Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato!

Quick, healthy dinner!

You need:
1 Sweet potato
Black bean/corn salsa
Cheese – shredded (optional)
1/2 avocado
1/4-1/2 cup greek yogurt
Lime juice

To Make:
1. Microwave sweet potato for 7 minutes
2. Slice open, form little wells, and fill each with the salsa. Top with a little cheese (a little goes a long way)
3. Put into broiler for 2 minutes to melt cheese
4. While potato is in the microwave, blend avocado, greek yogurt, and lime juice to make delicious avocado crema for on top. (This is easily enough crema for at least 2 potatoes.)

#notallcaloriesarecreatedequal

15K Training – Final Week!

imageLast Sunday morning, the weather was not ideal. It was a little cold and windy, but  I ran my 7 mile run anyway. I set off west through the city to the Schuylkill River Banks Trail, ran up about 1.5 miles and turned around at the end of Boat House Row. My splits were all between 10:50 and 11:08 (except for mile 6 which clocked in at 11:30). Overall pace was 11:02. Not fast, but after my other runs that week – this went well. I didn’t want to walk home, which was a good sign.

Then it got cold again. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it didn’t get above like 35 degrees. I did some killer indoor Lithe and Professional Touch Fitness workouts, but I didn’t get outside to run. Wednesday night, Lt. Eric almost killed me with some intense HIIT training. Thursday morning (bright and early at 6am), Sgt Nate tried to kill me again with endless gauntlets and kettle bell training.  Thursday afternoon, even though I had done 2 killer workouts in 12 hours, I had to run. I hadn’t run in almost a week! I had low expectations due to my super tired body, but it turned out to be one of the best runs I’ve had in my 15K training yet! I ran 3 miles at a 10:04 pace. And get this, IT DIDNT FEEL HARD. I could hardly believe it. It was the same route I had run the week before when I had wanted to die.

Friday, I was so sore from the previous 3 workouts in 36 hours, that I had to take a rest day. Then, the monsoon rains came all weekend and I didn’t run again until yesterday, though I did pull myself to a KILLER Skinny Mini with Meg on Sunday at Lithe.

Yesterday, I set out to run 6 miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles with my roommate, Natalie, and then I set off across the bridge. On the way up, a pretty attractive man was running down towards Philly. He took his earbuds out and said “You’re looking great! Keep it up!” That was just enough to power up the rest of the way! I made it down to the Camden side, passing a man of questionable character – and started back up. OH. MY. GOD. It’s always hard, but running head first into strong winds is almost enough to kill your spirit. I made it, and on my way back down towards the Philly side, I got a thumbs up and a “good job” from another runner. I love when you are running and you get some unexpected encouragement! My overall pace was 10:49, and it felt strong. Despite the winds and the hills on the bridge, I started and ended feeling strong. My last mile was a minute faster than my first! And the second uphill on the bridge, into the wind, was stronger and faster than the first uphill.  I followed up the run with some AWESOME Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar with a friend. Go there immediately.

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Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar

I’ll do a couple more short runs between now and Sunday – and I’ll go and run the 15K. I don’t have any expectations for myself other than to have some fun. I’m going to run at a pace that feels enjoyable, while still trying to challenge myself. So far, they are calling for good weather, so hopefully that holds true.

Race recap to come!  Anyone else running the 15K Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday in Philadelphia?

This Week’s Reasons Why Life is Good

So, not all of these things may have happened *this* week, but I make the rules around here.

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1. Due to a Nor’easter and President’s Day, I have a 5 day weekend. Yes, we have to make up the snow days , which stinks, but I have no control over the weather or SDP decisions, so I might as well enjoy the days. I slept in and hung out with friends yesterday for most of the day yesterday, which started with breakfast tacos and ended with 25 cent pierogies from Tattoed Moms.  They made me insanely happy. Jess spent the night Wednesday and Thursday nights, which also made me very happy! I feel like I haven’t seen much of her lately.  Today, I was up early and went to Rock Steady at Lithe – which *totally* kicked my butt in the best of ways.

photo 32. I made a pretty awesome kale caesar salad this week, which I finished for lunch today. I used dressing from Whole Foods that I found in the produce department called Zesty Tahini Dressing. It was very similar to the dressing that the recipe calls for, and it was easier than making it. Plus, I couldn’t find tahini. I might make this salad again next week, I loved it so much. The blue bowl did not make for a particularly fabulous picture, but that’s okay.

3. Olympics. I freakin’ love the Olympics.

4. My favorite Pop Up Beer Garden is back for this weekend only. I’m going to check it out tomorrow or Sunday! I hope the heaters are ginormous.

5. A few weeks ago, my magnificent friend Megan asked me to be her bridesmaid! They are getting married next year at Reading Terminal Market. Can’t wait!

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My mini-goals  for next week: 1.) go to yoga. I haven’t gone in a few weeks, and I can totally tell. 2.) Stop eating total garbage on the weekend.

What are your reasons why life is good this week?

