Beet brownies

So the last time we were at Costco I told Chris I HAD to have the party sized box of pre-steamed baby beets.  He told me it was an impulse purchase.  I told him he was wrong.  I’d eat all the beets in my lunches.

Um, that’s a lot of beets.  After going through a couple of packs I was beeted out.

So I did what any normal internet-loving lady would do.  I turned them into dessert.

Beet Brownies
Recipe from here.

  • 6-8ish pre-steamed baby beets (or real beets that you cook 1st)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 pan (I use olive oil in my mister). Mix everything up in a food processor.

Pour into the pan (lick the bowl too till its spotless because the batter is amazing). Bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool.  Eat.

Update – I tossed the extra brownies in the freezer (to prevent myself from scarfing them all at once) and turns out they are amazing frozen!  They taste sort of like a spicy cinnamon fudgesicle. 

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Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder

Today I worked out.  30 minute run on the treadmill plus level one of Jillian’s Ripped in 30.  Here’s to making it a good week.

And I also wanted a cozy soup for dinner so I made up a recipe.

Chipotle Chicken Corn Chowder:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can regular corn (drained)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 6-8 red potatoes (small cubes)
  • Chopped cilantro (about a half of a bunch you’d buy at the store)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 4 chipotle peppers (from a can of peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 4 T adobo sauce
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 block fat free cream cheese cut in half
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions: put everything in the crockpot with the 2 chicken breasts on top. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it and put it back in the soup.

Now, because I made this recipe up I had to make some on the fly additions while it was cooking.  The soup was pretty watery. Not in a bad way, just more of a broth based soup when I had my heart set on chowder.  I’m thinking you could choose to remedy this a couple of ways.

You could:

1. Start with less chicken broth (next time)
2. Add in heavy cream (delicious but don’t need those calories)
3. Add in some cornstarch (wanted to but didn’t have any)
4. Add in some flour

Ding ding.  Winner is….#4.  I mixed about a half cup of flour with hot water to make sort of liquid flour (kind of a roux minus the fat) and then I dumped it into the crock pot at around hour 3.

This definitely helped thicken up my soup but next time I’ll make sure to use a little less broth and keep cornstarch on hand. Chris thought it was fine but I think just knowing I had to toss in some flour bugged me.

I also whipped up some cornbread, from scratch!  I normally use a mix from Marie Callendar but the last time we made it I read that you could make the cornbread in the microwave.  Um, that doesn’t seem normal to me so I said buh bye to random preservatives and used actual corn meal.

I am such a grownup.

Cornbread
Recipe adapted from here.

  • 1 cup Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 Degrees.

And there you go.  Cozy soup and corn bread.  You really can’t beat it.  Only thing better would be to eat this soup out of a cornbread bread bowl.  A girl can dream right?

PS We will be eating this chowder for the next 3 days at least.  It makes a lot.

PPS as I scheduled this post I realized tomorrow (or today when you’re reading this post) is my half birthday.  6 months left to be 30.

Fall days + Butternut squash sweet potato soup

So this past week has been awful…well, really just on the healthy eating/working out front.  Work is good, friends are good, life is good.  I just somehow can’t seem to pull myself together and get back on track in regards to all things fitness.  It sucks.  It’s hard for me.  It drives me crazy that I can’t focus on being fit right now and I HATE the number I see on the scale and the fact that my muscles aren’t where I want them to be.  But right now, I swear all my brain power goes to learning new things at my job and loving my husband.  Oh and I’m sick.  So there.  Poor me.

But since there’s no use crying over spilled milkshake I decided to embrace this rainy fall day and make some soup.  And not workout.  And lay around on the couch.  It’s been nice.

Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato soup

  • 6 cups butternut squash cubed (I used TJs)
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours and then transfer to a food processor to blend.  You could also use an immersion blender (I don’t have one but today made me realize it’s a great item for my Christmas list…hint hint to any of my family members that might be reading this).  I also added in a little more coconut milk as I was blending because I had to make this in batches so the liquid was a bit off.

The soup was super easy to make, my house smelled like Thanksgiving and it hit the spot for dinner on this rainy day.  I packed the rest up for lunches this week and I’m thinking about cooking up some bacon to sprinkle on top for some extra protein.
Because I fully intent to pull it together this week.  Good workouts, good eats and no sugar.

Hope it happens.

Turkey Mac

So I just opened up my pictures folder and found pictures to a dinner that I never talked about on here.  What the heck?  That’s what being busy will do to a girl.

So without further delay, here is a quick and easy, tasty dinner using some of my last summer tomatoes…cue the violins.

