Sunday, March 22, 2015

RockCrok Sausage & Cheese Tortellini

This is quite the indulgence meal on 21-Day Fix. Though I don't think it's any worse then what you might find eating out though. We planned to have this for Valentine's Day dinner this year, but we both weren't feeling well so we had a few days later. Serve it with a nice french loaf bread.

I made it in the RockCrok but you could also alter it to make it in a sauce pan on the stove or maybe the crock pot. 

Sausage & Cheese Tortellini
Ingredients

  • 1 package of chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 1 package of your favorite tortellini (20 oz, we used three cheese)
  • 1 lb spicy italian sausage
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano), not drained
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese (try low fat).
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese for toppings

Directions

  1. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge, and let it sit while you brown your sausage in your RockCrok.
  2. Add tortellini, tomatoes, and broth to the RockCrok and stir. Cook for 12 minutes in the microwave. 
  3. Dice the cream cheese into small cubes. 
  4. Remove from microwave, add the cream cheese, put lid back on. Let sit 5-minutes. Stir and serve!

If making in a crockpot: 
  1. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge, and let it sit while you brown your sausage. 
  2. Add the sausage, tortellini, tomatoes, and broth to your crock pot and stir. 
  3. Dice the cream cheese into small cubes and place on top. 
  4. Cook on LOW for a total of 4 1/2 hours. Stir at 2 hours, and again at 4 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking. This will give the sauce some time to thicken up.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Banana-Strawberry "Ice Cream" (21 Day Fix Approved)


Have I mentioned yet this week how much I love my food processor? If I had more counter space it would be a permanent fixture. I use it for so much! Everyone should get one. Getting married? Put it on the registry. Having a baby? Put it on the registry (you'll use it to make baby food, so it's a need.) Birthday coming up? Ask for this. I have the 14-cup Cuisinart. My mom and grandma gave it to me at my Bridal Shower. (I remember things like that.) 


4 Ingredient "Ice Cream"
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1-inch slices(frozen)
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Instructions
1. Place banana slices on a plate, separating each slice. Place slices in freezer for 2 hours (overnight is best!).
2. Remove strawberries and bananas from freezer and place in food processor, blend until they are the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
3. Add almond milk(more or less for desired texture)and vanilla and blend until smooth and well-mixed.
4. Transfer ice cream to a freezer container and freeze until solid. (You don't have to wait if fruit is frozen, it is like soft serve ice cream)
5. Scoop with ice cream scoop and serve.

One CUP of this counts as a purple container on the 21 Day Fix! 

You can really use any frozen fruit to make this. I might add some cocoa powder next time and peanut butter to make Chocolate PB. And brownie pieces. (Just kidding!) My husband doesn't like bananas, but I bet I could get him to eat some of this ice cream. 

CrockPot (RockCrok) Buffalo Chicken Chili

This is one of my new favorite soups. I shared the recipe with a coworker and he raved about it. Additionally, it was requested at our work pot. I'm trying to dig up a picture, but it's orange. The wing sauce turns it orange.  

The original recipe can be found here. I've added a few extra things and noted my actual measurements. Additionally, while you can do it in the crock pot, I made it in the RockCrok!! 

Buffalo Chicken Chili
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ - ½ cup buffalo wing sauce (start with ¼ cup and add more at end if needed)
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • Blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Crockpot Instructions
  • Brown ground chicken until fully cooked, place in crockpot (or brown ahead of time and store in fridge until ready to assemble)
  • Add remaining ingredients except for cream cheese and blue cheese and stir to combine
  • Add block of cream cheese on the top and cover
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8
  • Stir to incorporate cream cheese and add additional wing sauce as desired
  • Top individual bowls with blue cheese crumbles if desired
RockCrok Instructions
  • Brown ground chicken until fully cooked (or brown ahead of time and store in fridge until ready to assemble)
  • Add remaining ingredients except for cream cheese and blue cheese and stir to combine
  • Cook in the microwave (with LID) for 13 minutes. 
  • Add the block of cream cheese on the top and cover
  • Stir to incorporate cream cheese and add additional wing sauce as desired
  • Top individual bowls with blue cheese crumbles if desired

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What can a "cleaner" diet do for you?

IT CAN LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL!!!!

