meal planning, july 12-18

We have a few birthdays coming up this week, which is really exciting! We have been keeping meals SUPER SIMPLE with lots of grilled meats and vegetables. This week will be no different.

Friday: Shrimp fajita pitas — this is a really simple recipe and I will try to post it. We’ve been doing a lot of chicken/shrimp fajita pitas and they’re a big hit with everyone in the house. We will likely serve this with Greek yogurt ranch dip.

Saturday: Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus & zucchini.

Sunday: My birthday! We originally planned to go into Boston but the high is 86 and it’s supposed to be sunny, so we may hit the beach and do dinner someplace local (probably TexMex).

Monday: Probably more fajita pitas but this time with chicken; more raw vegetables.

Tuesday: Shrimp scampi — this is a recipe my MIL gave me. It has spinach, roasted red peppers, and uses chicken broth.

Wednesday: Black bean crunchy tacos and raw vegetables & beets.

Thursday: Thursday is my husband’s birthday, so we are lining up a sitter and going out to a nice date-night dinner.

red pepper & feta eggs

I eat a lot of eggs — basically, my daily breakfast of choice and has been for years. They’re loaded with nutrition and can be made in advance (hard boiled) or scrambled, fried, or poached quickly. This past week, I discovered a combo with roasted red peppers and feta and I had it for breakfast every.single.day.

If you’re looking for an egg scramble that is quick, easy, and filling, you’ll like this!

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Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/4c roasted peppers
1/4c feta
Cooking Spray

Directions:
1. Add peppers to a pan to heat; you may need to cut them (I just used the spatula).
2. Once they are heated and the water has cooked off, spray the cooking spray and add two eggs; scramble the eggs.
3. As the eggs are finishing, add the feta and stir to let it melt a little.

This breakfast takes less than 10 minutes to make and is delicious! I haven’t been using MFP lately because I have been trying Weight Watchers instead. This breakfast is 2 points (feta). I usually have this is with strawberries or some other fruit to round things out. It’s been a nice breakfast and is loaded with flavor.

Enjoy!

june reflections, july goals

Oh, man. June was not what I thought it would be in terms of health goals and really anything else aside from cupcake consumption. I only went to yoga a couple of times and really only could commit to my weekly 5K (except for the last week of the month). There were a lot of trips (VT & Disney to name two of them) that threw me off of my routine and once I’m off, I always struggle to get back into a routine.

My 5K times for June continued to improve with my personal best time of 28:44. I am planning to pick up my weekly 5K this week. I missed last week because we were in Disney and logged 40 miles on foot for the week (and that was with three resort days)!

I put my yoga classes on hold for August, but am planning to get there for the weekends. There is a lot of roadwork between my house and Boston now and the commute in has been more stressful driving and a solid 90 minutes if I take the MBTA. I think it being tourist season causes stress on getting in and through the city, so I am going to try to get there the weekends this month and then may try a studio closer to home to see if I like it there enough to go regularly.

Our vacations were great! I wrote about my BIL’s birthday already and will recap our Disney trip when I have a few minutes. Finally, the Boston weather is rain free for a few days and I plan on capitalizing it by hitting the beach every single day this week! I took 3 yesterday to a local beach and with the high being 74, I decided we’d just go and play in the sand. I always seem to forget how hot it can feel being in the sun, so I told him to just go into the water in his clothes. We had a blast!

Today, we are going to a different beach (basically, the plan for the week — each day a new beach!) and are going to pack lunch and some snacks and will wear our bathing suits. I can’t wait!

