Friday, December 6, 2013

Protein Packed Bean Salad

I have been obsessed with this recipe lately and always have a batch of it in my fridge! I found something similar at a specialty grocery store in my area and decided I could make it from home to save some $. I love using this as a side dish to any meat and I have also been eating it over lettuce with some vinegar and grilled chicken mmmmmm! All of the ingredients are super simple and basic and the blend packs a powerful punch of protein, nutrients, and fiber.  Even a small portion will leave you feeling full and satisfied without a dramatic impact on your calorie count!

Protein Packed Bean Salad

-1/2 cup cooked quinoa
-1 can red kidney beans
-1 can white kidney beans
-1 can chickpeas
-3 stalks of kale
-1 small cucumber
-2 carrots (or 8 baby carrots)
-1 colored bell pepper of choice
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp Mrs. Dash of choice

1) Drain and rinse all beans in strainer
2) Chop kale, carrots, cucumber, and colored pepper
3) Mix together lemon juice, vinegar, oil, and seasoning
4) Mix all ingredients together in large bowl
6) Enjoy!

-Store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container
-You can add whatever other veggies sound good to you
-You can also mess around with the seasoning and different vinegars

Let's play catch up shall we....

So it has been 2 months!  It has been a whirlwind at work with year end and in life.  I started this blog as something to track my food, fitness, and adventures and the last few months life has been getting in the way of many of those things.  But I want to get back into it and start to share the new things that have been keeping me busy!  So what have I been up to the last 2 months....

1) Graduating!!!  I had finished up my classes but I finally got my diploma and it was the best feeling in the world.

2) Job hunting, planning a move, trying not to freak out!  Yup this is a daily battle.  I am still planning on moving early next year to MN to be with the BF so right now I am trying to find a job and an easy way to transition out of the one I am in.  I know I have plenty of time but I am still stressed and keeping my fingers crossed that I find the perfect job for me!

3) Running a marathon relay!  The Detroit Marathon Relay was an absolute blast!  It was so fun to be running with 4 of my favorite people and it was a really fun but long day.  Since I was the last leg I had to wait about 4 hours before it was my time to run, thankfully we had heated charter busses that I was able to sleep on.  Overall we didn't finish at our goal time but it was still a great experience.  Oh and I had the best view from my leg start!

4) Putting on a tutu and celebrating halloween!  My girlfriends and I decided to be tutu superheros this year and I think it turned out super cute.  We also did pumpkin carving and learned that some of us are better at it then others lol

5) Celebrating 2 amazing years with the BF!  I cannot believe we have already been together for 2 years... it is one of the cliche feel like you know them forever but still have those early on butterfly feelings that is just too good to be true.  Since we are apart we decided that the best way to celebrate would be to meet in the middle in Chicago.  We did the classic touristy stuff, attended a Second City comedy show (which was hilarious) and went to soldier field for my first ever bears game.  I was seriously like a small child I was so excited.  It was a perfect weekend with the man I love!

6) Ran my first trail race!  It is called the dirty duel mud run and last year it was sponsored by Red Bull.  It took almost an hour to complete the 5K course and it was all natural obstacles like large hills and sand dunes.  I was sore for days but it was one of the coolest races I have ran.


7) Thankgiving!  This year I flew out to MN and spent the whole weekend with just the BF.  His family was in Florida but we couldn't coordinate it in our schedule so we decided to spend the long weekend with eachother and good friends.  I made enough food for a small army but the BF was happy he didn't have to cook the rest of the week.  We also ran a 5K around gorgeous Lake Calhoun which has a perfect view of downtown Minneapolis... too bad it was only 5 degrees that morning so I didn't take too many pics!

8) Recommitting to fitness!  My knees haven't been doing so well with running so I decided to fall in love with some other forms of fitness.  I joined a gym in my area and take 3-4 classes a week.  I am obsessed with Barre (probably since I have a dance background) and have been taking TRX, yoga, tabata, and bootcamp classes.  I have really seen a transformation in my body and I am loving how much it is mixed up.  I have slowly started getting back into running after taking a few weeks off and I just bought a brand new pair of shoes.  I have even told myself that I will be running a Marathon in 2014 so we will see how that goes!!!

