Back on Track – Week 2

1 Feb

Another decent week on the books!

  • Exercise:
    • Run three times a week, in “training” for the Yeti Trail Series. I ran 4.5 miles Tuesday, 6 on Thursday, and 6 again (outside this time) on Saturday. My cold/sinus infection reared its ugly head late this past week, so I felt pretty miserable Thursday and Saturday.
    • Strength train via BodyPump two times a week. Pumped twice this week!
    • Practice yoga once a week. I squeezed it in while the girls napped Friday.
  • Nutrition:
    • Drink a concoction of apple cider vinegar and lemon water every morning. Check! I don’t think I’m going to continue this, as I don’t really see or feel any marked benefits from it.
    • Eat a vegetable at breakfast every day. Check! Again, still not as easy as I thought. I rotated between green smoothies and a “hidden greens” chocolate oatmeal, and I made high-protein zucchini waffles for a special breakfast Friday.
    • Have higher-protein snacks in between meals; try to have a fruit or vegetable with at least one snack every day. I had a lot of fruit this week, in addition to nuts and cheese. I had a bowl of cereal a few times, too, as well as crackers, both usually as my before-bed snacks.
    • Stick to higher-protein, lower-carb lunches and dinners. Check!
    • Have dessert only once a week. I slipped a little this week: I wasn’t feeling well later in the week, so I treated myself to an oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie Friday night and again Saturday night. Dessert this weekend was creme brulee, which was fantastic and totally worth the wait. My sweet tooth, though, seemed to act up on account of being under the weather.

Overall, I’d say I did pretty well again–another solid B+ with about a B+ effort.

A few highlights from last week:

  • Pearl couscous soup: This soup was great to have on hand for lunches this past week. Tasty and filling, thanks to plenty of veggies, fiber-full red beans, and whole wheat pearl couscous. It clocked in at only 174 calories per 1 1/2 cups, with just 10g protein.
  • Asian chopped salad with sesame vinaigrette: This salad was a beast! It was ginormous and required lots of chewing because of the hearty red cabbage, crisp snap peas, and sweet peppers and carrots. We added chicken on top for an extra protein boost, and mandarin oranges for sweetness, so it came in at 357 calories, with 23g protein.
  • Hidden greens chocolate oatmeal: Real talk: Zucchini and oatmeal go together very, very well. Think bread, muffins, even baked oatmeal. But zucchini did not jibe as well with regular stovetop-cooked oats. The texture, while tolerable, was not appealing. I was glad to get my greens in a pretty significant amount first thing in the morning, so I might make these again, but next time, I’ll “shred” the zucchini more finely in the food processor.
  • High-protein zucchini waffles: These were wonderful–especially warm with a good 2 Tbsp of real maple syrup. They reminded me of zucchini bread in flavor, but had more density. They clocked in at 421 calories, with 21g protein. Maple syrup adds another 100 calories. It’s a hefty breakfast, but it’s got plenty of staying power.
  • Beef taco bowls: A low-carb twist on the typical burrito or taco bowl, these were pretty good, more so, once you get past the strange texture of sauteed cabbage and carrots in your taco meat. We served these with a sprinkling of cheese and 1 ounce of blue corn tortilla chips; I had mine with a blob of guacamole, too. Stats: 446 calories, 31g protein.
  • Chicken fajitas: These were fan-freakin’-tastic! I served them for dinner with Christopher’s parents, and they went over very, very well. The recipe is so simple: Saute a boatload of seasoned peppers, onions, and mushrooms, then sear some seasoned chicken, and combine. We served them with small soft corn tortillas and guacamole. I didn’t even miss the rice or beans!

Some other observations:

  • I still can’t kick my TV-watching snack habit. At least most days, I made decent choices, or stuck to one serving of my snack.
  • If it’s in the house, it’s in my mouth. The mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and Hersey’s Kisses are gone. We munched on those Saturday night and Sunday.
  • I weighed in at 138.6 last Monday and at 138 this morning.

