Tag Archives: healthy living

Superfood Smoothie

Over the weekend I found myself with some strawberries and bananas that were about to go bad, so I decided that they would be perfect smoothie fruit.  But the strawberries and bananas aren’t the real stars of this show.  The ingredients that really make this is a ‘superfood’ smoothie are the ginger, baby spinach, and cinnamon.  Not to mention that the greek yogurt will keep you full until lunch time.
ginger strawberry banana smoothie

Ginger is packed full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that offer a wide variety of benefits.  This article from Authority Nutrition lists 11 different health benefits of ginger.  It’s a pretty incredible little root.

Cinnamon is also classified as a superfood and has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with a host of ailments.

Baby Spinach is one of those leafy greens that everyone is always raving about because of its high dose of nutrients and low calorie count.  Spinach is also a good source of iron and B vitamins which will give you the energy boost you need to combat the day.

Superfood Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • 1 tsp diced ginger root
  • dash of cinnamon
  • handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut almond milk

Blend and enjoy!

smoothie for one serving

Butternut Goat Cheese Salads

I actually found this little gem in my drafts from August and although, it’s actually not what I’m having for lunch this week, it is perfect for the season!  (And it was delicious).

butternut goat cheese salad

Butternut Goat Cheese Salads

Ingredients:

If you’re in the market to spice up your lunches and celebrate the season, definitely give it a try.  I would also like to try it with pomegranate seeds instead of the craisins.

pomegranate seeds

I put these on a chicken kale & wild rice salad last night and it was glorious.  I also squeezed in a 6 mile run with the Queen B and made enough salads for lunches the rest of the week. Success!

6 mile run garmin 220

…And then ate two huge bowls of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s before bed because I was starving.

trader joe's pumpkin o's

No regrets.  They kind of remind me of Apple Jacks or something, but pumpkin.  If that makes sense? Definitely worth a try.

Have a great day!

A Healthy Fall-Inspired Dinner

Last week when I was at the grocery store, I decided to make an impulse buy.  I actually didn’t realize for the longest time that people cooked with acorn squash.  I thought it was just one of those squashes that people use to decorate with… like a pumpkin or a gourd.  I know, sometimes I wonder how I’ve survived this long in my bubble.

So I went home with my acorn squash and looked up some recipes.  That’s when I came across this Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage recipe by Epicurious. I don’t think I’ve tried a recipe yet off of this site that I didn’t love.  So I went with it.

acorn squash

acorn squash sausage kale

I may never figure out how to take pretty pictures of food.  Foodies, tell me your secrets! Please!!!

The recipe turned out pretty good, but I have to be honest… the leftover pumpkin cookies are what really completed the meal.  They just took it up that extra notch to round out the awesome fall flavors.

pumpkin cookies

On a side note – me and the Queen B braved some rain drops and survived a 4 mile run yesterday after work. I really can’t figure out everything that makes for a good run, but every once in a while the stars align and I just feel like I could go all Forrest Gump on the sidewalk.  That was yesterday.  So on that note, gotta keep the momentum going!  Happy Tuesday!

Week 1

Hello there! Long time no talk.  The past month has been crazy busy at work, but this week I made a commitment to myself that I would get back on track… so here we go.  Week 1 (and some random ramblings about the happenings of late).

  1. I signed up to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again in May as a charity runner for the Animal Rescue League.  Last year was the first year I signed up as a charity runner and I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  It will be a bit more difficult for me this year because living 3 hours away will make it tough to participate in most of the charity events, but the show must go on!  If you would like to donate to the cause or become a charity runner yourself, you can find my page here:

2. I have been trying to take advantage of this beautiful fall weather to get some runs in.  I recently got a Fitbit Charge HR and I am in LOVE.  It is such a motivator for me to get moving when I have to try to meet my 10,000 steps and to get to bed when I want to meet my 8 hour sleep goals.

Fitbit Charge HR

I also really enjoyed Laurel’s FitBit challenge this week.  I actually walked laps around our apartment to meet my goal last night… but hey, a step’s a step.

I don’t think I’m the only one enjoying all these extra steps…

when you can't even

3. On Tuesday evening I even made it back to the yoga studio for a hot happy hour.  I love yoga.  It is such a great workout physically and mentally.  And who doesn’t feel accomplished after a good sweat at a heated class??  I realized the other day that I haven’t been to a class since the beginning of the summer.  I should probably also mention that it feels painful to be back.  Holy crap, I was sore the past 2 days.  (But I secretly love it.)

