What I Ate Wednesday: Lunch Lately

Hello and welcome to what should be the almost-halfway point of most of our weeks 😉 Gotta love 3-day weekends!

Mine was really fantastic. No recap post, but my really lovely Valentine’s day can be summed up in this lil collage I posted on Instagram:

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We enjoyed EnjoyBy IPAs on Friday night, hiked 8 miles through Stevens Trail on Saturday afternoon, and indulged in a yummy dinner and champagne on Saturday night – complete with leftover bacon mac n’ cheese the next morning 😉

Aaaanyway, on to the real subject at hand:

Something I’ve been known to do here on my little ol’ blog is overshare photos of what I eat for lunch. (See evidence : 1 2 3 4)

The catch is, most weeks I claim to have zero time to prepare lunches. I work out in the morning, am busy after work at least 3x per week with clubs, sports, etc, and dining out every day is not in my budget.

Enter: meal prep.

I’m not so crazy anymore about prepping all my food on Sunday night, but I definitely wouldn’t be able to achieve a mostly-brought-from-home lunch regimen if I didn’t spend 30-60 minutes in the kitchen each week prepping some easily transportable food for lunches. Continue reading

Homemade Frozen Chicken Burritos

Hold the phones, people. I am posting a RECIPE!!

Back when this blog was born, I was pretty much posting at least one recipe a week, with very few posts dedicated to fitness and even FEWER dedicated to running any distance further than 2 miles. Oh how things have changed

To tell you the truth, when I started blogging, I was working a job that wasn’t extremely demanding time or energy-wise, and I actually had enough spare time some days to write or read blogs at work, or at least browse Pinterest for recipe ideas. I was also living at home with my parents in those early blogging days, where I had access to a much better stocked kitchen.

So when I got home from work, I was stoked to test out the recipes I had seen that day, or experiment with whatever I had in the kitchen.

However, as I’ve expressed before, lately all I have the strength or ambition to muster up for dinner when I get home is a plate of cheese and crackers with some green stuff (sometimes) and a glass of wine. Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Curry Chickpea Patties

Hey y’all! Hope you had a great weekend!

I have a serious case of the Mondays today…like we’re talkin hit the snooze button 4 times, get out of bed, take a shower, then get back into bed until the last possible second kind of case of the Mondays.

Before I send you guys off to my delicious recipe, I’ll share a couple of quick photos from the weekend – it was a great one!

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I kicked Saturday off with a long FAST run that was cut short – I was running late [no pun intended, har har!] for ultimate frisbee practice and really had to pee, so instead of running home I just stopped at Yvette’s place and we shot over to practice frisbee with our team!

Later that evening, Kristin and I represented Team America at the Beer Olympics! I didn’t do great at most any of the events, but it was still a fun time — I think our Chuck Norris trucker hats at least gave us spirit points!

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If Saturday was about sports, Sunday was about FOOD! Scott hosted brunch and Yvette found a recipe for French toast roll ups (stuffed with strawberries and Nutella) that was a Pinterest win!

Then I grabbed a Lyft to my parents’ neighborhood to see Alex, who was in town from NYC. We all BBQ’ed and he made me a bacon-wrapped hot dog. Score! Also, Mike & I had a photoshoot because we realized that our hair is currently the same length. #twinsies!

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ANYWAY, after a weekend of lots of activity, but also lots of indulgence, I always crave healthy clean eats to get my system re-energized. That’s why I’m bringing you a Meatless Monday post today!

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These curry chickpea patties are SO flavorful, and they’re healthy to boot! Lots of protein and fiber in these guys. Plus the leftovers are perfect for reheating and bringing for lunch — see above 😉

However, to get the recipe, you’ll have to shoot over to Becky’s blog, where I’m guest posting today!

Do you bring your lunch to work? What’s your favorite tip for avoiding eating out?

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Lunch Lately

Wellcoooooome Wednesday!!!

Sorry. I’m just excited that it only feels like Tuesday, but it’s already Wednesday! Best Feeling Ever.

Since I started work again and put myself on a budget, I’ve been a little worried about what I’d be eating, whether it’d be healthy, and whether I’d be able to avoid eating out and spending too much money. {For the record, I have been keeping to my $30/week grocery budget! I’m still under my overall budget, but have been slipping in certain areas…I’ll be sure to give you all an update at the end of the month!}

Luckily, it was super easy to get back on the healthy workweek lunch wagon. I do miss the leisurely breakfasts and lunches I was enjoying at home, but my lunches haven’t been too shabby! So this week I’m linking up with What I Ate Wednesday to share my first week of work lunches.