 

Here’s the plan for this week:

  • Roman-style chicken
  • Lasagna
  • Stuffed pepper soup

Here’s to Week 3!

Back on track – Week 1

25 Jan

About 10 days ago, I laid out my plan to get back on track: curb my sweet tooth, eat more protein and vegetables, and just feel better about myself.

So, how did I do with my goals?

  • Exercise:
    • Run three times a week, in “training” for the Yeti Trail Series. I missed a run because the girls and Christopher had the stomach flu much of the week, and we weren’t leaving the house.
    • Strength train via BodyPump two times a week. I missed a class for the same reason.
    • Practice yoga once a week. I skipped yoga in favor of a run Friday.
  • Nutrition:
    • Drink a concoction of apple cider vinegar and lemon water every morning. Check! I don’t know that it’s “helping” per se. I’ll continue it for another week, and I’ll re-evaluate then.IMG_20160117_122905Eat a vegetable at breakfast every day. Check! Not as easy as I thought. I rotated between a frittata with broccoli in it, green smoothies, and green overnight oats
    • Have higher-protein snacks in between meals; try to have a fruit or vegetable with at least one snack every day. I chose hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, almonds, and cheese. I also a few times chose cereal, popcorn, or pretzels/crackers. I find it’s hard to resist grazing when the girls are munching, because sometimes, my eating prompts them to eat — and when you’re dealing with sick toddlers, well, you throw the rules out the window. I also find it’s hard to resist the traditional after-dinner snacks of cheese and crackers. I will give myself credit, though, for sticking to one serving of those snacks.
    • Stick to higher-protein, lower-carb lunches and dinners. Check, with the exception of Saturday, when I ate over a pound of fresh pineapple for lunch. I ate buffalo chicken soup and celery for lunch most days, and a chicken dish with a vegetable on the side for dinner every day but Saturday, when we went out for pizza.
    • Have dessert only once a week. On Monday, I was given some homemade chocolate-raspberry cheesecake and immediately covered it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer to save for later in the week. On Saturday night, Christopher and I split the cheesecake, and it was divine! I only slipped twice: on Friday, mid-morning, I had three Dove chocolates (and while they were good, they weren’t as good as I remember) and then, around lunch, I had 1.5 servings of Annie’s bunny cookies. I blame my run-ger, as well as a long, arduous week, for those slips.

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Overall, I’d say I did pretty well. Maybe a B+, but a definite A for effort, especially given the circumstances.

Since I forgot to post my meal plan for the week, here are the highlights:

  • Cheesy ham and broccoli frittata: Super tasty, super satisfying for 415 calories and with 35g protein!
  • Blueberry, avocado, and spinach power smoothie: Very tasty and very filling, but surprising in nutritional stats–529 calories, 21g fat and 31g protein. Later in the week, I left out the scoop of protein powder, which brought the calories and protein down a bit.
  • Stoplight mango green smoothie: Another tasty and satisfying smoothie, but much lower on the nutritional stats. It’s weird to eat smoothies in the winter. But it’s wonderful to get a sweet breakfast without any refined sugar and a boost of (green) veggies.
  • Green Monster overnight oats: A way I can eat my greens and my oats in the morning? I thought this was a nice compromise. And while it tasted fine–like a banana, mostly–it needed more oats. And while it clocked in at about 400 calories, it could have used some toppings to make it more satisfying in terms of the eating experience.
  • Buffalo chicken soup: Topped only with green onions and served with celery on the side. Pretty light, but really yummy. Nice shot of protein at 23g.
  • Tandoori grilled chicken with Indian-spiced cauliflower rice: This meal was big on volume and low in calories! The chicken was incredible–juicy and flavorful. And the cauliflower rice was subtly spiced and a nice change from white rice.
  • Hot and sweet ginger-garlic chicken with stir-fried sugar snap peas: This meal was all about flavor! The pairing of sweet and spicy chicken and salty and spicy peas is on point. (I used chicken breasts, cut in half width-wise, instead of thighs, by the way.)