Turkey Mac
Inspired by this recipe

While approximately half a box of whole wheat penne noodles were boiling, I cooked up half of a container/package (?) of ground turkey breast (seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes and taco seasoning).  When that was almost done cooking I added in about 6 medium-sized freshly grown tomatoes and half of a can of corn.  I cooked all of that for about 8-10 minutes before adding in the noodles.  I topped off of that with 1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and added a little sour cream to my bowl.  Pretty much the easiest dinner ever.

Orange Juice

Today I can’t wait to wear this shirt (under my layers of black…down vest, rain jacket etc – 48 degrees at kickoff).

I’m so proud of my husband for helping to bring this to market :)  Go here for some info on the whole Beaver juice  story.

In other orange juice news, I used the freshly squeezed variety to make a super tasty dinner earlier this week.

Orange Paleo Chicken (adapted from original recipe here)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sriracha

Directions
In a medium size sauce pot, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, soy sauce and sriracha. Set over medium heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks.  For the chicken – heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a separate pan. Add the chopped chicken and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes). Add the chicken to the sauce pot and stir to coat with the orange sauce. These were the directions from the original recipe which I followed.  However, to cut down on pans I think you would be fine to cook the chicken until almost done and then just add all the sauce mix to the chicken and let everything thicken that way.

Serve over quinoa with a side of spicy green beans (olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, cooked over medium heat).

And unrelated to orange juice but more related to my overall health – I finished week two of the new job and am still alive (but tired).  I also managed to get in a workout every day this week even though some of it had to happen before and after work.  Here’s how they shook out:

  • Monday – Lunchtime pilates (with new work friends) + 30 minute incline treadmill walk after work
  • Tuesday: 45 minute run on the treadmill before work
  • Wednesday: 30 min cardio + lunchtime pilates (leaving a few minutes early)
  • Thursday: Quick 2.5 mile run after work on a new to me trail while waiting for Chris to get out of a meeting
  • Friday: 30 minutes of elliptical intervals + 30 minute butts & Guts class with my new workout pal Laura.

And finally, I wrapped up the week with half a high school football game (sideline view was nice).

Followed by dinner and a delicious sour beer at the Racoon.

And a cider at Journey’s.

And that brings me to now.  Off to pull myself together for game day.  Hope you all have great Saturdays.

2 types of peanut butter apple pie smoothies

I rarely buy flavored yogurt because they always have SO MUCH sugar.  Instead, I buy plain yogurt and add honey and sometimes fruit.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I was up at my parents house and they had some apple cinnamon chobani yogurt.  Um, holy cow.  Pretty much the best yogurt I’d ever eaten in my life.  Except that it had 20 grams of sugar.  20 grams.

But of course, I had to buy myself some when I got home and for a week or so I was hooked on this stuff.  But finally I came to my senses and realized, while incredibly amazing, I had to say goodbye.

But before I did, I decided to try it in a smoothie and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Peanut Butter Apple Pie Smoothie (take 1)

  • 1 container Chobani Apple Cinnamon greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1.5 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

Sometimes I still dream about this smoothie.  In fact, I had been dreaming about it for so long I decided to try to recreate it using whole foods without the extra sugar from the yogurt.

Here’s what I came up with.

Peanut Butter Apple Pie smoothie (take 2)

  • 1/2 medium honey crisp apple (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon + more for garnish
  • 1.5 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • (I was out of spinach but I’d definitely add it in if you have some).

I’ll be completely honest with you my friends, take 1 was better.  Whatever Chobani puts in that yogurt is incredible (and I will say that Chobani adds only natural ingredients so it’s not like there’s a bunch of fake crap in there, it just has a lot of sugar from the apples, apple juice – whatever magical mixture they put in there).  But take 2 was a nice substitute and made me feel a lot better about what I drinking.  I highly recommend both versions.  You really can’t go wrong.

 

Lunches and meal plans

So I sat down on Sunday will full intentions of posting all of this – my meal plan for the week complete with pictures of all my food prep. But then I didn’t. So you’re getting it two days late. And somehow without photo evidence of everything. Apparently I was so busy making things that I forgot to take pictures of two of my creations? What IS going on?

Meal plan:

Sunday: Papa Murphys

Monday
: On the fly made-up balsamic blackberry shredded chicken with quinoa and spicy green beans (this is going up on the blog sometime in the next week. I’m just one women. This post is taking all that I have).

Tuesday: Spaghetti. Nothing special here. Just whole wheat noodles, ground turkey breast, canned (organic) sauce plus red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning blend and garlic.

Lunches also involved some work. I went with shredded balsamic chicken with roasted balsamic veggies – brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. All of these were inspired by recipes but none were followed exactly.

