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?

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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?

Turkey Sweet Potato Hash

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I made this last night for lunches this week. It’s called Turkey Sweet Potato Hash. It’s just ground turkey, black beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, and onion. I’m super excited about it, and it’s simple to make. My estimates run about 388 calories if you split the recipe into 4 servings. I used spray olive oil instead of butter. The recipe was created by a friend, and posted on her blog. Find the recipe here: http://justlovethefood.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/heck-yes-kale-chips-day-2/

Overnight Oats

photo-2Overnight Oats

I take *no* credit for this idea, but I’ve been eating it for breakfast, and it keeps me full all morning! Make it now.

The first is the night before, and the second is what it looks like in the morning.

What I put into it:

1/2 cup dry oats (I use quick oats)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
cinnamon
1 banana

According to My Fitness Pal (an inexact science to be sure)- 502 calories, 20.7 g fat, 74.7 grams carbs, 18.3 g fiber, 15.7 g protein

Apparently chia and flax seeds are the new amazing thing, so I’ll go for it until someone tells me otherwise (soon enough, I’m sure). Read more about them here.

10 Day Challenge: Recap

I made it through the 10 days with no dairy, no wheat, and no alcohol!! Overall, it wasn’t that hard, and I feel super positive about how it went. I did cheat a tad by putting half and half in my coffee if soy milk wasn’t available, but other than that – I was super good about sticking to the plan.

Food: 

Breakfast:

The first half of the challenge, I ate egg muffins.  I had 2-3 of them plus a banana.  I basically just made mini omelets in a muffin tin. They only came out to about 50 calories each, so next time I make them, I’m going to add in some turkey sausage and maybe even some quinoa to make them more filling.

Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins

The second half, I ate Overnight Oats – which I am going to write a separate post about. They are amazing.

Lunch

The first half of the challenge, I ate Mediterranean  Quinoa Salad and a hard boiled egg for lunch, and some strawberries. I cooked quinoa and added wilted greens (that I roasted for a bit in the oven), a can of chopped up artichoke hearts, chopped up cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil leaves, and some lemon juice. It was super delicious and came out to 314 calories per serving. I cooked 1.5 cups of dry quinoa, and it made 4 servings. It was really good.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

For the second half of the challenge, I ate two different things for lunch. First, I made curried chicken salad with mini roasted red and purple potatoes. I cooked two chicken breasts, let them cool, and ripped them into tiny pieces. Then I added eggless mayo, curry powder, and shredded cabbage and carrots. This, along with the potatoes, was my favorite. I’m making it for lunch next week too. Came out to about 500 calories for both.

I also made Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables, that I posted about already. It was absolutely delicious. Made 5 servings. When I ate it for lunch, I took a half cup of brown rice with me. When I ate it for dinner, I had a full cup of brown rice.

Dinner

I ate some different things for dinner. I ate the Red Curry Tofu and the Curried Chicken Salad with Potatoes for dinner. I had sushi a couple of times (with brown rice). I made brown rice with vegetables and black beans one night for my sister and I. I had Vietnamese one night. Sausages and veggies another night.  The key was already knowing what I was going to eat. Most of the time, it was already made ahead of time, which is also key for me. After my workout, I do *not* want to spend 30+ minutes making dinner. A major thing for me is having the brown rice already made and frozen. Smartest little trick I’ve ever come up with. Takes 2 minutes to heat up in the microwave and tastes fresh!

Snacks

I ate too many chips and salsa the Saturday of the challenge. While this is technically on the plan, it is not the best choice. Most of my snacks were better planned. I had fruit, hard boiled eggs, trail mix, and peanut butter. I also bought a few “Paleo” snack bars to have on hand. I bought a couple Lara bars and Steve’s Original Paleo Crunch from Whole Foods.  Again, you just have to be prepared and have snacks that are dairy/wheat free easily available for you. I’m going to try and make my own granola bars soon!

On the Saturday night that I was following this plan, we were out of town having a campfire. We decided to make these banana boats, which are the cutest little things and can be made wheat free/dairy free.

Exercise:

It isn’t a secret that I exercise a lot.  I felt pretty awesome on this plan, and my running speeds were faster! I did 2 long runs of 8 miles around this time and both were fantastic. 

Day 1 (Tues): 3 mile run, 60 min Lithe Method class (Hot Legs)

Day 2 (Wed): 60 min Ranger Cross Training (with Professional Touch Fitness), ultimate frisbee game

Day 3 (Thurs): 3 mile run

Day 4 (Fri): 60 min Lithe Method class, 75 minute yoga class @ the Yoga Garden

Day 5 (Sat): 8 mile run

Day 6 (Sun): Rest

Day 7 (Mon): 60 min Ranger Cross Training

Day 8 (Tues): 2 mile run, 60 min Ranger Training Bootcamp

Day 9 (Wed): 60 min Ranger Cross Training, ultimate frisbee game

Day 10 (Thurs): Rest

Results:

Seriously, I felt awesome. My runs were stronger. I wasn’t bloated. Super regular bathroom things happening. 

I only lost 1 pound on the scale (according to the scale at the gym from 5:00 Wed 9/4 to 5:00 Wed 9/11. Mine broke, remember?).

However!! I did my measurements on 9/2 and then again on 9/12. I lost 1.25 inches from my belly button, 0.75 inches from my natural waist, 0.5 inches from my hips, 0.5 inches from my bicep. 

In 10 days! All of the bloating and grossness gone!

Some thoughts/suggestions:

1. This would be very difficult if you don’t plan ahead. I made all of my meals ahead of time, and I had little to think about it when it came time to eat them. I did eat out a few times – sushi is an easy choice (brown rice is a better option, always), and the Whole Foods bar is pretty legit if one is available to you. Make sure you have snack and meal options that are dairy and wheat free available, and the choice to eat them is a lot easier. I suggest having them in containers in your fridge already made.