Some other observations:

  • I crave sugar and carbs most when I am tired.
  • I can’t kick my TV-watching snack habit. At least most days, I made decent choices.
  • I weighed in at 140 on Tuesday and at 138.6 this morning.

One more thing:

I used the Mayo Clinic caloric needs calculator, which takes into account age, height, weight, and activity level. I am 30, 5’4″ and about 138 pounds, and I selected:

Active: Include at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week, or 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least three days a week.

The result was a whopping 2050 calories. I was literally shocked! I guess it’s no surprise that MyFitnessPal’s suggestion for about 1400 seems low, even on days I don’t exercise. My body needs about 2000 calories just to function most days…

I used another calculator, and selected that I do intense (45 min. with elevated heart rate) activity 5 days a week, and the result was 2174 calories, or 1739 to lose weight.

Another said 2081.

The takeaway is that I probably realistically need about 1900-2100 calories most days. That’s quite a change from aiming for 1300-1600! And maybe that explains why I’m still hungry, even after dinner a lot of nights.

So, here’s the meal plan for this week:

  • More of the hot and sweet ginger-garlic chicken with stir-fried sugar snap peas
  • Asian chopped salads, topped with leftover ginger-garlic chicken
  • Beef taco bowls

Plus, a pearl couscous, vegetable, and bean soup for lunches.

Here’s to Week 2!

Getting back on track

15 Jan

I know, I know. I’m two weeks late for the New Year’s resolution train. And I’m full of excuses reasons as to why that train came and left the station without me aboard.

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Until today. Well, until Sunday, when all of this “getting back on track” truly starts for this girl.

Here’s my plan to kick curb my sweet tooth, eat more protein and vegetables, and hopefully, feel my best from the inside out:

  • Exercise:
    • Run three times a week, in “training” for the Yeti Trail Series, which has two remaining runs — a 15K on Feb. 6 and a 20K (almost a half marathon) on March 5.
    • Strength train via BodyPump two times a week.
    • Practice yoga once a week.
  • Nutrition:
    • Drink a concoction of apple cider vinegar and lemon water every morning.
    • Eat a vegetable at breakfast every day.
    • Have higher-protein snacks, not sugary granola bars, in between meals; try to have a fruit or vegetable with at least one snack every day.
    • Stick to higher-protein, lower-carb lunches and dinners.
    • Have dessert only once a week — and truly look forward to it and enjoy it!
      • Say no to treats leftover from events at work. Say no to packaged/processed goodies.
      • Say yes only if the treat is homemade and try to save it for my once-a-week dessert.
  • Accountability:
    • Sign up for the Pact app.
      • Commit to working out five days a week with a $5 charge per missed workout.
      • Commit to logging my food via MyFitnessPal seven days a week with a $5 charge per missed day.
      • Commit to eating 20 fruits or vegetables a week with a $5 charge per missed serving.
    • Create and share weekly meal plans on the blog; share weekly recaps on the blog.

I don’t really have a goal to lose weight, although I’d like to shed those few holiday pounds that crept back on. I really just want to feel better — feel healthy, feel strong, feel capable, feel proud of my choices, feel like a role model to my family and friends (especially my girls, who even though they are only 2 years old, do notice and follow in my footsteps), feel downright good.

If you’re interested in joining me, leave a comment here on the blog, or find me on Instagram (@kaylabee0418). I’d love the support, and I’d love to support you.

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

 

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God’s blessings and tiding of great joy this Christmas from our family to yours!

Quick and Easy Italian Quesadillas

3 Dec

Alright, confession time: I watch food shows while I run on the treadmill.

I probably look like a total goober at the gym, simultaneously drooling and sweating, huffing and puffing and muttering, “Mmm.”

Recently, I watched the Pioneer Woman make campfire quesadillas. She combined onions, red peppers, and mushrooms, which she sauteed in butter, with Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and goat cheeses in flour tortillas.

“Goat cheese in a quesadilla? That’s not Mexican!” I thought.

Within the week, I crafted a spin on her quesadillas. I combined onions, green and red peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms with mozzarella and goat cheeses in a corn tortilla.