As Jenn at Peas & Crayons puts it:
WIAW is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so. much. more. <3
Be sure to check out Jenn’s post to see who else is linking up today.
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The first “Sunday food prep” meal I made for lunches last week was a curry quinoa. I sauteed kale, celery, ginger, garlic & onions in a bunch of Indian spices (curry powder, coriander, cumin seeds, & turmeric) then stirred in cooked quinoa. It made 3 servings – one I ate at home with a tortilla (see above) and the other two I brought in a tupperware to work!
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Didn’t think I could say bye to my breakfast for lunch meals forever, did you? I am super thankful that my new office is just around the corner from my old one, AKA only 8 blocks from my apartment! I have plenty of time to bike or walk home for lunch and cook up a quick simple, healthy, clean meal…like avocado & toast + eggs & salsa 🙂
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Pretty much the exact same meal, except I loaded my eggs up with goat cheese instead of salsa because I had run 5 miles that morning and wanted some extra protein! That bread is whole wheat flaxseed bread I found at the Farmers Market and it is AMAZING. Small slices so they’re only 70 calories a pop, and it’s got a great texture since it’s loaded with flaxseeds – hello protein and Omega-3s!
This week, I went super ultra cheap for my lunches. I use the Safeway Just For U app pretty regularly to find deals at the grocery store (it even gives you personalized deals based on the items you buy the most!) and this week, I noticed that they were offering a free bag of chopped salad with your purchase. I checked out the ingredient list and it actually didn’t seem too bad, so I picked up the Asian variety:
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The dressing isn’t exactly low fat, but I figured all the cabbage and carrots made up for it!
To bulk up the salad enough to make it stretch a few meals, I mixed in 3/4 cup (dry) of cooked quinoa right after it finished cooking. Raw cabbage is kind of rough on the digestive system, so I figured the hot quinoa would cook it and mellow it down a little.
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Winner winner quinoa dinner! It was super tasty!
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I had time to run home for lunch yesterday and enjoyed a bowl with the wonton strips that the salad came with. Today I am anticipating running errands at lunch, so I brought bowl #2 in a tupperware! I think I’ll add sriracha today too…it would go perfectly with the sesame dressing!
That’s it for week 1 of my workday eats!
Check out some other installments of Lunch Lately to see how I eat healthy during the workweek:
1 2 3 4
How often do you eat out?
Do you prep your breakfasts or lunches?

What I Ate Wednesday

Though I have been blogging for well over a year now, there’s one typical “healthy living blogger” blog post I’ve never done…until today!

What I Ate Wednesday.

I try to avoid posting pictures of every.single.thing I eat, unless what I’m eating is particularly good looking, great tasting, or if it’s a meal I’m really proud of making. Well, none of the things in this post are good looking or mind blowing recipes.. but I generally don’t eat anything that isn’t delicious 🙂 Thankfully, even if I don’t share it on the blog, I have friends who don’t mind me snapping pix of everything I eat to them on Snapchat (Hi Linda Li!)

I’ve also been known to post what I can actually eat/make with a cast, and this time around is no exception! Actually, I’ve found that eating might be even harder with this broken thumb than it was with my broken hand. Though I eat with my left hand, I require my right thumb to chop veggies and hold a spatula. Also, washing dishes is interesting:

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(wearing a rubber glove, Grocery Outlet bag, and a plastic produce bag)

Without further ado, here’s what I ate yesterday.

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My standard breakfast for, like, the last month is 2 slices of Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted toast + Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations cream cheese spread. I won 5 wheels of the stuff in a Twitter contest back when I was at Blend, and I am still working through them! Pictured is cinnamon (left, SO yummy) and strawberry.

I am also really loving Alvarado St. bread at the moment. You can find it at Trader Joe’s (I got their Essential Flax bread there), but my trusted Grocery Outlet discount store recently started stocking it for way cheap! I usually get the California-style complete protein bread, or sprouted whole wheat. They’re the perfect size, pack some protein, and are only 80-90 calories a slice!

And since we’re on the subject of breakfast…

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I was so stoked to be able to make my overnight oats in almost-empty nut butter jars TWICE in the past couple of weeks! Although that also means I’m out of peanut butter and almond butter 🙁

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This morning, I had an epically fruity yogurt bowl. Banana cream pie yogurt, fresh pineapple, blueberries, and a dollop of my grandma’s apricot jam. The apricot jam and banana yogurt were actually a really yummy combo!