Most people are told they need to lower their cholesterol. I won't go into details - we all know why, high cholesterol = elevated heart attack risk. But how do you lower it? That's so much harder!! The answer you're always given is Diet & Exercise. Well that's kinda general, right? And how long will it take? It can take a while. But, if you work hard and make a lot of changes, you can get your numbers down too! 

How did I do it? Note - I did this in TWO months, not necessarily five. My eating habits last September through December didn't change. Probably got worse actually.


For those paying attention -- why the sudden drop from July 2009 to November in 2010? Unemployment plus a new job. I lost my job in February 2009 and then lost 30+ pounds. Started a new job in June 2009 and my eating and exercising went out the window. Look what a YEAR can do!

When I got engaged (August 2011), my total cholesterol (the blue line) was still high and peaking, and the triglycerides weren't going anywhere either. My doctor told me if I wanted to have a baby, I had to get my cholesterol numbers down because you can't be on the medication and pregnant. So I did. They weren't perfect, but April 2012 showed improvement.

So I had my baby (September 2013) and then let my eating habits get the best of me again. And I was home, eating Sloppy Joe Burritos and Oreos. Then I started the new job (July 2014) and the new diet (January 2015).

2015 is still all about change. My scale hasn't moved, but look at this non-scale victory!! My doctor says to keep it up. While I crave a few junk items, I don't crave fast food. The only thing I really crave and miss is chips. And I eat them every once in a while. We had Mexican this past weekend. And I got the chimichanga . Because that's what I crave. Chips and a fried burrito. :)  So once every 3 months I'll go get one.

My other cravings include the simple things like White Bread Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (it was just winter...), Chocolate, Soda, and Cookies. I have to feed those cravings every now and then, but it's a lot less frequency and a lot less quantity then before the new year. 

I have been drinking a daily protein shake too. Big splurge and I drink the Beach Body's Shakeology. I'm not sure if everything that's packed into helps, but it can't be hurting. It also satisfies my chocolate & sweet craving 99% of the time. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Greek Turkey Burgers

This is one of my favorite recipes. I haven't made them recently and I plan to make them again soon! I served them up on Pita bread with the homemade Tzatziki sauce. They are delicious!!!

Greek Turkey Burgers
Ingredients

  • 1 package (.7 oz.) Italian dressing mix
  • 1 1/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • Pita Bread
  • Optional Topping: Dice up 2 Roma Tomatoes and 1/2 a cucumber, more feta cheese

Directions

  1. Mix the burger ingredients together. Measure out 1/2 cup portions and form into patties (should form 5 patties.
  2. Grill up the hamburgers 
  3. Shove in a pita (I had to cut them in half!) with Tzatziki sauce and the tom/cuc mixture. ENJOY!
If you're counting this on the 21 Day Fix, I'd count it as 1 Red, 1/2 Yellow, and 1/2 Blue (if you add more cheese.) 

Monday, February 16, 2015

21 Day Fix - 42 Days - Plateau

I have now completed Week 6 of the 21 Day Fix Diet. There's been some up and downs (see the previous post.) But I'm not perfect. I can't have 52 good weeks.

What motivates me to continue? I have started and QUIT a lot of previous Beachbody fitness programs. We own the majority of them. P90X, P90X2, Insanity, TurboFire, T25, 10-Minute Trainer, and 21 Day Fix. Usually I miss a workout in the first or second week and get discouraged and quit after a week or two because it's just too hard. And then it's back to all the old habits.

This time? It's different. I feel different about all my reasons. Sure, I want to be skinnier, even skinny people want to be skinnier. But I want to avoid all the health issues and costs that come with health problems. And time. My time is a lot more valuable then sitting in doctor's offices or recovering from a knee surgery or being sick. I just have to commit 30-minutes a day to avoid a lifetime of problems.

The challenge group I'm a part of keeps me going too. Seeing all these other women working hard inspires me to keep going.

My Polar calendar motivates me. I want to fill in all the squares with workouts!! I want to have more more workouts and more calories burned than the week before.

I honestly think that the 21 Day Fix is one of the best Beachbody programs they've released. The workouts are not hard. The meal plan is not hard. Any person of any weight, any age can do these workouts and follow the meal plan. I've heard that the new P90 is also designed for any type of person. I might consider doing that one next. I have 21 more days to go before I make a switch. And even if I switch workout programs, I'm going to stick with the meal plan. I feel a lot better when I'm not eating crap.

