Strawberry Chicken Salad with the Girls

Happy Sunday!

I have some coupon cutting and horoscopes reading to do, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

Saturday Recap

Breakfast: Kefir with chia seeds which I let soak for 10 minutes to soften the chia. I then added agave nectar to sweeten it up (because kefir is pretty tangy) and added a banana on top!

kefir with chia

After breakfast I hit the living room for a leg workout and glute which felt GREAT!

For lunch I had a date with one of my girlie girls, Heidi. She was in town so she stopped by for lunch and to catch up. I made us a strawberry chicken salad with blueberries, almonds, avocado, and feta cheese. It was light an perfect.

strawberry chicken salad

After we ate lunch we called Kate on FaceTime (Kate is living in Georgia–I went and visited her on my birthday last year). It was like the three of us were truly having a girly chat together right in the same room. It made me miss her even more but I feel so lucky to have the option of calling her and talking to her “face to face.”

In the afternoon Dana and I had a couple of errands to run. We stopped at TJMaxx and I found another new swimsuit (the one on the bottom right is the newest addition)! I usually don’t have good luck at TJMaxx with swimsuits because the tops and bottoms are sold together as a set, so you aren’t able to mix and match sizes, but this one actually fit me like a glove! Plus, it was only $12.99. Bargain!

swimsuits

We will be spending the majority of time in our bathing suits, so I need to be sure and bring enough plus I like to have options. 😉

For dinner I whipped up a random mix of black beans, onion, garlic, salsa, and cabbage with cheese on top. I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but it was surprisingly good! I think what made it good was the Parkers Farm Roasted Garlic Salsa. It was so flavorful.

salsa cabbage black beans

We finished off the night watching Glee from last week. Man oh man it was a juicy one. Lots of unexpected events unfolded!

Moose was unimpressed as usual.

moose

I hope you are all having a relaxing weekend. I have a super fun double date tonight that I am so looking forward to!

Catch up with you all later! xoxo

Baked Santa Fe Spring Rolls

Hi there my loves! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I have some catching up to do so here we go….

Saturday

I cracked open the Parkers Farm Crunchy Honey peanut butter and let me tell you, I was in heaven. The slight sweetness of the honey mixed with the crunchy and smoothness of the peanuts paired with a good ol’ banana made me one happy little girl.

parkers farm crunchy honey parkers farm pb

After breakfast I hopped on the treadmill and did one sweaty and very nonboring routine:

  • 10 minute walk to warm up
  • 1 mile run at 6.0 mph
  • 2 minute walk at 4.0
  • 1 mile run at 6.5
  • 2 minute walk at 4.0
  • 1 mile run at 7.0
  • 10 minute recovery walk

I was really sweating after this one and the best part was it went by very fast.

After the run I completed my second session of the Ab Challenge circuit. I’ll be completing my third session today so that I reach the weekly goal of 3-4x a week. Tomorrow begins the second week with a new ab workout. I’m loving it.

I wasn’t very hungry for lunch but knew I needed to eat, so I whipped together a smoothie with Jay Robb’s chocolate egg white protein, almond milk, kale, strawberries, half a banana, and blueberries. Very satisfying.

smoothie with jay robb

Then I got to work on what I love doing oh so much…experimenting in the kitchen. Later in the afternoon I had plans to go to my mom and dad’s for dinner. They were going to be making chicken and I told them I would bring a salad.

My wonderful aunt introduced me to a deli-bought salad couple of weeks ago that I absolutely adored, and I had decided I needed to try to recreate it. The salad she had was made with chickpeas, but I wanted to use black beans instead. You could definitely substitute with chickpeas if you would like.

Here is what I came up with!

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black bean citrus salad

5.0 from 1 reviews
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup bell peppers, diced
  • ⅓ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • Sauce:
  • juice of ½ of a lime
  • juice from ½ of an orange
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl combine beans, peppers, onions and cilantro.
  2. In a separate small bowl mix the sauce.
  3. Pour the sauce over the bean mixture and stir gently to combine.
  4. Serve cold as a salad or with corn tortilla chips.

I snacked on a small handful of Driscoll’s blackberries in the afternoon. I realize now how much fruit I ate that day!

driscolls blackberriesThen off to mom and dad’s for the evening for church, dinner and the Viking vs. Packer football game.
chicken black beans brussels sprouts

Abbie chose the right move by sleeping instead of watching the Vikes lose so terribly.