The classic Italian vegetables paired with stretchy mozzarella and zippy tomato-basil goat cheese in a corn tortilla (which sort of is a call back to the classic Italian dish polenta) was a flavor win. And these quesadillas came together so fast!

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Quick and Easy Italian Quesadillas

(Inspired by the Pioneer Woman)

Serves 6-8

These quesadillas combine quintessential Italian ingredients, such as green peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese, in a convenient Mexican-inspired package. They’re super simple, perfect for weeknight eats, and can be customized according to varying tastes.

Ingredients

2 tsp. butter

2 tsp. olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 small zucchini, sliced into half moons

6 medium-large baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

salt and pepper, to taste

6-8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese

4 ounces goat cheese

12 small corn tortillas (such as the Mission extra thin corn tortillas)

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Directions

In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute until they just start to get soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers and saute until all the vegetables are tender and start to brown, about 10-12 minutes.

To assemble the quesadillas: Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray, then place one tortilla in the skillet. Sprinkle about 1/2 ounce of mozzarella cheese on top, then add a spoonful of the vegetable mixture; sprinkle another 1/2 ounce of mozzarella cheese on top of the vegetables, then add 1/2 ounce of crumbled goat cheese, and place another tortilla on top.

Press down on the quesadilla with the back of a spatula to ensure it holds together and then, when the bottom is golden brown and slightly crispy, flip the quesadilla and cook the other side until it also is golden brown.

Serve with marinara.

Review: Sunwarrior protein powder

13 Nov

Disclosure: I was sent a container of Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder to review. I am not otherwise being compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

The weather finally has taken a turn here in the Midwest. We were experiencing a bit of an Indian summer through September and October, but we now are experiencing true fall–bright, but blustery days with a distinct chilly bite in the air.

I love running in the fall, but I do not love pushing the double jogging stroller in 20+ mph winds! So, I’ve taken my workouts to the gym…which means I’m not so chilled that I can’t enjoy a post-workout smoothie!

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Representatives on behalf of Sunwarrior offered to send me a container of their Classic Plus protein powder in exchange for some play on my blog, and they challenged me to do more than simply review the product.

Of course, my first thought was smoothies. But then, my next thought was that smoothies are reserved for the summer.

Wait…what if we changed up the smoothie game with classic fall and winter flavors and/or fall and winter produce? Out with the fresh berries and tropical flavors and in with the apple, pumpkin, cranberry, pomegranate, and sunny Southern citrus and the warm, spicy flavors!

Done.

So what is Sunwarrior?

  • Great-tasting, raw, plant-based proteins that are perfect for muscle-building, weight-loss, recovery, and more.
  • Superfood supplements like greens, whole food vitamins, and liquid minerals.
  • Always free of GMOs, chemicals, acids, solvents, dairy, gluten, or anything artificial.
  • Silky smooth and delicious additions that enhance your smoothies and your life with nothing to slow you down!

I tossed around a few flavor combinations–apple-cinnamon, pumpkin spice, even peppermint mocha–but I landed on one of my favorite tastes.

My cranberry-orange smoothie combines the classic Thanksgiving flavors of cranberry and orange with vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder and old-fashioned oats for staying power and a shot of protein and fiber.

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Cranberry-orange smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup milk (skim, almond, or soy)

1/2 scoop Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder – vanilla flavor

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Zest of one orange

2 small-medium oranges, peeled and segmented (about 1 cup)

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine the milk, protein powder, and oats in the pitcher of a blender and let stand (while you peel and segment the orange). [This allows the protein powder to “dissolve” a bit and the oats to soften a bit.]
  2. Add the orange zest, oranges, cranberries, cinnamon, and vanilla and blend until smooth. [Because of the inherent texture of fresh cranberries, this smoothie will never be truly smooth; a higher-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, might blitz through them better than a standard blender.]

