Kale and Quinoa Power Salad!

Happy Thursday everybody! This morning I got in a nice 3 mile run, and I’ve noticed I’m running faster than I have in the last couple weeks. Yaaaay for progress! Plus this morning’s temperature of 36 actually felt warm compared to my runs lately.

Today for my lunch at work I didn’t have a whole lot of options in my fridge of already prepared food (which is what I usually eat) so I had to get a little creative, and I’m so glad I did! I made this amazing salad, full of superfoods that kept me full for hours, and gave me tons of vitamins!

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This salad has: kale, carrots, blueberries, almonds, and quinoa. I can’t even BEGIN to list all the health benefits of each of those. Together they made a delicious and quick lunch that is very portable, and easy to take to work or school for lunch!

Kale and Quinoa Power Salad

  • 1/2 cup prepared quinoa (just follow directions on box, and cool)
  • about 2 cups kale, torn into small pieces with stems removed
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge- this makes enough for several salads so you have leftovers! Pour about 1 tbsp of dressing on kale and massage it for a couple of minutes, this will break down the kale and make it more tender. Place in fridge for about 15 minutes and allow to marinate. Then put the rest of your salad ingredients together and add more dressing if desired. Enjoy! 🙂

This salad was very filling for me, and when I eat things like kale I feel like I have superpowers because I know it’s so good for my body. This is not, however, a low calorie salad. Mine came to about 500, but it’s calories filled with nutrients my body needs to keep going!

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Chicken Pasta Caprese!

A couple nights ago my husband made the Skinnytaste recipe for Chicken Pasta Caprese. Out of all the recipes in the cookbook so far that we have tried, this one tastes the least skinny!

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It’s absolutely to die for and probably one of my favorite pasta dishes I have ever made. Melty cheese with pasta, tomatoes and chicken? Yum! And it’s only 400 calories per serving! This would even be good with a side salad. And if you want to kick the nutrition up a notch you can use whole wheat pasta! We made it with regular pasta shells, but you can use just about any kind. We actually doubled the recipe so we would have leftovers to eat on all week, and it only tasted better the next day!

Chicken Pasta Caprese

  • 1 lb chicken breasts cut into bite size cubes
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 9 oz pasta
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
  • 4 oz part skim mozzarella, cut into cubes

Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Season chicken with dried basil, salt & pepper. Spray pan with cooking spray and cook chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Heat large frying pan to high and add olive oil and garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Do not burn, watch carefully. Add tomatoes, salt & pepper and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes are tender (about 5 minutes). Add pasta to tomatoes, if this seems too dry you can add a little water. Add chicken and toss. Remove from heat, and stir in fresh basil and mozzarella. Enjoy! 🙂

Beef and Broccoli Lightened Up!

This morning I had strength training on my schedule, so I did Jillian Michaels’ 6 Week 6 Pack video this morning! When training for long distance running, hitting your abs is extremely important to protect your back. I learned this the hard way as I used to only run and did no strength training whatsoever! You will inevitably end up with a lot more aches and pains than if you did strength training. After my video, I had some yummy chia pudding with fruit and some greek yogurt to add in a bit more protein!

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I am burnin’ through my new Skinnytaste cookbook, and loving every minute of it! I have a new recipe from this book today: Beef and Broccoli. I LOVE Chinese food, but it is often bad for you with tons of fat and sodium. I have never been good at making Chinese food at home, so only the simplest recipes seem to work for me. This one fit the bill, and is now one of my husband’s favorites!

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I served this with some brown rice and it was awesome. I have recently changed from white rice to brown rice mostly because it has more protein and fiber, and  also because I feel better when I eat brown rice rather than white, which is important!

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Beef and Broccoli Lightened Up (from Skinnytaste)

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb sirloin steak, trimmed and thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 medium green onions cut into 1 inch pieces, white and greens separated
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

In a shallow container, whisk cornstarch, 2 tsp soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Season steak with salt and place meat in this mixture and allow to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Boil broccoli for about 1 minute, or until bright green and slightly tender. Strain and rinse with cold water, set aside. Heat a large wok over high heat, add 1 tsp of oil and half the beef. Cook each side of the beef about 30 seconds and brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining meat and another tsp of oil. Set meat aside. Heat remaining tsp of oil in wok and add onion whites, garlic, and ginger cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli, brown sugar, 3 tbsp soy sauce, and oyster sauce and cook for 30 seconds. Add beef and cook 30 seconds more, remove from heat and stir in onion greens.

Get ready for a yummy weeknight meal that requires very little time or work! Serve with rice if desired. 🙂

Banana Nut Oat Muffins and a Run!

Good morning! Here it has been SUPER cold (at least cold for North Carolina), but I have been keeping up my running anyway, as you can see.

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I came back home from my 3 mile run yesterday and realized I couldn’t feel my arms… or my legs… or my torso… so yeah, winter totally sucks in my book! After my run I had a greek yogurt fruit parfait and a delicious banana nut oat muffin though, which is the recipe I am sharing today!

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These muffins are moist, sweet, and very filling. Not to mention they are only 162 calories a piece! Normally I put butter or peanut butter on banana bread, but these have tons of flavor and really don’t need a thing on them at all! Also I’d like to mention, this recipe uses white whole wheat flour. Am I the only one that didn’t know that was a thing?! Apparently it has all the health benefits of whole wheat but bakes up almost like all purpose. Amazing right?!