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Sunday

I was a cleaning machine in the morning not to mention we hit the coupon jackpot. I swear the coupon books (all four of them) were made specifically for me. There were coupons for so many things I actually use. I was psyched.

I headed to the treadmill again on Sunday this time for a long walk (4.0 pace). I walked for about 50 minutes while watching who knows what t.v. shows. Okay, I watched the Kardashians. Guilty pleasure. I also completed my 1-minute plank from the challenge.

Dinner:

I used the leftover bean salad to make Santa Fe Spring Rolls! I added about 3/4 cup of corn and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese into the black bean salad recipe.

The spring rolls I used are made from rice flour, water, and salt. They come in a round package and are very hard. To soften them you simply take one and turn it in a bowl of warm water. It softens right up and is pliable to work with.

Santa Fe Spring Rolls:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare a baking pan with parchment paper. Once rice paper is pliable, place on flat surface and spoon in bean mixture just off-center.

santa fe spring roll step 1

Step 2: Fold up bottom end of paper to cover mixture.

santa fe spring roll step 2

Step 3: Fold in both right and left sides of paper.

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Step 4: Gently roll up the paper into a roll and place on prepared baking pan and spray the tops with olive oil.

santa fe spring roll step 4

Here’s the kicker…since this was my first time ever working with rice paper, I had no idea how long to bake these. We baked the rolls for about 20 minutes and then switched the oven to low broil where they sat for another 10 minutes. Since the inside did not need to be cooked for any reason, our biggest intention was to crisp up the rice paper.

If I were to do it again I would still probably bake it for 20 minutes, and broil for 10, but I would flip the rolls half way through the broiling process to crisp up both sides.

But anyway, the result was a very tasty sinless meal. I served the rolls with a side of Parkers Farm mild salsa.

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They were definitely very crunchy too! This was a fun change of pace meal for us. BTW before I prepared these rolls I devoured a load of broccoli and hummus, so that was part of my dinner too.

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The rest of the evening was spent being pretty lazy on the couch. I made myself a bowl of FAGE 0% fat Greek Yogurt with fresh Driscoll’s strawberries and blackberries.

It was a nummy day!

Fage with driscolls berries

I have some fun plans on the agenda today including a hot date with a girlfriend of mine!  I am super duper excited. I hope you all have a fabulous day and I will check back in with you very soon.

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker

It’s my favorite day of the week! HAPPY FRIDAY! I have a very low key weekend ahead of me and I am perfectly okay with that.

I have a recipe to share for you that was inspired by Courtney from SweetToothSweetLife. She made a veggie stew which looked spectacular and I wanted to try something similar. I made a few changes and am pretty darn happy with the results!

Into the crockpot on Wednesday morning:

  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • onion
  • garlic
  • green bell pepper
  • celery
  • tomatoes (frozen from garden!)
  • cannelini beans
  • chicken broth
  • italian spices
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

vegetable soup

I set my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, aka the crock pot, on low for 8 hours during the day.

For lunch: Chicken breast with leftover refried beans, melted cheese, salsa, and avocado. This combo was just ‘meh’ to me. I didn’t LOVE it, but I did like that it was protein packed. I’m just more of a bean, Greek yogurt, egg, or peanut butter protein loving kinda gal.

chicken

I also ate a big baggy of carrots and a pear for dessert.

pear

After work I changed into my workout clothes and went to the living room to work my arms and back with the resistance band. My knees were hurting pretty badly after the race so I wanted to keep it low intensity.

Once dinner time rolled around I tested the flavor of the soup, added a touch more salt and pepper, and ladled up two bowls for the hubby and myself.

vegetable soup

I topped the veggie soup with parmesan cheese…

vegetable soup

And thoroughly enjoyed this soup. I went back for a second bowl too. It’s warm, hearty, veggie-filled, low-fat, and DELICIOUS.

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker
Print
Ingredients
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups white beans
  • 1½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned tomatoes would work fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into crockpot. Cover and set on low for 8 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with parmesan cheese. ENJOY!

 

Mooser is just getting over an outer ear infection which included an antibiotic treatment as well as ointment in his ear daily. He quickly learned to hate the ear drops and got all too smart when it came time for them.

I thought this picture was hysterical and really captured his hate love for it!

moose

So resistant!

Thursday

Thursday was a pretty ordinary day around here. I went to work, went to the gym after work (elliptical, push-ups, and core work), came home, made dinner.