This meal has been delicious so far, lets see how I feel about it on Friday. At this point, it’s definitely one I’ll re-create. I also made a few sides for pre and post workouts:

Pumpkin Amazeballs by fitnessista
Paleo pumpkin bars by eating bird food.

And now apparently I’m a grandma because it’s 8:47 and I’m falling alseep at the computer. That’s what busy days to to you right? Not to mention I got up at 5 to run on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Monday I tried pilates using the shuttle and it was a hassle but if I want to keep working out at lunch I’m going to have to make it work. I’m trying it again tomorrow.

And with that, I’m out. Hope you’re having a great week.

Efficient workouts + shrimp pasta

Week one of the new job is one the books.  Done and done.

I also tried out my new lunchtime workout schedule for the 1st time and I feel like it’s going to be doable.  Honestly the only negative thing that was going through my mind when I was dealing with all this job stuff was the fact that the building was off campus which meant I could no longer walk to the gym at lunch and will have to drive.  Huge bummer since that’s a massive part of my day but in the end I realized I can’t base my career on gym access.  So I’ve vowed to make it work.

The commute definitely adds some time into the equation so I’m realizing I’m going to have to get a lot smarter about my workouts.  Gone are the leisurely hour and a half sessions + locker room time.  From now on, it’s 60 min or less in the gym with 15 minutes to get ready, giving me 15 minutes for commuting.  Here’s how things shook out for day one:

30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Varying between resistance levels 7 -12, I alternated 30 sec to 1 minutes bursts to really get my heart rate going.  After that I did a quick dumbbell weight circuit 3 times through:

  • Front Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Lateral Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Single Arm Tricep extensions 8lbs x 12
  • Bent over rows 8lbs x 10
  • Squats 25 (varied between regular, side and sumo)
  • Side ab bends 16lbs x 25 per side
  • Step Ups on the weight bench 8lbs x 10

I did all of that in under an hour.  Nice.

And you know where else I was efficient this week?  With our Thursday night dinner.  I was still tired from my trip and Chris had firewood delivered and had to deal with stacking that.  We were going to go out or get pizza but I really wanted something healthy so I raided the kitchen and this is what I came up with.  It was delish.

Spicy shrimp Parmesan Pasta

  • 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • Whole Wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder

But because I was being so efficient I didn’t measure anything.  Here’s my best guess at directions to recreate:

Spray some olive oil on the shrimp, and toss with red pepper flakes, garlic and sea salt.  Steam the broccoli on the stove in a steamer basket while your noodles are cookie.  Cook your shrimp on a pan over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and broccoli to the noodles. Toss in a bit of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking and top with parmesan cheese.  I probably added about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup?

And of course, I topped it with sriracha.  So good.

Travel Zombie

I got home from North Carolina last night around 10:30 which for those of you unfamiliar with time zones is equal to 1:30 Eastern time.  Which normally wouldn’t seem that bad except that I’d gotten up at 5:30 EST to go running with one of my new co-workers (having gone to bed at midnight the night before).  So really, when talking PST, I was up from 2:30 AM – 11:30 PM and ran 4.3 miles, listened to 5+ hours of presentations, spent 3+ hours in airports and about 7 hours on various airplanes.  And then I had to be to work today by 8.

No wonder I handed Chris the cheese grader when he asked for the slicer this morning (duh, doesn’t everyone want shredded cheese on their sandwich).

But yeah, exhaustion aside, North Carolina was awesome and my new teammates are great.  I am so happy I went.  I didn’t take my big camera but here’s what I managed to capture on the ‘ole iphone.

Trip highlights include a round of golf (in much colder weather than anticipated), an amazing mexican feast (with the best tiramisu I’d ever had) at a co-worker’s house, and the early morning run around the UNC campus.  It was an awesome experience.

And because my blog is supposed to be about healthy living – I should mention that I actually ran both days.  Tuesday was on the treadmill and Wednesday was the outside run.  I make sure every time I get to a hotel to check out their workout facilities and the Carolina Inn had a great little room with some nice treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weights.  And I planned ahead and brought oatmeal and peanut flour mixes and just heated up water with the hotel room coffee pot so that I could still work-out, eat breakfast and make it to the lobby at the designated 7:30 am departure time.

Am I coherent?  All the sudden I feel like I’m tying random things and I really should stop.  I’m off to try to find some sort of dinner.  Nothing really sounds good so we’ll see what I come up with. Can’t believe tomorrow is only Friday.  I feel like it’s been ages since I was packing my bag up on Sunday.  Whew.  Time flies when you’re having fun?