Chicken and Kale Enchiladas

This weather is the pits. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook. I want to eat pizza and drink beer. all. day. every. day. However, I managed to make some pretty yummy [and reasonably healthy] enchiladas last week! [Mexican is by far my favorite food, but it’s *not* particularly healthy, so I like to make it myself!]

What I used: Whole Foods corn tortillas (there are like 2 or 3 ingredients), Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce (you can also make your own. I would highly suggest doing that, actually. Do as I say, not as I do!), 2 chicken breasts, kale, 1/2 onion, cheese

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Step 1: I poached the chicken breasts and then shredded them by hand.

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Step 2: I warmed and softened the tortillas with some spray oil in an omelette pan. Next time, I would just stick them in the microwave as this method didn’t work wonderfully.

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Step 3: Cook the onions and kale.

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Step 4: Put about 1/3/-1/2 of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the enchilada baking dish. Put the rest in a wide bowl. Dip the tortillas in the wide bowl to get them coated in the sauce, then fill with a little of the kale/onion mixture, some chicken and roll them.

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Step 5: Cozy them into the baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Top with some shredded cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes. I ate two at a time with some refried black beans.

These would be awesome with mole sauce too. Mole is traditionally really hard to make with 2,302,938 ingredients, but here’s an easy recipe I found. You can do Enchiladas Verdes with a jar of green (or tomatillo) salsa. I haven’t tried these specific recipes, but I have made some similar ones.

Mole

Red Enchilada Sauce

 

 

What’s your favorite Mexican meal to make? Have you ever made enchiladas?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF THE NUTRITION CHALLENGE.

(I’ll be sure to update with my progress/results this weekend.)

I made some exciting things the past two weeks, like the carrot fries, the mayo, etc. This week, I tried cauliflower pizza crust! Not amazing, but a pretty solid base to replace crust! (I missed the cheese though, not going to lie.) I used this recipe for the base. It’s pretty time consuming, but pretty worth it. I think that you could probably make a bunch of these and freeze them in freezer bags for future use. My little-food-processor-that-could was acting up, but hopefully yours will be better! I put on homemade pizza sauce (well Whole Foods homemade, hah!), pepperoni, some diced tomatoes, and basil. I want to try it with some pesto, or spinach and goat cheese next time!

I had a snow day on Wednesday. It started snowing around 10am on Tuesday. School let out at 12:30pm. That was way too late, in my opinion. I work about 30-40 minutes from my apartment, depending on traffic, but it took me 2.5 hours to get home! Woah now.  Anyway, on Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Heather at Sushi Planet. I decided to try out hand rolls sans rice, instead of getting the sashimi lunch special. The verdict? They were hard to eat, since the seaweed wrapper is difficult to bite through. Otherwise, they tasted great, and as you can see in the above picture – they look fantastic. But really. hard. to. eat.

I’m leaving you with a picture of the Roosevelt Blvd (a crazy like 8 lane non-highway, with crazy lights and turn lanes and lots of accidents.) Anyway, it looked like this on Tuesday around 1pm:

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Have any of you tried an alternative to pizza crust? How did it turn out?

2 Week Nutrition Challenge

On Sunday, I started a 2 week Nutrition Challenge with Sgt Nate and my fellow rangers over at Professional Touch Fitness. When I originally received the email, I was not very happy, but I was also feeling bloated and gross – so there ya go. I signed up, set a goal to not cheat during the 2 weeks, and off I went.

Here’s the break down!

Objective: To break the sugar habit, reset your metabolism, and help us prepare for healthier eating habits.

Details (from Sgt Nate):

  • no dairy, no breads, no sugars ( you can use stevia for sweetness), no fruit, no breaded fried foods, no potatoes, no rice, no alcohol
  • Sample meal plan: Oatmeal with crushed walnuts, almond milk, stevia, for breakfast. Remaining meals: lean meat/fish with assorted vegetables with nuts in between meals
  • assorted nuts between meals for healthy fats
  • 5 to 6 meals per day every 3-3 1/2 hours
  • water at every meal and in between meals
  • lean meats: fish, chicken, turkey, egg whites
  • assorted vegetables at every meal after breakfast

That means – BASICALLY: oatmeal in the morning, and meat/veggies/eggs the rest of the day.

I’m doing this from Sunday, January 5th through Saturday, January 25. Sarge took our measurements and weight on Sunday morning, and he’ll take mine again that Saturday morning. It’s about 1 day shy of 2 weeks.

SO FAR: 

I’ve been eating overnight oats for breakfast, minus the banana plus slivered almonds. I’ve been making my green smoothies without any fruit, which I’m not gonna lie, kind of suck. It’s like drinking a salad. Except, I don’t want to drink a salad. I want to drink a smoothie. Oh well, I’ve been drinking them anyway.

For lunches this week, I’ve eaten Chipotle Chicken Salad (with the homemade mayo! Separate post coming about the mayo, total life changer) with some butternut squash soup that I made and froze over my Christmas break.