4. Now the challenge will be to stick with it! Consistency is my arch nemesis (incase you haven’t noticed).  I know this is probably not my last ‘Week 1’ ever, but hopefully it is the last one for a while. 🙂

Now to keep the momentum going over the weekend!  Happy Friday, all!

Getting Over the 4 Mile Hurdle & Eating Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Good morning, I hope your week is off to a good start! The past few days I have been trying to get motivated to get running again and overall things have been going well, but I can’t seem to break that 4 mile hurdle.  Fall is my absolute favorite time for running.  The air is cool and crisp and it’s so much easier to breathe, so I’m hoping to really get back into my groove… but man, it’s painful starting over.

4 miles garmin forerunner

I think I may need to bite the bullet and sign up for another race in my near future.

But on another (more delicious) note, dinner last night was incredibly easy and super yummy.  We had some leftover chicken in the fridge and on my way home from work I had a serious craving for a buffalo chicken sandwich.  There is nothing I love more than a healthy meal that takes minimal time to make. On Saturday night, Kris concocted this buffalo sauce and I totally stole it from him for this sandwich – so a shout out to him for forever changing buffalo chicken in our household!  Also, I have to admit I did not measure anything… but error on the side of caution with the spicy ingredients!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • grilled chicken breast (sliced)
  • Yogurt bleu cheese dressing
  • Frank’s red hot sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • swiss cheese
  • whole wheat bun

Toppings:

  • baby arugula
  • sliced red onion
  • tomato

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F

In a mixing bowl, combine leftover chicken, yogurt bleu cheese dressing (I used Wegman’s brand), Frank’s red hot sauce, and sriracha sauce to desired spicy-ness.  Make sure the chicken is evenly coated.

Top your bun with the coated chicken and add a slice of swiss cheese on top.  Put the sandwiches in the oven for 5 minutes (until cheese is melted).

Top with desired toppings. Enjoy!

easy buffalo chicken sandwiches

We had ours with a side of baby cucumbers and carbonated water.

Have a good one!

Summertime Hamburgers + Mint Iced Tea

Hello, hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!  We had a nice, low key Saturday while we did our best to savor the last of the summer.  I can’t believe Fall is upon us!!!! (But I’m actually totally psyched about it, this is my favorite time of the year.)

Me and B started our Saturday with some yogurt, iced coffee, and a morning run:

coffee yogurt water

gsp yogurt

perfect august day

4 miles garmin forerunner

Boom. 4 more miles in the books.  Although B called it quits after 2.  I could tell she wanted to go home because she was pulling toward our apartment every time we passed our street and I get pretty nervous about heat stroke when the sun is that intense.

After the run, we did some cleaning and I sipped on this refreshing carbonated water while I did some meal prep for lunch:

La Croix carbonated water

We had some ground beef in the fridge that we needed to cook, so we decided to make hamburgers for lunch, and they turned out delicious.  I don’t know if we were just extra hungry, but I’m telling you they really hit the spot.

Summertime Hamburgers:

Recipe makes 4 hamburgers.

Ingredients:

  • Burgers:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup panko (or bread crumbs)
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • salt / pepper
  • Toppings:
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 sliced roma tomato
  • baby arugula
  • red onion
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • ketchup/mustard/other condiment

hamburger ingredients

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir it up until it’s well mixed.  (I used probably about a tablespoon of the Montreal steak seasoning, and a decent coating of the salt/pepper.)

Once the ingredients are well mixed, divide into 4 parts and make patties:

hamburger patties

Grill to desired done-ness and add a slice of cheese so it gets melty and delicious.  Add toppings and put that sucker on a bun – done!

hamburger

We enjoyed our burgers with a side of cucumbers/hummus and some cool mint iced tea.

cucumbers hummus

Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 13 cups water (3 liters)
  • Herbal mint tea (5 bags)

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil
  • Add tea bags
  • Steep for 3-5 minutes
  • Place in the fridge to cool down

peppermint herbal tea

mint iced tea

Enjoy over ice!

4 Miles and Eggplant Parmesan

Yesterday was a long day filled with work, running, and cooking.

After work I came home for a 4 mile run.  The little Beester came with me for 2 of them, but it was way too hot and humid, especially for a pup to be logging the miles.

4 miles

(I swear I tried to lighten up this picture, but my efforts were futile.  It took me about 39:20 to run 4 miles.  Not my best time ever, but I’m generally happy if I average under 10 minute miles.)