I went the easy route again with dinner: Buffalo chicken salad with green onions, celery, feta cheese, and light ranch dressing.

buffalo chicken salad

So spicaaay! I am realizing that the older I get, the more sensitive I become to spicy foods. Is that weird?

I am debating whether or not to get a workout in at some point today. My knees are still very sore. I’ve been icing them daily but they must not have been too happy with my cold run the other day because they are still aching. I’m pretty sure my body is trying to tell me to rest but I’m having a challenging time listening to it because it’s the new year and I really want to get back into a solid workout regime again. I will see how I am feeling this afternoon and then decide.

I am off to take on my day. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and I will catch up with you later gators!

xoxo,

M

A Healthy Start to 2013: Polar Dash 10K

I am very excited to recap on my run from yesterday so I am not wasting any time today.

New Year’s Day (yesterday) I got up bright and early to eat my usual banana and peanut butter pre-run breakfast and sip on a half a cup of coffee. I laid out all of my running gear the night before like I always do, I even pinned my number on my shirt and tied in my time chip to my shoe.

My nerves took over temporarily while thinking about the frigid temperatures, and I started to second guess if I had the right amount of clothes and layers on. On the ride over the thermometer read -7°F. The last long run we did outside it was 9°F outside. That’s a big difference! Dana reassured me that what I had on would be just fine and eventually I came to the realization that yes, I would be fine.
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We picked up my brother Kevin and his friend Jeremy (who ran the half-marathon with us in June) and drove to St. Paul. We parked and took the shuttle over to the starting area.

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We all did the bathroom thing then headed over to the starting line. At this point the temperature had probably crept up to a whopping -4°F. You had to keep moving to keep the circulation flowing so everyone was jumping, running in place, stretching, and trying to stay warm. This was the hardest part of the whole race for me. From the time it took for us to leave our car in the lot and head to the starting line was about 25 minutes, and my toes were just not having it. They were starting to go numb. All I wanted to do was start running! I have never wanted to start running so bad!

Once the race began and our wave took off, the toes were still feeling pretty immobile, but at about mile 2 they were feeling fine. I ran next to Dana, Kevin, and Jeremy the whole race (minus the very end when K and J took off) which made it so much fun. Jeremy wore an afro wig and crazy 80’s shorts with a fanny pack and got all the runners pumped up and was highly entertaining. One girl even came up to him after the race and told him she was keeping an eye on his afro the whole race and PR’ed because of it!

Another form of entertainment was seeing all of the runner’s iced over faces. It was especially hysterical when men had big beards because the ice completely forms around the beard and turns it white. We all looked like we should have been in some sort of Christmas movie.

Here’s my frosty hair:

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Between the entertainment and running with the three boys and keeping each other company, the race flew by. Even though the temperature was sickly cold, there was no wind so the run actually didn’t feel too cold. Dana was right, I had worn the perfect amount of clothes and layers. It’s the same thing I wore on this training run except I wore a wicking  thermal insulated head band instead of a hat.

I felt like it was one of my easiest races actually (albeit not one of my fastest). I finished the run in 1 hour and 37 seconds. I was hoping to get an hour or less, but that’s alright. I’ll blame it on the very slow first mile due to a large mob of runners. 🙂 I am still just very proud I finished a race in sub zero temperatures.

This was definitely one of the most fun races I have done too. I couldn’t believe all of the die hard Minnesotans who were out there running and out there cheering for the runners! I am so proud of my state.

Post-race the wonderful volunteers were handing out waters, goodies bags with bananas, salted nut rolls, and chips, and best of all HOT CHOCOLATE! I don’t mean any ordinary hot chocolate, this was like super chocolatey totally awesome hot chocolate. It tasted like heaven in my mouth. What a fun way to end the race!

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Our amazing team: Team Ice Pack.

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A little different from our group picture post half-marathon in June. Ha ha!

Besides the 10K, there was also a half-marathon and a 5K. The Polar Dash was put on by Team Ortho. I have raved about their races and the organization of the races in the past, and this one gets the same credit. The volunteers are so friendly, there is never a moment when you are unsure of where you need to be, they are right there for you if you need them, and they help you have fun and enjoy your races.

The Polar Dash race on January 1st was the perfect way to kick off a healthy new year! I felt fabulous!

We were all very excited to warm up and “thaw” in the car ride home.

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Immediately after walking in our front door I turned the heat up and hopped in a hot shower. I got into my coziest fleece pants and plopped myself on the couch for the majority of the day. I think the combination of the cold run and my body working hard to regulate my body temperature coupled with the fact that I slept terribly the night before set me up for a super drowsy day.