Snacks, I’ve mostly had almonds and hard boiled eggs, some spoonfuls of hummus and a couple spoonfuls of natural PB here and then.

For dinners, I had this chicken/onions/peppers recipe that I topped with some jalapeño tomatoes and guacamole. Last night I also made some kale chips.  Tonight, I made black beans, spinach, and tomatoes with 2 eggs. It was totally delicious. Then, I made some carrot fries. Again, total. life. changer.  My friend, Candie, instagrammed some not too long ago, and I’ve been curious ever since. See, I don’t really like carrots. But carrot fries dipped in some of my homemade chipotle mayo? Yes, sir! I ate 3 carrots worth of carrot fries tonight.

[Disclaimer: Beans aren’t technically  in this plan since they are a carbohydrate – and we can only have morning oatmeal. However, they are a slow digesting carbohydrate and have protein in them too. Since I don’t really love meat, I decided to include some beans as well.]

How I feel: 

I definitely felt a little tired and run down the first few days. Felt kind of weak in the yoga classes I took Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday,  I went to Sarge. At one point, I said “This is hard today. I feel tired.”  I made it through. Today, I went to Sarge in the morning and then Lithe in the afternoon, and I’m feeling a lot less worn out. I did have a pretty massive dinner, but it was on the plan – so I’m going with it.

I weighed myself yesterday [I know, I know] since I was feeling much less bloated, and I was already down a couple of those extra pounds. So that’s good, because I started this about 8 pounds more than I want to be. [I know. I know. It’s a number, we’ve been through this. Put the damn scale away.]

So far. So good. Here are some pictures of food from this week.

 

Carrot Fries Spinach, beans, tomatoes, and eggs Chipotle Mayo Kale Chips Chicken Fajita Chipotle Mayo

 

 

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of year 2013 was, and I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a fine year. Nothing life changing, just a good, solid year.

Highlights:

  • Travel: In the spring, I went to Savannah with my sister to visit Ingela. I had the pleasure of doing a road trip with Ingela a few months later from Savannah through Atlanta, camping and white water rafting in Tennessee, to Nashville (LOVED), and ending in Asheville, NC. Then in July, I traveled to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State with my friend Elisa to go to Emily and Aaron’s wedding. It is truly an amazing place. You should all go there.
  • Fitness: Still was trucking along with Sgt Nate, and I started regularly taking classes at Lithe Method when I got a part time job there in JuneI ran 3 5Ks (Cupid 5K, Manayunk 5K, Turkey Trot 5K), a 4 mile race, a 10K, a 6.55 mile trail race, and a half marathon. I got a PR on the 10K (1:00:11!), and I got 4th place in my division in the trail race! Started incorporating a little hill and speed work into my runs with Matt, and I got back to some regular-ish yoga classes after I injured my IT band. And I almost forgot that I joined an ultimate frisbee team!
  • Food: I did a 10 day real food challenge in September with no wheat, dairy, or alcohol and felt great. I have cut back on dairy, since I feel a lot better without it. Started “eating normally” and not obsessing about the scale. I am so much happier this way, let me tell you!
  • Personal: One of the biggest things I tried to work on since the summer of 2013 was to focus on building more meaningful relationships with my friends. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, wide friend circle in Philly. In the past, I had been focusing a lot of attention on “being friends with everyone” and not enough attention on actually trying to build deeper relationships with people. I haven’t stopped being friends with people, just have refocused my energies a bit. It’s always a balance, but determining when to give a little more and when to let go is an important skill in life, especially pertaining to relationships.
  • Resolutions Revisit: 
    • 1.) Do something new every month: I kept up with this for the most part, but I did miss a month or two. Some things I did: tried new restaurants and new fitness studios, made pad thai, took a swim class,  Savannah Slow Ride, Burlesque class, trussed a chicken, sea kayaked, rode a Scoute Coup, went to Nashville and the San Juan Islands (and lot of other new places), hiked the Rickett’s Glen loop, played on an ultimate frisbee team with PSN, volunteered at Blocktoberfest, and sang live band karaoke.
    • 2.) Stop weighing myself so much: Took me almost all year, but I was eventually successful with just a couple of hiccups (when my scale broke!)
    • 3.) Drink less!: Okay, so I didn’t *really* manage to do this one, but I have at least made peace with it.

 

Looking Forward 

  • Resolutions:
    • When I eat meals at restaurants, try to always include a fruit or vegetable with the meal.
    • Include a mentally/physically restorative workout into my routine at least once a week (yoga, tai-chi, etc) – even if I do this at home.
    • Keep in better touch with my friends who live outside of Philly. This means that I will email/call them once a month.
  • Goals: [not really resolutions, but things I’d like to accomplish]
    • Run a half marathon trail race
    • Run a the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in April
    • Save money for my trip to SE Asia this summer
    • Sgt Nate’s 2 week nutrition challenge in January with no cheats!
    • Take more trips to Baltimore to visit college friends.

 

I may update and add to my goals list, but I think this is a solid start.

What are your resolutions/goals for 2014?