 So that is my life in a nut shell!  Now I feel caught up and can get back to it!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

3 Days of Crazy!

This is my life for 3 days!

When it came to resseting my mind and my body I decided to try something a little dramatic with my routine.  I have looked into juice cleanses before and have usually been afraid of the costs, the willpower involved, or the nasty side effects (hellllo master cleanse).  Plus we all know I love my food so I have never really gotten to the point where I really was motivated to give up my food for liquids.  This time was different and I am so happy I decided to give it a go.  Thankfully I have some crazy friends that wanted to join me so we are taking this little adventure together!

The Blue Print Cleanse has been toted has one of the highest quality juice cleanses on the market but the $300 price tag for 3 days after shipping was just not going to happen.  Thankfully the fun little thing called the internet exists and I was able to find a DIY BPC from this amazing blogger.  It also helps that one of my girlfriends invested in a really nice juicer and was excited to use it. 

How it works:  So you drink a total of 6 juices each day for 3 days, that is it no other foods.  Almost every juice is different to balance your fruit and veggie intake.  Since we decided to make all of our juices on our own we used the master grocery list from the blog link above and had a grocery haul that was a little insane!  The cost was only $50 total for groceries for the 3 days so I consider that a total WIN compared to the costs of the other juices.

We researched and read that fresh juices usually keep best in mason jars and less thea 24 hours, so we decided to juice every night.  Since neither of us have ever actually juiced before (or peeled a pineapple lol) the first night was a little rough and it took us about 2 hours.  Last night we were champs and were able to get everything done in about 1.  The prep is annoying but since we are saving hundreds of dollars it is totally worth it. 

You are supposed to keep your workouts light through the cleanse so yesterday and today I walked 2 miles as lunch and tonight I hope to get in at least another 2.  I am afraid to do hot yoga even though I know sweating is a good thing on detox but it just seems like a little too much right now!

So far I have been really surprised at how easy it has been.  Of course I miss food but I realized that I miss more the act of eating and making food then anything.  It is just another day of choosing fresh and healthy meals instead of choosing to eat the pizza, pasta, tacos, and all other amazing foods that parade around me every ay at work.  Now I won't be doing it for more than 3 days, but I will for sure be doing it again whenever I feel the need to restart and whenever my friends are up for being crazy with me.  Friday I will do a full recap on how the 3 days went!

Now to meet the juices!  Again if you want the recipes, directions, and much more information head over this blog to check out the woman who did all the hard work for me!

 The green juice AKA "The Salad":  So this is your first and third juice of the day and is packed full of veggies.  The recipe calls for romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, apple, and lemon and oh boy is it powerful.  The apple and lemon do kill a lot of the flavor but it does still really taste like a salad lol! 

PAM:  This is your second drink of the day and is pretty simply pineapple, apple, and mint (if you remember to add it of course OOPS).  This is by far my favorite juice but lets be honest it is the only one that doesn't contain veggies and tastes like a tropical mixed drink minus the fun booze. Oh yea and in the first pic this is the slightly pink one because the first day we did the beets in the juicer first and it turned everything pink lol

Spicy Lemon: This is the drink that is exclusively on the master cleanse for anyone that has looked into it and is your fourth drink on the plan. It consists of water, lemons, which you juice whole by the way and blew my mind, agave, and cayenne pepper. To be honest I thought this was be good but it is just far too tart and spicy at once for my taste buds to comprehend.  The perk is though this is the one I drink in the late afternoon and the spicy def does give me a pick me up.

BAC: Beet, apple, and carrot is for some reason the combination that I can not seem to enjoy even an ounce of.  This is def my struggle juice (hence the straw) but my friends seem to really enjoy it.  I think the carrot makes it oddly bitter or something but it just isn't my cup of tea.  Oh and beware it stains anything it comes in contact with hot flipping pink!

Cashew milk:  This is a blended mixture of cashews, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave.  Lots of times this is called the dessert juice but mine wasn't all that sweet.  And even though I love my blender it wasn't quite enough to turn this completely smooth so I did have to chew a little but it was actually a welcome occurence after a day of just liquids.  I did actually go to Whole Foods today and pick up the real Cashew milk for the BPC since our local store carries all of the juices, and I also forgot to soak my cashews overnight so I knew it wouldn't work for me tonight!  Oh well I only gave in on this one so I don't feel too bad about it.