In addition to the beach goals for July and scaling back on my exercise goals to weekly 5Ks and weekend yoga; I want to pay closer attention to my nutrition. I started doing Weight Watchers and it’s been going well. I am eating more carbs that I have been in the last several years and am losing weight and actually feeling pretty great. I lost five pounds in June with excessive cupcake consumption, so I’m interested in seeing what July brings (though, in truth, both my husband’s and my birthdays are mid-month, so I’m sure there will be plenty of cake to go around this month too). I plan to write about my experience with this and my ‘why’ when I have some free time because it’s been a lot more freeing than Whole30 was for me…

Lastly, meal prep. I am pretty much throwing meal planning out the window aside from buying a good bit of shrimp, chicken, burgers/hot dogs and a then a bunch of vegetables, because we’ve been grilling nightly and it’s nice to have less planning in the summer but still have really healthy meals. Last night, we marinated some chicken and grilled that along with asparagus and corn on the cob; the night before, we grilled shrimp and peppers and made fajita pitas (SO GOOD). Summer cooking is so much easier. Tonight, we are doing a different marinade for chicken, grilled zucchini and more corn on the cob. I can’t wait!

Here’s to hoping July is as freeing as I need it to be but that I also am able to hold myself accountable to the few workouts a week that I’m planning.

cava bowls

When my husband and I took our staycation to Boston, we grabbed dinner at quick service place, CAVA, after the Red Sox game. CAVA reminds me of Chipotle in the sense that you choose a base, protein, and additional toppings. We both really enjoyed our bowls there and I wanted to recreate something similar at home, so I did last week. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures, and thus I had to recreate this meal again.

The ingredients list is lengthy but the cook time is quite short. I cut everything in the amount of time it took for the rice to cook.

Ingredients:

  • Rice (we’ve done sprouted brown rice and Banza chickpea rice) — I figured on one serving per person, so this amount will vary.
  • Chickpeas (drained and rinsed; sautéed in olive oil with onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, and paprika)
  • Roasted Red Peppers (diced)
  • Olives
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes (diced)
  • Cucumbers (diced)
  • Feta
  • Tzatziki
  • Pita (I like the Joseph’s oat & flax pitas)

Instructions:

  1. Start the rice (beware, if you make Banza rice — it cooks like pasta; we use chicken broth instead of water when we make the sprouted rice)
  2. As the rice cooks:
    1. Heat 1T Olive oil;
    2. Add rinsed chickpeas
    3. Season with 1t Paprika; 1t onion powder, and 2t garlic powder
    4. Stir and turn to low once heated
  3. As rice/chickpeas cook:
    1. Cut roasted red peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and olives if necessary
  4. Once everything is ready, assemble bowls by layering rice, chickpeas, vegetables, and adding 2T of each feta and tzatziki atop. Serve with pita.

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This meal was really filling and loaded with nutrients. I love making meals that I know my family will enjoy. This was meat free but nobody complained about that (13 usually calls out meatless meals and acts like I am trying to starve her, haha). This will definitely make its way into our regular rotation!

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Now, I didn’t input this into MyFitnessPal to figure out calories. I’ve been trying out Weight Watchers to stay on mostly a low-glycemic diet (though, if we’re all being honest here, I had FOUR lemon cupcakes last weekend at my BIL’s birthday and plan to have at least two tomorrow for Father’s Day because I grabbed these cute hotdog & hamburger cupcakes from the Stop & Shop). I have more to write about with my WW experience and will sit down and do that next month sometime.

*If you are doing WW, this meal clocks in at 8 points and this includes the oat & flax pita.

**Bonus, this meal was a big hit with the kids and 13 didn’t riot about the lack of meat.

***I’ve included a picture of the cupcakes I grabbed for our Father’s Day bbq tomorrow!

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meals, june 10-13

We spent the weekend at my in-laws’ house, celebrating my BIL’s 50th birthday. It was a busy weekend but everyone had a good time and it was quite the celebration. It’s been a bit chaotic because my husband was traveling last week for work. He came home Friday, the kids did their chores and we decided to leave on Saturday morning so that I could take a yoga class and regroup after a week of solo parenting without my typical schedule and before a weekend with the in-laws. We stayed until after lunch today; then we all loaded back into the car (Brutus, too) to drive the five hours back home.

This is a short, busy week of meal planning and we are still in the school year, so school lunches are still necessary.