The Meal Plan
We're not perfect. Even this past week I was slightly all over the place with a few things -- and our house was hit with colds and stomach bugs. But our eating has drastically changed. We haven't had fast food in over 6 weeks. I've eaten twice at Panera. And we've had a couple cheat meals at good restaurants. For Valentine's Day this year we went out to breakfast. And I had planned a special dinner, but we postponed it to Sunday night. It's still not the healthiest dinner, but we have made healthier decisions since beginning this program 7 weeks ago. We used to eat out once a week and grab fast food 1-3 other times, especially on the weekends. Taco Bell has forgotten who we are by now. I think we ate there every Sunday afternoon.

Success - It's a mess!
The cheat meals are different. I don't cheat with junk either. If I want a cheeseburger, I will go find an amazing cheeseburger. And eat half of it. I have been craving a good cheeseburger - Ruby Tuesday always had one of my favorites. Or Mexican - Taco Bell won't cut it. I want something from a real Mexican restaurant or or even Chipolte. 

My weight hasn't changed since the first round of completing the 21-Day program. So as I wrap up the 42 days of this new lifestyle, I want to continue on. And I want to do better the next 21 days!! No more cheating. Cheat meal, not a cheat day. And no slacking on the workouts. (We did solve the TV problem.... new TV for upstairs, new Blu-Ray player for downstairs.) NO EXCUSES. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zucchini Cakes (21 Day Fix)

Did you ever eat potato pancakes growing up? I sure miss those!! I found a kinda similar, not really at all, recipe in the form of Zucchini Cakes! They were very good and very filling. 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smushed/pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or any flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil
Directions
  1. Grate your zucchini. I used the food processor. EASY. 
  2. Place zucchini in a bowl with the 1 tsp salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then, extract all the water from the zucchini. You can place it in a cheese cloth and squeeze. You can also place it in a colander and press the water out. You want to remove as much water as possible so the cakes form and stick together. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini and remaining ingredients (except the coconut oil)
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan.
  5. Use a 1/4 cup to scoop out the zucchini mixture. Place in pan and "press" down to form a small cake. 
  6. Cook 3-4 minutes, flip over and cook another 3-4 minutes. Cakes should have a golden brown crust. 

You can eat 4 of these to count as 1 Green and 1/4 Yellow (the flour -- if you are being super serious.) You've also got some Teaspoons in there from the Oil. 

Zucchini Cakes & Spaghetti Squash

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grilled London Broil

(This blog post is from April 2014. It's been saved as a draft for a long time. I think I was waiting to post a picture. I want to post it so it's out of my draft file!)

London Broil is a tough cut of meat that requires marinating for more than an hour. So plan ahead! 

Grilled London Broil Marinade
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8 ounces Apple Juice
Mix the ingredients in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Add 1 or 2 London Broil "steak cuts". Marinate over 4 hours. 12-24 hours is ideal. 

Grill to desired temperature. We use a meat thermometer while grilling in order to make sure my steak is a wonderful medium-rare and the husband's is a medium. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beef and Broccoli (21 Day Fix)

How delicious is Chinese food? And how BAD is it? Very. Very very very bad. I found this recipe on Team Beachbody and decided to change it up a little bit. I find the hardest part of making a good beef and broccoli recipe is the chosen beef. I think it's not so much which type of beef you use - but how you marinate it. It's usually recommended to use Flank Steak - and I agree. However, in "Use what you have", I chose a sirloins steak for this dish. I like this recipe because it incorporates peppers, and I added some extra veggies. It is very filling too!

Healthier Beef and Broccoli
Note - You must marinate the steak 4+ hours. Prepare wisely!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound flank steak, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups snap peas (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp (dry) Ginger
Marinade Ingredients
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Seseme Oil
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp (dry) Ginger or 1 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
  • 8 TBSP Water
  • 2 TBSP Corn Starch
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1 garlic clove
Directions
  1. Combine the Marinade Ingredients in a ziplock bag. Add the sliced steak to the marinade and place in fridge for 4+ hours. 
  2. Combine the Sauce Ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from skillet, keep warm.
  5. Add broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas, garlic, and ginger to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove broccoli mixture from heat. 
  6. Add Sauce mixture to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, or until thickened.
  7. Return beef and broccoli mixture to skillet; cook, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well mixed and heated. 
Measure out the meat - 1 red container worth, and two cups of broccoli & peppers, and 1/2 cup of snap peas for 1 yellow. The soy sauce mixture counts as 1/2 yellow. Serve with 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. 