2. Snacks = 1/3 cup trail mix, hard boiled eggs, dairy free smoothies, fruit (I like cutting up some different ones and making a type of fruit salad), little mini muffin type recipes that are lower in calories

3. I used My Fitness Pal to track things, but you wouldn’t really need to if you are following no wheat/no dairy I don’t think. You will have to basically eat unprocessed food, which makes it harder to rack up the calories.

4. I’m not sure if this works, because the food isn’t processed – or because it’s actually the wheat and dairy doing the damage. Either way, it works.

 

Going Forward

I realized how great I felt during the challenge after I ate wheat and dairy over the weekend following (a tuna wrap with cheese, some cheese and crackers, etc) and drank a decent amount – I felt pretty crappy after all of that. I was bloated and tired on Monday. So, I’ve decided to stick to the no wheat/no dairy during the week. I will *moderate* over the weekend, so that I don’t over do it and feel gross. I’m going to avoid alcohol for the most part during the week, though a couple beers here and there won’t hurt. This weekend, I’m going to Garces Trading Company on Friday for Restaurant Week. I’m sure I will eat copious amounts of wheat and dairy, so I am going to avoid it on Saturday. Plus, I’m running a race (Sloppy Cuckoo 6.55 mile trail race) on Sunday, so I want to ensure that I am properly fueled!

 

Final Thoughts:

Those “crazy” people who I thought were being overly diet conscious? (Looking at you Jason, Thai, and Len). Oh – they most definitely know what they are talking about!!  Especially the cross-fit ones. No, I’m not giving up grains in general. No, I’m not going 100% in – but I definitely feel better and perform better without the stuff. I can save my wheat and dairy for the weekends.  I’m super glad I tried this, and I encourage and challenge you to cut out wheat and dairy (and alcohol if you choose) for 10 days and see how you feel. 

10 Day Challenge: Day 9

Today is Day 9! I’m excited to have a beer on Friday – don’t get me wrong – but I have discovered that I haven’t really missed wheat or dairy at all. I remember feeling a bit more deprived the first time around doing something similar to this. I will post a complete recap of the 10 Day Challenge when it’s over; however, I thought I’d share some photos today to highlight some things from the past few days.

Food I Ate  (and Didn’t Eat)

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I made Thai red curry with chicken and vegetables last night for dinner/lunches this week.  I added a little water to it, and I think I shouldn’t have – it turned out a little watery than normal. I made this huge pot of it (this picture was taken before the tofu was added), and it will last for at least 5 meals. It’s dairy free (and meat free for that matter), and I have been eating it over a cup of brown rice – that are pre-cooked and packaged in ziplock bags in my freezer. You just microwave it for 2 minutes. It’s genius really, just be sure to package it up when it’s still warm to lock in moisture.

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I spent some time with Ingela and her family this weekend. They were super supportive in our no dairy/no wheat efforts. We would have made do, but they re-did their menu for us!  For dinner on Saturday, we had vegetable skewers and sausages. I found this recipe for banana boats for “Paleo” campfire treats, and they were absolutely delicious. We cut open a banana and stuffed it with a little peanut butter, some dark chocolate chips, and topped it with some almonds. Wrap it up in foil, put it in the fire for awhile, and enjoy. Brunch the next day was eggs with veggies and watermelon. Perfect.

I did eat a ton of chips and salsa this weekend – which isn’t the best, and not the worst thing. Technically fits with no wheat/no dairy, but *not* with the “real food rules“. Jess and I went to our baby cousin’s first birthday party, and while I did eat some potato chips, I did not eat any cake. It wasn’t that big of a sacrifice. Cake is not the thing I would eat if it were my last meal on Earth.

Things I Did

8 mile run on Saturday morning! Pace was great, weather was great, and Tamika came along with Matt, Jess, and I!  We did an out and back on Kelly Drive.

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We are seriously the happiest people I’ve ever met post-run.

My knee started to bother me during the last mile. I’ve never had knee problems, so I decided it was time for new sneakers. Honestly, it’s been time for a few months. Philadelphia Runner had a cool Beer and Gear event (in which I did *not* partake in the beer), and I had a $25 gift card from a Body Cycle giveaway last spring, so I ventured over to actually spend some money on decent sneakers. Look how pretty they are? (Saucony Ride 6 for those who care).

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I wore them yesterday and today and love them. Yesterday, I ran 2 miles over the Schuylkill for Ranger Training and then wore them for class – stairs, wall squats, crab walks, power step ups, etc etc etc. Then I wore them today for Kettlebell class. Love them.

Also, I want to leave you with my article of the week. Fitspiration is getting a little out of hand. Yes, it can be inspiring, but it can also be down right damaging, which I didn’t fully realize until reading this. He’s pretty spot on with a lot of this. I strive to be *healthy*. I work out hard, and too much according to some people – but I take days off each week, eat plenty to fuel myself, and listen to my body. Last Friday, my body said “don’t you dare go do a kettlebell class and expect me to run 8 miles tomorrow.” So I went to yoga. It’s important to make the distinction between killing yourself in the gym and training hard. Read this. It’s important.

Mini “Muffin” Recipes

I’ve been feeling inspired lately to try to cook new things, and I think that anything in the shape of a muffin is adorable and automatic portion control, so I thought I’d share some recipes I want to try soon. I’m trying to focus a little more on making sure that food I purchase and make is *real*, without chemicals, which is hard! Obviously, some of these recipes are healthier than others – but I will be trying to make them with *real* food. I’ll be sure to post when I actually make this stuff. If you are going to/have made any of these, let me know!

 

 

Do you have any favorite muffin tin recipes to share?