Tonight, we are going to order delivery when we get home. I think we will try to keep things healthy with salads — we have a $15 coupon for GrubHub and, frankly, after a day of traveling, it seems like the best possible day to use it.

My school lunch definitely goes down hill by the time June hits. We have a few corn tortillas that I’ll use for quesadillas and some meatloaf my MIL left in the freezer. Otherwise, I’ll likely pack salads for the kids and just keep things super simple. Breakfasts are basically on par with lunches — we have a few frozen breakfast sandwiches and mini muffins; I’ll probably get back to making smoothies to go with these just to round them out nutritionally/ensure there are some nutrients besides sodium…

Monday night, We are going to recreate CAVA’s bowls — rice, romaine, chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta, hummus, banana peppers, and tzatiki. We will serve this with Joseph’s oat flour pita. Should be good.

Tuesday night, we are going to do nachos. 3 has a 9-hour clinic appointment and I’ve been stressed out for WEEKS over it. I know that he and I will be exhausted and I figured we could either order food or make something convenient and comforting. I’m opting for the latter to try and at least nourish our bodies after such a stressful day. We will make nachos with shredded cheese, jalapeños (for us, not the kids), black beans, tomatoes, and salsa with some plain Greek yogurt to top is all off.

Wednesday, I’m concerned that I’m just going to be spent still from Tuesday’s appointment and will be craving comfort foods. (I’m basing this off of every single clinic appointment we’ve had. So, I’m just planning on leftovers/nachos.

We have a date night and it’ll be nice for us to get out of the house. We are hoping that the weather cooperates and that we can just make Greek salads from the week’s leftovers and head to the beach to enjoy them. We will make the same for the kids — we have some chicken in the freezer specifically for days like these so that we can grill it in a hurry and have a quick, healthy meal on hand.

may reflections, june goals

May has been a great month for personal growth and movement! First, I landed a big consulting gig and am working to develop a charter school proposal for a group on the west coast. Second, my exercise was consistent. I started 5K Fridays and I took a big challenge on and decided to try back-to-back yoga classes. I was really intimidated by taking a 90-min class but I’ve survived and I am seeing strength increase in my body; my second class on Tuesdays is a yin class where I drape myself over various props for an hour and leave feeling like I can float away! It’s a great combo and it seems to be balancing my body well. My nutrition is improving as well; I talked to my doctor about my concerns and she gave me some ideas, so I am going to try that out in June and see how things go.

I am really proud of myself for my consistency around cardio this month. I tried to lock myself into a routine of:
– 1.5 miles + weights (Monday)
– 90 min hot yoga & 60 min yin yoga (Tuesday)
– 1 mile + weights (Wednesday)
– off (Thursday)
– 5K (Friday)
– 90 min hot yoga (Saturday)
– 90 min vinyasa & deep relaxation (Sunday)

The Sunday class is a great way to wind down after the busy week. The poses are slower and held longer and then there are props at the end for a restorative portion. I feel like this is a great combination of exercise for me and if I’m feeling burnt out or over-run, it’s easy to drop the 90-min class on Tuesday or Wednesday’s run.

Now to discuss the 5K Fridays — my goal around this is to eventually (in winter) get to a weekday 5K. I have a plan to slowly ramp up to that, figuring that I’m outside walking around a lot more in the summer and the winter added exercise should be able to help me better maintain my health. At the end of 2018, I would rarely attempt a 5K. My mile time was about 11:45 for one; 12:30 pace for two; and 13:30 for three. On Instagram, there’s a man who started to run a 5k a day — this is really what gave me the confidence to start working towards that. I was really thrilled with the work I’ve put in 2019 to improve my physical health.

My 5K splits for May are as follows:
May 3, 29:51
May 11, 29:26 (Saturday instead of Friday; Mother’s Day plans had me alter schedule)
May 17, 29:24
May 24, 29:15
May 31, N/A (I told myself all day that I’d tough it out despite feeling run-down thanks to my allergies but at the end of the day, I decided to forgo the last one. I’ll pick it back up next Friday.)