Total count: 2 Greens, 1 Red, 2.5 Yellows. This dish was VERY filling. I was able to get 4 servings out of it. 

If you need less yellows, leave out the snap peas and reduce the rice. You can throw in some shredded carrots to bulk the dish up a little more. 

21 Day Fix - A bad week

So this week (Monday February 2 to Sunday February 8) wasn't the best. It was supposed to be our "Back to Basics" week to rejump our weight loss after a really rough weekend eating an AMAZING dinner Saturday night and horrible eating Sunday between leftovers and the Superbowl. Well, life happened.

The challenge group leader posted something that we all have to remember. I'm only one-month into this journey. And even though I had a rough week, I am one month healthier. I have one month of workouts behind me. I have one month of healthy eating behind me. This is a long journey and I will other bad weeks. It's how I handle the weeks after the bad ones that matters.  

Last Saturday, my company had our (very late) holiday party. We had dinner at Trattoria Marcella and it was amazing. AMAZING. I'm not sure there's enough AMAZINGs to describe this place. If you go - and you must go - get the Toasted Raviolis (T-Ravs), Meatballs or Lasagna, and Tiramisu. And split it with like 3 other people. Best food ever! I can't wait to go back. Like in a year, when my arteries have recovered. 

Sunday we tried to keep it simple with Nacho's for the Superbowl. (And Jason got some wings from Hooters.) I have a healthy and delicious homemade wing recipe, but you have to make like 4-dozen, and it takes a couple hours. But they are really good. I might have to make them again.

So back to the nachos. We did ok, except I ate too many chips. I did make the nachos fairly healthy - aside from the chips. We didn't have any fake cheese - used shredded cheese. I browned some ground beef with seasonings, and then we added lettuce and tomatoes and our homemade salsa. I didn't add Sour Cream! (Big change!) The nachos were very filling.

The workouts this week weren't up to par either. I got in my Monday workout. On Tuesday afternoon I picked up a sick kiddo from daycare and after being puked on and all the clean ups, I didn't get in a workout Tuesday night. We also had calzones from the freezer. Normally I would have had Jason pick up McDonalds, so at least we had a change there! Liam stayed home on Wednesday and while he napped I did get in a workout. I had a migraine Thursday and wasn't able to work out.

Friday night we had tickets to Disney Junior Live, with a dinner beforehand. I was supposed to work out when we got home, but didn't. I got in my Saturday workout and 10K steps. Sunday I slacked a little and just got in the 10k steps with a walk around the neighborhood. It's the first week since the start of the year that I didn't qualify for the "5th Workout of the Week" Vitality* points.

This week, I've planned better. We don't even have junk food in the house to ruin the diet with. For those interested - I have my meal plans posted on my google drive account and they are accessible through the Meal Planning Link at the top of my blog.

The only downfall this week is the Office Potluck. I'm making meatballs and Buffalo Chicken Chili. Someone else is bring Turkey Tacos, chili, there will also be Bacon and Salad. There's also Valentine's Day. We are going out to breakfast at The Original Pancake House. For dinner I plan to make a Sausage & Tortellini dish. It's not the healthiest, but we can at least control our dinner calories.

I'm going to aim to do morning workouts. I know it'll be better to get them out of the way. It's tough because the basement is cold. Additionally, the new TV we bought in December has to be returned. It's an RCA, 40-inch, smart, with DVD player. Well, it doesn't connect to digital cable and you need a converter box (even though it says Digital Tuner.) So I was learning to adjust to still needing two remotes. BUT, the DVD player has been intermittently working and then it's just stopped working. I wanted a smart TV and wanted *ONE* remote. But I still needed two, and well, at this point we are going back to our old TV and DVD player. We'll try to purchase a new smart TV sometime this year. Our upstairs TV has three remotes - TV, DVR/DVD, and ROKU. And we have two in the bedroom - TV/DVD and Amazon Prime. Might as well realize downstairs we'll probably need TV/ROKU and DVD player. OR, maybe we'll move the TV from upstairs downstairs and buy a new TV for the living room. <-- This is the test to see if my husband reads my blogs all the way through. ;-)

Vitality = A program through work where we earn points towards Amazon gift cards and gear (like fitbits and polar items.) It also is a way to reduce our health care costs. We earn points for steps, workouts (when I wear the Polar Heart rate monitor), taking online quizzes, meetings goals set for us, and having our bloodwork completed. We've earned $400 in amazon gift cards since we started in August. And I say we because Jason and I are a team. He earns points too. I also get points for vaccinating Liam, and getting flu shots and going to the dentist.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Greek Marinated Chicken


We wanted to get back to basics this week.... reboot our diet after a rough weekend with amazing food and the Super Bowl snacking. 

