yesterday when I was hungry on the train. “Just 5, 1 serving, 150 calories” I told myself. And then I had about 15ish. Yup. About 500 calories. In my belly. Got home. Had more.

Then today I had a tough day and wound up in tears because of a couple different reasons and kind of just wanted to drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine or a bag of cookies. But I couldn’t (thank you January challenge) so I ate some crack clusters. So many that I can’t even make a reasonable guess. More than yesterday. A lot more. Whoops.

But somehow they made me feel better. And I’m ok with the fact that I just consumed more calories in 20 min than I did in the entire day. Sometimes you just need a good cry and some deliciously crunchy cashew goodness.

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Holy Banana’s Batman – Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

I have a huge sweet tooth and am always looking for new healthy treats, plus I can’t eat sugar because of the January Challenge.  I’d seen a recipe like this on Pinterest and wanted to give it a shot plus I wanted to try out my  new powdered peanut butter.  This definitely exceeded my expectations. Super tasty!  I think it will be even better on a hot day during the summer.

Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

1 serving, about 125 calories, 5 g protein.

  • 1 frozen banana chopped up into small slices/disks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut flour (I used this stuff but PB2 is another popular brand)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Put the frozen banana slices and milk into a food processor.  Blend until a creamy mixture forms.  Add peanut flour.  Blend.  Get a spoon.  Enjoy immediately (kind of a soft-serve type texture) or freeze for later.

I think this would also be good with some add-ins, like dark chocolate chunks, butterscotch/PB chips, maybe even crushed graham crackers.  The possibilities are endless.

1st, the banana forms into crumbly pellets

Then it gets smooth

Then you add peanut butter

Holy Banana’s Batman – Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

Then you eat

Strangers on a train

Well, not really.  No strangers that I’m talking to anyway.  It’s just a David Nail song that’s been in my head all morning.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m on a train right now heading to Seattle to spend the day with Kara, one of my best friends.  We actually haven’t hung out since my WEDDING!  which is totally crazy so we planned this girl’s weekend a while ago.  It almost didn’t happen with this snow and rain situation but luckily the train took off on time this morning and so far, no delays.  And the train has wifi which is nice.  I’ve cranked out a couple briefs, listened to some tunes… Should be there in less than an hour.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge from the train

Looking forward to hanging with my pal and finally meeting her little boy who just turned 1.  Can’t believe I still haven’t met him!  I’m also hoping I can keep myself in check on the eating/drinking situation.  I’ve been super happy with the numbers on scale this week and I just don’t want to ruin it.  We ended up at Journey’s last night (after attending a Seaside High school basketball game.  They won.  Go Gulls!) and because we’re in the mug club and a delicious cider was on draft I decided to give in and give up a point.  And then, because my train left at 8 this morning and I was assuming I wasn’t going to make it through the next 24 hours without a glass of wine (or 2) I decided I needed to stay up until midnight and get my 30 minutes of excercise done so I would only have to go back to work and write two 3’s on the board instead of a 3 and a 2.

We got home, turned on the rest of Pure Country 2 (don’t ever watch it.  Horrible.  Nothing like the original Pure Country), I set my timer and got to work on some pilates type exercises:

  • Hip Bridges
  • Hip Bridge Leg Lowers
  • Prone leg raises (laying on my back)
  • Prone lateral leg raises
  • Prone leg circles
  • Butterfly leg extensions
  • Bent knee extensions
  • Bent knee lateral extensions
  • Crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Pilates “side leg series”
  • Donkey Kicks (on hands and knees)
  • Leg circles (on hands and knees)
  • Leg raises (on hands and knees)

Shrimp tacos with cilantro lime sour cream & “my favorite” salsa

Like I’ve mentioned before, I love shrimp and last night when I asked Chris what he wanted for dinner tomorrow he picked shrimp tacos because he loves shrimp too.  Good thing.

Tonight’s dinner is probably my favorite meal that I’ve ever made.  All the flavors come together perfectly and you don’t use any cheese which is a nice calorie saver.  The original recipe is from here but I’ve adapted it a bit.  And I should also warn you that this is another spicy one.  Like really spicy.  Like I chop up an entire jalapeno, seeds and all.

Spicy Shrimp tacos with cilantro lime sour cream and “my favorite” salsa

2 -3 servings (usually have leftover sour cream and salsa)
Approximately 400-500 calories & 25 g protein per serving (depends on how much you put on your taco)

For the shrimp:

  • 20-24 medium shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions: marinate and cook shrimp like I explain here

Shrimp

For the sour cream:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • juice and zest from one lime
  • salt to taste

Directions: Mix everything together in a small bowl

cilantro

Cilantro lime sour cream

For the salsa:

  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 15.25 oz can sweet kernel corn
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro

Drain and rinse the corn and beans.  Dice up the jalapeno (include seeds for extra spice).  In a medium size bowl combine corn, beans, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and taco seasoning.  Stir.  You’re done.  Grab some tortilla chips and munch on chips and salsa while you’re waiting for the shrimp to cook.  But don’t eat too much.  You want some for the tacos.