I know for people who are fast, this may not seem like much, but to me it’s huge. I’ve never broken 30 minutes for a 5K; not even when I was in high school and ran track (and was far more fit). This tells me that I am doing something right and that my consistency is paying off.

When I went to the doctor last week, I talked about how I’m seeing a change. I’m definitely getting faster and stronger (I can lift more and certain poses in yoga that I couldn’t do before are easier for me to flow through); my pants are getting looser; and I’m seeing more definition in my muscles; however, my weight is steadfast and isn’t changing. This is when she introduced I look into a low-glycemic diet. She shared her experience doing this last summer and said it made a difference. She told me that as we get older, exercise isn’t going to be enough to move the scale. So, I’ve done my research and am focusing on foods that are natural and whole. This is something that we do a decent amount of but we also rely on takeout/delivery far more than we should. I think that this will help to stay focused on healthier.

My goals for June are to continue a yoga schedule similar to above — travel will make it difficult to get there week to week but I’m confident I will figure it out and get in as many classes as I can (or fill in with self-practice at home). I like the contrast of the heated vinyasa class, which is quick and challenging with the yin yoga, which leaves me feeling floaty and relaxed. Saturday’s class is similar to Tuesday’s heated one and Sunday strikes a great balance between them all. I think that these classes all support the cardio I’m doing.

My running goals will adjust for June a bit:
Mondays, 2 miles + weights
Wednesdays, 1 mile + weights
Fridays, 5k
If, for some reason, I have to skip weekday workouts, then I at least want to make sure that I get the 5k in.

Beyond fitness and health, I’d like to get back to reading more. I have a handful of books that have gone untouched since the semester picked up. Ideally, I’d go down to the beach and read but the weather hasn’t supported that. I’m hoping to get back into reading this month and to continue on my writing. I’d like to shift some and focus more about parenting adventures — for whatever reason, I never get the details/tone right when trying to write about something that’s happened. Hopefully, I can start to work on that.

Overall, I think that my goals are attainable and I’m looking forward to seeing what June brings!

meals, june 1-6

After a VERY long weekend of indulgences (cupcakes, brown butter rice krispy treats, orange cake), it’s time to get back on track.

Yesterday, I had: a string cheese; two boiled eggs; cherries; SmartPop cheddar (1c); and some water. We did bunless Bubba burgers (+cheese) on the grill tonight with lettuce, tomato, pickles & Primal’s thousand island dressing, plus grilled corn on the cob and raw vegetables/salads. They really hit the spot.

Today, I had plain Greek yogurt with 1t honey, strawberries, and almonds for breakfast and for lunch, boiled eggs, string cheese, honey wheat pretzels, and a nectarine. We are making shrimp scampi with EVOO, red pepper flakes, garlic (lots and lots of garlic), chickpea pasta, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, and grated parmesan for dinner.

For the weekend, we will do egg & cheese English muffin sandwiches for breakfast; followed by grilling a whole chicken Saturday and serving with grilled potatoes, beets, and salad and then on Sunday, grilled chicken and Bolocco-inspired buffalo chicken bowls for dinners. These are a big hit — rice (Banza chickpea rice), chicken, Noble’s buffalo sauce, celery, carrots, lettuce, and tomato. My husband and the kids like bleu cheese dressing on theirs; I typically opt out of it.

I wanted to keep meals simple next week, so I’m planning turkey sandwiches for weekday lunches alongside salads; chickpea pasta with tomatoes, spinach, red wine vinegar, and parmesan or homemade fish sticks, Annie’s mac & cheese, and raw vegetables for dinners. Nothing really exciting. We may head to Chipotle one night to mix things up a little but stay on the simple path.

We have a birthday party coming up and with the end of the school year to-do, this is just easier to maintain. I plan on using this planning idea through the summer — lots of vegetables to have salads, bowls, and pasta and a few packages of meat to grill when desired seems like the best way to go about things.