Again tomorrow I will give a full update but hopefully others will not be as afraid to try this crazy little 3 day adventure now!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Running is always better in new gear

I swear I am only ever motivated to run when I A) have a race that I am excited about or B) have new running gear!  Thankfully I have the later which made running yesterday enjoyable.

Sooo two weekends ago when I was in Minnie with the BF we decided to stop at an outlet mall on our way up to the lake house.  I love Banana Republic clothes for work but don't like to pay full price so we figured we would just swing in to look at a few things.  Well while there I saw a few girls with Lululemon Athletica bags.... I had heard a rumor that Lululemon outlets existed but knew there were none in MI so I never really looked again.  Well to my surprise the outlets we were at had them!!!  No I have always loved their workout gear but have never ever ever been able to afford anything more then a headband lol!  I was like a kid in a spandex candy store with everything 30-60% off!!  Pretty sure the BF thought I was crazy but I was just so excited to stock up on some new gear.  I walked out with 3 new pairs of running pants and 1 new pair of yoga shorts... I could have bought so much more but wanted to keep it under control (at least for this trip HA).  I was so pumped for the weather to wear my new leggings that it actually made me kinda excited to run.

I was able to get in 3 miles, the first 2 were pretty solid and I had to walked some of the 3rd but it still boosted my confidence for the relay next weekend.  I plan on doing 5 this weekend just so that I know I have it on race day but for now I am feeling good!  I guess I will have to sign up for another race soon so that I keep up my motivation, and my excuse to buy new stuff!

Weekend update

This was my first weekend back in the mitten state after two away so I was excited to catch up with my girlfriends and soak up some football.

Friday night was a happy hour that never ended.... I swear this happens way too often. Started out innocent enough at 4pm and then happy hour turned into cocktail hour, and cocktail hour turned into shuffle board and then all starts to get a bit fuzzy lol! My original plan was to be home at 7pm so that I could bake cupcakes for the next day and get in some good rest. After many failed attempts (thanks to my enabling girlfriends) I finally made it home around 1am and realized that I still needed to make cupcakes. How they didn't end up into charred little hockey pucks I am not sure but they actually turned out great! Of course I seem to lack in the taking pictures front probably for the better but here is the one gem I do have from the night when we were being driven to another bar by a very nice sober friend since we didn't want to walk in the rain!

Saturday was homecoming for University of Michigan and they played University of Minnesota. Growing up in Michigan most people fall into 2 fan categories, Michigan or Michigan State, I was always a state girl and have always had a distaste for Michigan. Somehow I have seemed to make friends and live with only those who loooove UofM so I am always outnumbered. This weekend though was fun because now that BF is attending Minnesota and since I have the gear I was able to respectfully cheer against the home team! We had a ton of people come out and meet up for day drinking, and classing tailgating games. It was a super long day between the tailgating, full football game, and after events but it was so fun to be away with my friends and acting like we were still in college.


Sunday was recovery day and watching my Bears get their butts kicked again in football :-( seems to be a new Sunday tradition! I also got all of my errands and random life tasks pulled together and started working on the resume so I can start applying for jobs in Minnie!!!

Sunday I also decided with a good girlfriend to start a crazy new health adventure this week that I will have to share tomorrow so I can do a good write up on it... get excited!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thankfully I don't need my shoulder to make smoothies

Sooo apparently taking 2 weeks off is not a really good idea!  With a mix of vacations, allergies, and just general laziness (lets be honest) I really haven't done much physically in the last 2 weeks.  I think I went to yoga a few times and maybe got in a total of 4 miles but nothing note worthy. 

Yesterday I decided that it was time to get back into the swing on things with a run, a little toning, and some Bikram.  The run was horrible... didn't help that it was 80 degrees and I packed my cold weather gear but I still couldn't get it more than a mile without feeling like I was going to die.  I know I just need to get back into it but it was really frustrating.  Thankfully one of my favorite bloggers RunEatRepeat also had a rough day of running and had a whole post on not letting one bad run get you down or unmotivated, she ran 8 miles while being unmotivated but it still applies lol! Toning went well and I did one of my favorite tone it up routines that worked my whole body.