"my favorite" salsa

Once everything is ready, you can either make this with two small flour tortillas (preferably whole wheat) where each person gets 12 shrimp (6 per taco).  Or if you don’t have the small tortillas, use one big tortilla and 10 shrimp.  To assemble, layer your tortilla with some sour cream, add in salsa, top with shrimp and either wrap for a burrito or fold for tacos.  I like to microwave mine for about 20 seconds to get it all warm.  Then you eat them.  Chris and I usually put the leftover bowl of salsa and sour cream in between us with some chips and stuff ourselves way too much with the delicious goodness.

So freaking good

Spicy Shrimp, Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pasta

I love shrimp.  It’s in my top 5 favorite foods of all time (pizza, shrimp, corn, cheese and peanut butter).  It’s my favorite source of protein and if it was left up to me I’d eat shrimp for dinner every single day.  We always buy the big, bulk bags of shrimp at Costco (not farm raised and not proud of that but it’s so convenient) and at least once a week have some sort of dinner with shrimp.

A few weeks ago Chris was out of town and that’s usually when I experiment with new (slightly weird) recipes based on whatever is in the house.   And initially I used kale (because that’s what we had) instead of the broccoli and sautéed it so that it was all spicy.  I loved it but it gave it a little bit of a weird texture which I didn’t think Chris would like so when I made it for the both of us I decided to sub in broccoli (which he isn’t a fan of either but likes better than kale)  for our green veggie. I was a little nervous the first time I made this for Chris but he loved it.  The trick is to get the brocoli a little over cooked so you can stir it all in together (it’s the texture of it that bother’s Chris).  I’m sure I’m losing some sort of nutritional value by doing it this way but at least it’s green and it’s a veggie.

Spicy Shrimp, Broccoli & Goat Cheese Pasta

Servings: 3

About 400 calories per serving (depending on how much cheese you use) 14 G protein

  • Half a box of whole wheat spaghetti/thin spaghetti noodles.  Check the serving size but one box should have 7 servings.  We split the box so technically it should be enough for 3.5 servings but what can I say?  I love this meal and eat a little more than I should.
  • 12 medium size shrimp, peeled and de-veined.
  • 1 large head/crown or 2 small heads of broccoli (could also use kale)
  • Olive Oil –I kind of  eyeball this
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 container crumbled goat cheese (should have about 4 servings in the container)

Directions:

Mix your peeled and de-veined shrimp in a bowl with the crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and cayenne pepper.  Note – I like my food SPICY so if you don’t, dial down the amount of pepper you use.  I often keep dumping cayenne in until the shrimp turn red.  The hotter the better!  Add olive oil to the mixture, just enough to make everything stick to the shrimp.  Probably about a tablespoon.  Cover your bowl of shrimp (I just put foil over the bowl) and put in the fridge to marinate.  You could also do this step the night before to get them really nice and spicy.

Shrimp Marinade

Meanwhile…As your shrimp are in the fridge:

Pot 1:  Boil/cook your noodles according to the package.  Should take about 8-10 minutes.

Pot 2:  Broccoli.  Once you have your noodles cooking, rinse and cut your broccoli.  Because Chris doesn’t like the texture, I pretty much cut off all the stems so I’m just left with crowns and I chop them up really small. Grab a small pot, put about 2 inches of water in it and then place a veggie steamer basket inside of it. Put your broccoli in the basket and cover.  Make sure your lid covers to make a seal, you don’t want any of the steam escaping.   Put that pot on the stove, medium to low heat for about 3-5 min.  Test the broccoli occasionally and remove it from heat once it’s at your desired “softness.”  Leave broccoli in the pot for now.

broccoli

When you have about 2-3 min left on your noodles, take your shrimp out of the fridge put the entire bowl including any leftover marinade into a medium size saucepan  (spray with olive oil if you don’t have enough marinade to grease the pan) and put it over medium heat.  Cook for about 2 -3 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

Shrimp

While the shrimp are cooking your noodles should be just about done.  Take those off the stove, drain the water and put the noodles back in the pot.  Add your brocoli and shrimp including any leftover sauce in the pan.  And then pour in some olive oil.  I eyeball this but I’d say about 2 tablespoons. You want everything coated and easy to stir.  Then add in the goat cheese and mix it all up while everything is still warm so the cheese melts and gets all creamy.  I love goat cheese so it tastes amazing to me but you might want to use less (or more) depending on your preference. We each serve ourselves up a bowl and put one bowl away in the fridge for leftovers.

Yum

Enjoy