I did manage to dress the pup up in Polar Dash gear. It’s always good for a laugh or two. What a good sport.

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I was extremely hungry for lunch but had no ambition to make anything, so I snacked on some freeze dried salted edamame for some quick fuel and protein. These babies pack 12 grams of protein in a half a cup. They aren’t out-of-this-world fantastic tasting, but I do enjoy them and they are a healthy snack, and especially a good snack to pack if traveling.

salted edamame

Eventually I rounded up enough energy to make myself a healthy salad. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before but it did taste pretty darn good.

salad

A kajillion snacks happened in the afternoon. I had a bottomless pit of a stomach yesterday. I snacked on almonds, craisins, carrots, a banana, almond crackers, peanut butter. My appetite was insane.

Once dinner rolled around we were both still feeling pretty unmotivated, so we opted for easy. I found a can of refried beans in the cupboard, heated them up with some Parkers Farm salsa. I topped the beans on corn tortillas with shredded cheese, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and some more salsa.

bean tacos bean tacos

So simple and so delicious.

I did manage to prepare a meal for the crock pot that will be cooking all day today. I hope it turns out! I’ll let you know.

Off to work I go…Happy Wednesday (I keep wanting to say today is Thursday)!

Lentil Fajita Salad

Hola mis Amores! How is everyone doing? I am great. I just finished off a 3 mile run outside with Dana and Moose. It was basically brutal again because of the extremely cold temperatures, but we still finished nonetheless. The plan for the 10K on January 1st is not to worry about time and instead just remember to try to have fun. The goal will be to simply finish.

Now I am sitting on the couch in warm sweatpants, drinking a cup of coffee to warm up and we are going to er-er-er rrreewinnndd to yesterday.

Friday

Mark this on your calendar…I went to the gym yesterday! I eased my way back into the gym routine by cardio’ing 20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the stair-stepper, and 5 minutes on the row machine. I then finished with some core work with the Bosu ball.

I MUST get back into strength training again because I know how fabulous it makes me feel when I actually do it.

I am getting back on the healthy eating train for sure. Lunch was a pretty typical Melanie salad full of dark greens, olives, peas, sunflower seeds, asparagus and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing. My fav. There is definitely something about olives, peas, and sunflower seeds on salads that I enjoy very much.

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After lunch I dove into one of the most un-fun tasks of all time….sorting through the sock drawer. It had turned into one giant heap of socks and drove me crazy every time I had to go find a matching pair, so I made yesterday a mission organization sock drawer.

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I did make it more fun by blaring the tunes and dancing around like a little girl.

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I cracked open one of my new cans of Perrier sparkling water. I went with the grapefruit flavor and I truly enjoyed this drink. It was so refreshing, with a perfectly subtle grapefruit flavor, and the can was just my size. This definitely gets a thumb’s up.

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For dinner I cooked up a batch of brown lentils: combine 1 cup of lentils and 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (you can use water instead if you would like) in a medium pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Then drain the extra liquid off and set the lentils aside.

In the same pan I sautéed a half of a large onion and a half of a green bell pepper. I added in some homemade low-sodium fajita seasoning. Once the veggies were sautéed, I added in the lentils, added more seasoning, and let it all warm through.

In the meantime I prepared some quick guacamole: one avocado, one Roma tomato, cilantro, and pepper. I plated up two heaping mounds of dark green lettuce, followed by the warm fajita lentil mix, then some grated cheese, guacamole, and lastly I dressed the whole salad with Parkers Farm Mild Salsa.

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Ya mix it all together and what do you get?

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Lentil Fajita Salad awesomeness!

After dinner Dana and I grabbed a cozy blanket, turned on the Christmas tree lights, planted ourselves on the couch, and watched the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love.” I read this book a couple of years ago and have been wanting to see the movie since it came out. Lo and behold Target had it on sale for $4.50 and I just so happened to walk by the rack and snag it.

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When they make movies from books, 9 times out of 10 I prefer the book (I prefer my own imagination apparently :wink:), but this time I would say I enjoyed both the book and the movie equally. They did a really great job with portraying the characters in the book on film.

Dana and I split a super juicy amazing pear that was the size of a softball.

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It was the perfect and healthy way to end the day.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite evening snack?

Mine is usually a few dates dipped in peanut butter or a small handful of almonds.