Then it came to yoga, I knew it was going to be tough when I couldn't even concentrate and get into a flow during the opening breathing set.  The thing about Bikram is that it is already a challenge to get your mind around what you are doing so when your mind is else ware it is nearly impossible.  I found myself having to take way more water breaks and rest breaks then usual but I just chocked it up to having an off day.  I made it all the way to pose 20 before it all went downhill.... I was actually feeling good during this pose so I decided to try the full extension for the first time and OMG I was wrong.  Here is a pic for anyone who is curious what I was trying to accomplish:

Well right after I got my back on the ground and my arms back I felt something start to pull in my leg, instead of breathing calmly and properly getting out of the pose as they instruct I panicked! I somehow tried to push myself up with my right arm while flipping onto my side, basically I probably looked like an upside down turtle trying to right itself, and I ended up pulling something major in my back. I knew immediately I had messed something up since I had shooting pain from my lower back up to my right shoulder blade that is still horribly painful today. I am thinking the next few days aren't going to be so pretty!

Tonight my hope is to get in a solid 3 miles since I only have about 2.5 weeks to get my shi* together for the relay! On and a boat load of icy hot for my back!

And now for some happy news on the healthy eating front, I have a brand new smoothie that I am in love with.  I have mentioned before that smoothies are a staple in my diet since I can prep them quickly and bring them with me to work.  I found an inspiration recipe on Eat Yourself Skinny a few weeks ago and I will be honest it took me awhile to actually try putting avocado in my smoothie but now at least for this version I am hooked.  I made sure to add some protein powder and adjusted the recipe for only 1 and my version tastes just like a dreamsicle!

Vanilla Mango Smoothie

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (1 scoop of mine is actually half of the recommended serving size)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 of a ripe avocado
1-1 1/2 cups water
Blend together, work up the courage to drink a slightly green smoothies containing avocado, and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Captain Morgan Apple Cider Cupcakes

I have a confession.... I hate fall! I know, I know, it seems like everyone and their brother acts like these are the best months of the year, but for me it just isn't true. There are a few things I do enjoy like college football, bonfires, cider mills, and dressing up for Halloween but that is about it. Most of fall I battle with the extreme sadness that the glorious summer is now over and the dread that winter is just a few dead leaves away from hitting. How do I get through these feelings..... booze of course (and hibernation but that is only after the snow hits HA)!

Living in the mitten state we are bombarded with an absurd amount of apples so a staple of almost any tailgate or gathering is cider and booze! Thanks to my besties being obsessed with Captain Morgan it is always around and usually our go to during these chilly few months. This last weekend was my first tailgate of the season at the University of Minnesota homecoming game. I knew I wanted to bring a tasty treat and figured there was no better thing to bring then boozy cupcakes!

After searching for a few recipes online I really couldn't find any that perfectly matched what I wanted so I took this recipe from Neighbor Food (which I loved because she used a box mix) and doctored it up do add in my favorite Captain Morgan flavor.  To say they went quick is an understatement, once I explained what they were they were gone and everyone loved them.  Hopefully these will be a hit at your fall gathering!

Captain Morgan Apple Cider Cupcakes
For the cake:
1 box vanilla cake mix
2 tsp cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Dash ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup Captain Morgan rum
For the frosting:
1 package cream cheese softened
1/4 butter softened
2 tsp apple cider
2 tsp Captain Morgan run
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
For the cake:
1) Mix together dry ingredients including boxed cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
2) Stir in remaining ingredients until smooth
3) Divide amongst 24 lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees according to the package directions
For the frosting:
1) Mix together all ingredients with electric mixer adding in powdered sugar only a cup at a time
2) Using a pastry bag, knife, or fancy ziplock bag with cut off corner technique (which I totally did) frost cooled cupcakes
3) Enjoy!
-I used apple cider concentrate from Williams-Sonoma to give the cupcakes more of an apple taste, if you don't have it no worries you just might not have as strong of a flavor
-To make these kid friendly just replace the rum with apple cider