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This smoothie has that wonderful, almost nostalgic cranberry-orange flavor with a hint of sweetness from the vanilla-flavored protein powder. It has a unique texture, because of the oats and cranberries, and it clocks in at fewer than 300 calories. It makes a perfect post-workout snack or light breakfast.

Now, it’s your turn! Share your own fall or winter smoothie recipe in the comments. Three randomly-selected people will win a Sunwarrior starter pack.

Edited to add: The giveaway expires Dec. 4.

Review: SLS3 HiPZiPP running belt

4 Nov

 Disclosure: I was sent an SLS3 HiPZiPP in my size and color of choice to review. I am not otherwise being compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

With three full marathons under my belt (pun absolutely intended!), including one in the spring and one in the fall this year, I’ve developed a system for carrying my personal essentials, water, and fuel during long training runs.

It goes like this: Strap on my two-bottle Fuel Belt. Strap on my SpiBelt. Stuff in a couple of gels or a package of Honey Stingers, then, after my music and RunKeeper are active, muscle in my phone. Turn my filled-to-capacity SpiBelt to my back, and maneuver it between the bottles of the Fuel Belt. Run.

It’s a little cumbersome because my SpiBelt just isn’t that big–certainly not for a fairly large phone and a few packets of fuel.

I considered getting a FlipBelt, but I just never committed to it. Then, SLS3 offered to send me a HiPZiPP in exchange for a review, and I jumped on it. I had a couple weeks left of training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, and I thought I could take it out for a few test drives, in hopes of using it for the actual race.

According to the manufacturer, “Our high end, warp knit performance compression material is ultraflat, ultralight and you won’t even feel your HiPZiPP when you’re wearing it. It doesn’t bounce, there is no chafing and it hugs your hips. … The compression fabric holds the hipster belt in place securely no matter how far, how high and how often you jump, run, tumble, crawl or hike.”

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I selected a size large; I wear a medium, but thought since the belt is supposed to sit lower, toward the hips, that the larger size might be best on account of my–ahem–more shapely figure. I should have asked for a medium. During one of my last runs (on the treadmill) before the race, the belt rode up immediately, and my phone made it sag in front and bounce against my lower abdomen. It was so annoying. Fast forward a few weeks… I used three large safety pins to cinch the belt about an inch. It seemed to fit better. Last week (again on the ‘mill) for a fast 2-miler, the belt still rode up, but my phone stayed relatively in place.

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I’m not sure how low on the body this belt is intended to sit. If it’s supposed to sit at the hips, then I’m not sure how that works, because my butt (as my legs go back in my stride) pushes it up. If it’s supposed to sit around the waist, then I’m not convinced this is the product for me; when the belt rode up to my waist (and crept under my shirt), it made me very warm and slightly uncomfortable.

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I was attracted to the HiPZiPP because it had larger pockets for larger phones and more gels, and might allow me to carry a car key or an ID. But after trying out this style, I’m not 100 percent convinced this is the right product for me. I’d like to see what a true medium feels like, but I might just pass altogether and opt for a FlipBelt, per the recommendations of friends. I won’t get rid of my HiPZiPP altogether, though; I think it could come in handy for adventures that might prohibit me from carrying a purse, such as a casual hike, a concert, or an amusement park.

If you’d like to give the HiPZiPP a shot, I am giving one away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Or, if you can’t wait or if you don’t win, I have a discount code for $10 off. Just type in “HZ10” at checkout on the SLS3 website.

The belt retails for $29.90 from SLS3 ($24.90 on Amazon). It comes in eight vibrant colors and four sizes (XS-XL) based on hip measurements.

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And while we’re on the subject of new gear…

SLS3, which specializes in compression gear, recently launched a Trade-In and Trade-Up program; it ends Dec. 30.

How it works:

  • Send a pair of your old socks or sleeves to:
    SLS3 / Trade-In
    2613 Temple Heights Drive, Suite G
    Oceanside, CA 92056
    (Include a piece of paper with your e-mail address.)
  • Once the company receives your item, they’ll e-mail you a case sensitive code that allows you to purchase a pair of SLS3 compression socks or sleeve for only $15.
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