This recipe isn't the *healthiest* because of the yogurt. But by using greek yogurt, it can be healthier. You can use plain yogurt - but I don't know how that will turn out. You can serve it with some Tzatini sauce. Mine didn't turn out like this picture (that I swapped from Pinterest.) 

Greek Marinated Chicken  
Ingredients
  • 1 cup greek yogurt 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano 
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 medium lemon zest juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • freshly cracked pepper 
  • 3 to 4 lbs chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless, the picture used skinned and boned. Maybe that's where I went wrong?)
Directions

  1. Combine marinade. 
  2. Place pieces in marinade in gallon ziplock for 3-5 hours. 
  3. Bake 375 45-60 minutes or grill.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hearty Beef Stew - 21 Day Fix

I went searching through the Team Beachbody website and found a recipe for beef stew. I figured I'd give it a try. The only downside to this is the prep + cook time is almost 90 minutes. It takes an hour to cook after you get all your vegetables and meat chopped. Plan accordingly! I prepped it and then worked out while it cooked. 

It's very delicious and feels like a cheat meal! You wouldn't know you are "dieting" when you eat this.

Ingredients:
  • 1½ lb. raw lean beef stew meat, boneless
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1 (14 oz) can of low-sodium beef broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 14-oz of water (use the beef broth can)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 large red potatoes, cubed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Place beef, onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1/2 cup broth, and bay leaf in large stock pot.
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 60 minutes, adding additional broth as needed.

Yield: 6-8 servings
A two-cup serving counts as 1.5 Green, 1 Yellow, and 1 Red. 
You can serve it with quinoa, but take the serving/container into consideration.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Homemade Hummus

I love hummus. I can eat it with a ton of veggies, lots of pita chips, those little bagel chips.... more pita chips. Since it's ok on the 21 Day Fix, I thought I'd make my own. I found a basic hummus recipe and plan to dress it up with either a roasted pepper or avocado. Or extra garlic. 

Tahini is hard to find. My Walmart doesn't carry it, but Schnucks carried *one* brand in the Ethnic aisle. Luckily it's not too expensive and goes a long way. One $7 jar will make 5-7 hummus recipes. You can make your own and I found a recipe here

Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), reserve liquid
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame butter)
  • Sea salt & Pepper (to taste; optional)
Optional Extras:
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Avocado
  • Extra Garlic

Directions:
  1. Place chickpeas, lemon juice, oil, and garlic in food processor or blender and pulse until chickpeas are mashed.
  2. Optional: Add in the "extra" item you might want to flavor it with. I added one avocado this time. 
  3. Add tahini; pulse for 1 minute. If hummus is too thick, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid. Add salt if desired.

21 Day Fix - 1 Month - Results

I just completed my first month of following the 21 Day Fix eating plan and 3 weeks of almost daily workouts. 

I have lost 11.1 pounds and 8.25 inches! Most of my inches lost were from my waist. And my thighs didn't change at all. *shrug* not too worried about things. I have a few more months of this and few more pounds to lose.

I finally made a Motivation Jar. Or whatever you want to call them. It's a very simple visual to help keep me motivated. I have quite a bit of weight to lose to be in the proper BMI range. I think I can do it this year. I know I'll have some ups and downs and slow weeks, but if I stick with the program I can lose the weight. And this visual reminder will help me stay focused. Move all the marbles. That's the goal. 

I worked out 13+ hours in January over the course of 22 days! That's impressive since I was doing 1 day a week workouts in 2014. So what, *maybe* 52 workouts? Probably not even that....

My goal this week to workout in the morning. Which doesn't seem like the best change to make the day after the Superbowl. But I promised. I'm part of a challenge group on Facebook and a lot of the people work out in the mornings. So by the time I roll out of bed, there's a bunch of posts about their workouts and selfies. The challenge group helps me be accountable!