I hadn’t run in a while and I felt surprisingly good.  There’s nothing better than a run that feels good both mentally and physically.  I wasn’t even counting down the miles, which has felt rare lately.  After my run I chugged some dark chocolate almond milk while I looked up a recipe for dinner.  I think I could easily drink that whole carton in 2 servings.  It is heavenly.

dark chocolate almond milk

I had an eggplant that needed to be cooked but I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen making eggplant parmesan, so I did a little research and came up with this Whole Foods Market recipe.  It was still a decent amount of work, but it was easy enough and it turned out delicious!

eggplant parmesan

I actually had some broccoli on hand so I decided to make the broccoli side as well (recipe is also included in the Whole Foods link).

roasted broccoli eggplant parm

Dinner was a success!  And lunch will be leftovers.  Happy hump day!

You Know you Need A Motivation Monday When…

Yesterday morning as I was sitting at my desk, sulking in my Monday blues, I decided it was a good time to do some organizing which happened to include a very large stack of papers that needed stapled back together and filed.

In the midst of my stapling frenzy, I realized that my shoulder was getting tired… From picking up a stapler and putting it back on my desk over and over. While I was feeling a little embarrassed for myself, I realized that it was a clear sign that I needed some motivation. And also that I need to re-evaluate my summer routine.

In an effort to save some money and embrace the summer weather, I quit my gym membership and came up with a handful of circuit workouts that I was going to combine with running. Well let me just be the first to admit that I have officially fallen off the wagon.

out of shape meme

Here are some other signs that you might also need a good, old fashioned, Motivation Monday:

1. Your arms are aching while blow drying your hair (check)

2. You are embarrassingly out of breath at the top of the stairs (yep)

3. Doing one push-up feels like the equivalent of running a marathon (ugh)

4. You post a Motivation Monday post on a Tuesday (whoops)…

On the plus side, I spent all last night grocery shopping and meal planning so at least I have a plan!  Here’s what’s on the agenda today:

Breakfast: English muffin with peanut butter

Snack: Fruit!

fruit bowl

Lunch: One of these awesome salads with baby spinach, arugula, sprouts, cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, edamame, and cottage cheese.

lunch salad

Snack: yogurt and green tea

Dinner: Some sort of eggplant/zucchini parmesan

How do you know when it’s time to re-evaluate your workout regimen?

How to Make your Weeknights Easier

Happy hump day!  We’re moving right along this week!  I tried a little bit of a different approach to meals for the week and so far it’s making my weeknights a thousand times better.  Yesterday I shared with you my mason jar chicken salads that I prepped for lunches for the week.  All I have had to do in the mornings is brew some coffee (every other day, anyway… I usually brew a pot and put the leftovers in the fridge to make iced coffee every other morning), throw my bread in the toaster for my breakfast, and grab a mason jar chicken salad out of the fridge.

breakfast sunflower butter

mason jar salad

Along with the chicken salads, I also made a cheeseburger casserole so all I have had to do after work was scoop some into a bowl, pop it in the microwave, and enjoy!  I like to add the pickles and a little extra ketchup and mustard to mine to make it really taste like a cheeseburger.  I also used whole grain pasta, and it turned out super filling and delicious.

cheeseburger casserole

dinner

While I was working hard in the kitchen, I got really ambitious and made some chocolate chip cookies too.  A while ago my friend had given me this recipe along with instructions to replace the butter in the recipe with 1 stick of butter and 1/2 of a brick of cream cheese.  They are delicious.  If you’re looking for a little evening pick-me-up I would highly recommend them.

With meals for the day ready to go I had time to hit a hot yoga class after work, come home and eat, and spend the rest of the evening relaxing!

Lunch for the Week: Mason Jar Chicken Salads

On Sunday I decided to try an experiment for lunches this week.  I have seen a few articles online about putting salads in mason jars.  Not only does it look delicious, but it keeps your dressing on the bottom and lettuce on the top so that it doesn’t get soggy by the end of the week.  It’s also a major selling point that Ball mason jars are around $10 for a 9-12 jar pack and are made of glass.  I made traditional chicken salads for mine, but there are tons of different options out there.  This Buzzfeed article lists 18 different types of salads with links to the recipes.

Mason Jar Chicken Salads

Mason Jar Chicken Salads

Makes 8 mason jar salads.  Cut ingredients in half if cooking for one.

Ingredients:

– yogurt bleu cheese dressing

– balsamic vinegar

– 6 baby cucumbers, sliced

– 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms

– 3 bell peppers, diced

– 2 lbs of cooked chicken breast (I used chipotle pepper seasoning on mine)

– 1 bag baby spinach

Instructions:

1. Chop and cook chicken as desired.

2. Layer the ingredients in order of the list above (first to last) so that the dressing is on the bottom.

3. Stock the fridge, grab on your way out the door, and enjoy!

I enjoyed mine with a side of fruit and a few pieces of dark chocolate.