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Banana Nut Oat Muffins (from Skinnytaste with modifications)

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (this was 2 1/2 bananas for me)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Pour oats and almond milk into a large bowl and stir, let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F (I did 375F because my pan is dark) and line with 12 cupcake liners that are lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Add brown sugar, banana, egg whites, honey, oil, and vanilla to oats and stir. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Then pour this mixture gradually into your oat mixture, and stir only until incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour batter into liners, and bake 22-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before eating, as the texture changes!

I stored 6 of these in my refrigerator (because baked goods with banana tend to go bad quickly on the counter), and froze the other 6 to eat later. These are really delicious, and super filling with 2.5g of fiber and 4g of protein per muffin. I have been eating these for breakfast, and afternoon snacks too.

Enjoy, and have a happy healthy day! 🙂

Avocado Breakfast Sandwich and 12 Week Half Marathon Plan!

Yesterday morning I had this amazing avocado breakfast sandwich:

It is a super simple recipe anybody could make! I got it from my new Skinnytaste cookbook but you barely need instructions to make this! It’s funny how I used to HATE avocados and now I absolutely love them. Plus they’re so good for you, with tons of healthy fats. You do need to be careful how much you eat though, as they are quite high in calories as far as fruits go.

Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 2 tbsp chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped and seeded tomato
  • 2 slices whole wheat toast
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1/4 sliced avocado
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat a medium sized pan to medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Throw in scallions, bell pepper, and tomato, season and cook about 1 minute or until slightly tender. Lower heat to medium low, pour in egg whites, season and cook until set (about 40 seconds for me). Using a spatula, fold over half of the eggwhites to a crescent moon shape. Cook for a few seconds, then fold again. Assemble sandwich with buttered toast, egg mixture, and sliced avocado. Enjoy! 🙂

The original recipe doesn’t use butter, but I just knew I wouldn’t like it unless it had a little! I’m from the south, what can you do?!

I am so excited about starting half marathon training Sunday! I have been going over training schedules this week and, after taking the best parts of several of them, I have made my own. Feel free to use it, or not!

half marathon plan

fr=foam roll, mi=mile, m=meter, I used abbreviations to save space!

I am not a professional but I can say that last year I did a schedule very similar to this and everything worked out just fine for me. No, I do not have any scheduled rest days, that is pretty much what my yoga/stretch day is for. No rest days just works better for me, I find that I eat better when I don’t take a rest day. I know it’s all psychological, but it works for me!

My sister thinks I’m a nut for being excited about training, but I really truly am! I am SO looking forward to those long runs with nothing to do but spend quiet time with my iPod! Have a healthy happy day y’all! 🙂

 

Morning Workout and Half Marathon Decision!

Happy Monday to all!

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Yes, ladies and gents, I finally made a decision on my half marathon. I will be taking part in the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in downtown Raleigh on April 10th! Woohoo!!!!!! I will also be doing this with 2 friends, because 13.1 miles is so much more fun with friends! 🙂

In the future I will be posting my workout schedule and tips for running a half marathon! This will be my second one, and will be pretty hilly so I’m going to be including lots of hill workouts in the next few weeks.

This morning I got up early and did the 21 Day Fix Total Body Cardio video. I hadn’t done that one in a while, and I loved it!! I will definitely be doing some 21DF videos during my training because they are great for strength training and cardio. After my workout I made protein oatmeal with hidden greens, and it was awesome!

Have a healthy happy week y’all!

Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken and Yoga!

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!!! *sings*

I’m so happy it’s almost the weekend! Going back to work after break for Christmas is hard… adulting is hard in general, haha!

Since I am definitely signing up for a half marathon soon, I am trying to get rededicated to healthy eating and working out on the regular. I think I’m going to try a bit stricter diet and have a “cheat meal” once a week. I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

This morning I got in an awesome yoga video. This one is 45 minutes long, and will have you sweating in no time! This one actually has some cardio in it so it’s perfect for me! I really love yoga because it stretches you out while also strengthening your muscles. In addition it’s a great stress reliever, along with most other exercise I think.

Last night I tried another Skinnytaste recipe and surprise surprise… Garrett and I loved it! It’s Santa Fe Chicken, and it’s super easy and very versatile. Plus it’s a slow cooker recipe, which I love because I can put everything in the crockpot in the morning, and when I get home from work I have a delicious meal waiting for me!

You eat this as a stew (which I did) topped with chopped scallions and a little plain Greek yogurt.

You can have it over brown rice with lime juice (which I also did!) if you want a bit heavier meal. She also suggests it as an enchilada filler, which I will certainly try at some point!  1 cup is only 181 calories, which makes this a total winner to me.

Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken

  • 1 can (14oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 3 chopped scallions (plus some extra for topping)
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Put all ingredients except chicken into crockpot and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in crockpot. Cook on low 10 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, shred chicken in crockpot. Serve as a soup topped with scallions and Greek yogurt, over rice, as enchilada filler, etc. The possibilities are endless! 🙂 I added slightly more chicken broth to mine, because I wanted it to be soupier (um, it’s January and freezing!).

Have a healthy happy weekend y’all!