Here's an image of the workouts I knocked out in January! Go me. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

21 Day Fix - Week 3 Working Out, Week 4 Food plan

I can boast a 10-pound weight loss in the first 19 days of January! I'm feeling pretty good about it. Even though last Saturday I indulged a little too much at dinner, and I know that this Saturday will be similar, I'm not letting those set me back. In fact, I doubled up last Saturday and did 2 workouts -- Upper and Lower Fix. It felt great to be able to knock out an hour! 

I realized today that when I miss a day or two, I take a step back. Today I got winded during the exercise and had to pause it at 15-minutes to catch my break. The old Meghan would have turned off the DVD or let the video continue while she caught her breathe -- missing the next exercise (or four....) But I'd rather pause it and take an extra minute break. 

This week we've had a great menu. Turkey Meatloaf, Chicken Fajitas, even Beef Stew is planned for Thursday night! Next week we're going back to basics -- grilled chicken most nights, some fish, maybe a steak night. This should re-jump our weight loss as I begin the second round of DVDs and we continue on with the meal plan. 

Here's the calendar of workouts so far! Looking good! 3+ hours a week!! Seriously, WHO IS THIS GIRL? 







Crockpot Chicken Fajitas - 21 Day Fix

I found this recipe somewhere -- and it's not a difficult recipe to follow. Unless you're doubling it. And you double it, and you get to the end of the recipe and it says "Divide among 2 bags.". UGH! I doubled an already doubled recipe? Crud. So lots of leftovers.

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas
Ingredients
1.5 – 2 lbs. Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless 
1/2 medium – large white onion, sliced vertically 
3-4 Bell Peppers, any color, sliced into strips 
2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained (I used “Mild”) 
2 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
2 tsp. chili powder 
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
*Divide all ingredients into 2 large freezer bags

Directions
Cut things up. Put in crockpot for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Dish out 1 cup of veggies and 3/4 cup of chicken for 1 green and 1 red.
Add some whole grain torillas (yellow), and lettuce and homemade salsa (green).

Here's what mine looked like. They were SUPER filling. It counted as 1 Red, 2 Green, 2 Yellow, and 1 Blue (Cheese). I can't wait to eat them again!!!


Turkey Meatloaf - 21 Day Fix

I got this recipe from the Team Beachbody website. There is a large collection of recipes, but they are hard to sort through. For being a multi-billion dollar company, they have a crappy website. The meal plans are *not* worth the $2.99/month membership fee. (You don't need a membership to access most things on the website - but you do to get to the meal plan.) The recipes even tell you how they "count" for each program you might be doing. That's one of the good things. 

So I found this recipe for Turkey Meatloaf. Loaded full of veggies, uses ground turkey. Sure, I'll give it a try! And it was delicious. Even though it looks suspicious AND the first one fell apart. But, it was good and I would recommend it.


Turkey Meatloaf 
Yield: 10 servings
21 Day Fix - 1 Red, 1 Green
Ingredients: 
  • 2 lbs. raw 93% lean ground turkey breast 
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 cup old­fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1 (14.5­oz.) can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup all­ natural marinara sauce, no sugar added 
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. Chop everything really fine. I don't like a lot of chunks in my meatloaf so I wanted to make sure all the veggies were chopped small. 
  3. Combine turkey, eggs, onion, celery, bell pepper, oats, tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula. 
  4. Place turkey mixture in two 9 x 5­inch loaf pans (or a large cast iron skillet). Bake for 45 minutes; spread marinara sauce evenly on top of both loaves. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.

On the second day of eating meatloaf, I heated it in the toaster oven to give it a little more "crust". And I added an over-medium egg because I needed more protein. I had it with green beans and sweet potatoes. 

Meatloaf Royale


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup - 21 Day Fix

I made this last week and it doesn't even feel like a "diet". You can add cheese and greek yogurt to it. Eat it with a salad for a very filling dinner or by itself as a nice lunch. If you're not on a diet, indulge with some tortilla chips! 

Chicken Taco Soup
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (or broth)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours (can we say Super Bowl!).
  2. Once it's done cooking, pull out the chicken and shred. I used the Mix 'n Chop to do it. Add the shredded chicken back to the crockpot and let cook another 15-minutes. 
  3. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt (or sour cream), and crushed tortilla chips, if desired. 

Approx 6-7 1-cup servings. 
Measure 1.5 cups and count as  1 Green, 1 Red, 1 Yellow 
Make sure if you add greek yogurt and cheese you count those in addition! 

Stuffed Peppers (21 Day Fix)

I love Stuffed Peppers. Jason LOVES LOVES stuffed peppers. It's what he brought to the relationship, actually. I tried to make them healthier with ground turkey. He didn't care for the change. Because I love him, I went back to beef. 

I had to change up this recipe a bit from the 21-Day Fix SUPER friendly one I found online. We don't have lean beef in our house. We have a quarter of a grass fed, non-hormone raised cow. So while not the leanest meat, it can still be healthier than store bought beef. 

She also premade a lot of things and then measured. I'm all about "throw in a whole can of corn and see how it turns out." Turns out I made 10 peppers, so I'm not completely sure on the containers. I have probably overestimated the containers. However, I kept this recipe as if the mixture divides nicely into 6 containers. It would also depend on the size of peppers you are able to find. 

I cooked six and froze four for later. I prepped these the night before so they just had to be put in the oven. It is not an easy prep process!  

Note - when making stuffed peppers - you *must* boil the peppers to soften them up. Otherwise the peppers don't cook thoroughly and still have a little crunch to them. 

Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients

  • 6 Sweet bell peppers of your color choice
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef, seasoned with 21 Day Fix Southwestern Seasoning 
  • 1/2 Cup Dry/1.5 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa, cooked just shy of done
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Black Beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Corn, drained/rinsed
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef, seasoned with 21 Day Fix Southwestern Seasoning 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese


Directions


  1. Cut the caps of the peppers and clean out. Pre-cook the peppers by placing in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Cook brown rice, or quinoa according to directions 
  3. Brown ground meat and season with Southwest seasoning (See 21 Day Fix book). Set aside to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans and corn.  
  5. Combine in large bowl meat, tomatoes, corn, rice/quinoa, beans, and sauce.
  6. Stuff peppers with filling.
  7. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. 
I counted it as 1 Red, 2 Yellow, 2 Green, 1/2 Blue. As mentioned above, that's per 6 peppers. It's probably less since I split the filling into 10 containers. 

21 Day Fix Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Salmon Patties & Tzatziki -- 21 Day Fix Friendly

My mom used to make salmon patties and I always loved them. Usually I ate them on a bun with tarter sauce. Can't do that, but it is an item loaded with lots of protein. Eat it with some homemade Tzatziki sauce and veggies.

Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties
Note - these are best made the night before!
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces canned salmon
  • 3/4 cup whole grain panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp diced onion
  • 2 tsp parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. (The Mix N Chop does this very well!) 
  2. Form into four patties. 
  3. Place patties into sealed container -- otherwise they will stink up your fridge! 
  4. Let rest at least 20 minutes. I prefer overnight. 
To Cook

  1. Place 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan. 
  2. Place Salmon Patties in pan and cook on each side approximately 5-6 minutes. The salmon is already cooked so you're just trying to warm them up and cook the egg. 

Note - as you can see from the picture, one of mine fell apart. I wasn't concerned because I wasn't eating these on a bun. It also shows I don't have enough binder. I might add a tablespoon or so of greek yogurt next time, or milk. Usually you add some mayo to salmon patties to help bind them. That's a no-no on the 21DF.

This counts as 1 Red and 1/2 Yellow.

This Tzatziki recipe was shared on facebook and is very delicious. If you grind up the cucumber a little more, it'll make a great dip for veggies! And on the 21 Day Fix it counts as a protein, so you can indulge in it!

Tzatziki:
Ingredients
2 cups Greek yogurt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper (optional)

Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Ugly Beans, Peas, Parmesan Breaded Tilapia, and Tzatziki
  3. Store in air-tight container. The longer it sits, the better it is!!! 
Fill up the Red container (3/4 cup), and it counts as 1 Red. 

It was noted that you could add more lemon juice and make it into a salad dressing. 

If you look at my picture, you can see cucumber chunks. I wish I would have finally chopped those up - but I got a little lazy, and hungry. 

Recipe for the Ugly Beans can be found here. I'll post my own blog soon too!