Since Friday, I have also been having either a calcium pill or multivitamin with breakfast 🙂

Snacks during the workday for the last 2 weeks have not changed:

SO ADDICTIVE!

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I only grab 3-4 at a time, but I always end up eating 2 servings (20 pretzels) worth in a day, haha. I have stopped trying to fight it, but I at least limit myself to one serving before lunch and one after 😛

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As is somewhat normal for me, I did a short workout at lunch. I lifted one small (5 lb) weight and, after realizing it was kind of painful, decided I probably shouldn’t risk injury. So, I’ve relegated myself to the sorority girl workout: elliptical and abs! I’ve made it my goal to have a 6 pack by the time my cast comes off in 4 weeks, haha. Yesterday, I did 20 mins on the elliptical, followed by a 1 min plank, 30 sec side planks, 2 sets of V-ups and Stability Ball sit-ups, and a little bit of work on my obliques.

Also, related note: be glad you’re not friends with me on Snapchat 😛

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Lunch was part 2 of the summer stew I prepped on Sunday: onion, garlic, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, lentils, and bell peppers. Aaand a La Tortilla Factory 100-calorie tortilla. LOVE those. 100 calories, 8g of fiber, and they’re huge! I was kind of ravenous after my workout, so I also found an Oats n Honey granola bar to tide me over till dinner.

Last night was laundry night so I was at my parents’ house for dinner:

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BLT’s are probably my family’s most common summer meal, since my dad grows so many tomatoes! Mine was 2 slices of 12-grain bread, 3-4 slices of juicy garden tomatoes, 3 slices of bacon (the real kind, not turkey…my brother’s request) and lots of arugula. On the side was honey dijon Kettle chips, pineapple, and a Lagunitas IPA! Seriously, perfect summer meal.

After dinner, I folded laundry and watched Breaking Bad (I’ve been catching up for almost a year, and am finally on season 4!)

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…while snacking on peanuts and tasting some sangria my mom bought. Yum!

Do you take pictures of everything you eat?

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Any ab/core workouts to recommend?

Meatless Monday: Vegan “Caprese” Pizza

If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook you probably saw this picture on Friday:

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I went to the store after work intending to buy white wine and avocados (standard Katie-Essentials) and somehow 2 bottles of kombucha and a tray of tofu found their way into my basket (um, not so standard Katie-Essentials). Most normal people, when strolling through the grocery store, will pick up “impulse purchases” like chocolate….cookies…chips…

Me? I’ve apparently gotten to a level of healthy blogger status that my impulse purchases are tofu and kombucha. Really…who am I?!

As far as the kombucha goes, I’m trying to incorporate more non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages into my diet. I realized when filling out that Healthy Living Survey on Friday that the only drinks I consume on a regular basis are water, tea, wine & beer. Whenever I sit down to read blogs or watch my TV shows in the evening, I often pour myself a glass of wine out of boredom more than anything else. Apparently, I can’t just sit and watch tv – I need to be sipping on something! I figure kombucha is a healthy alternative, since I don’t drink soda or juice.

The tofu though…I can’t really explain. I guess I was just buying it as an experiment and a challenge, since I’ve never cooked with it before. I also might have been inspired by Becky’s BBQ Tofu Pizza. 🙂

I am actually often not a fan of tofu. I used to actually pick out the slimy pieces of tofu in my miso soup as a kid, the slippery texture really freaked me out. However, I’ve challenged myself to figure out a way to cook it in a way that I like, and I’ve discovered it’s actually really easy!

My first trial involved the stove and I tried sauteing it in a stir fry – not so great.

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My second try was a success, and made its home on this pizza. I decided to let tofu stand in for the more traditional mozzarella cheese and call this baby a caprese pizza! It does have all the other traditional ingredients – giant tomatoes from my boss’s garden, and a kick of basil in the [cheeseless] pesto. I drizzled a little balsamic on top and voila! Vegan pizza.

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Baking the tofu in the oven gives it a nice crispy exterior and an all-around firm texture. Plus, it’s a perfect meal for one that will be ready in less than 30 minutes. Winner winner chicken tofu dinner?

Vegan “Caprese” Pizza
serves 1
inspired by Becky’s BBQ Tofu Pizza

1 whole wheat tortilla or pita
2-4 tablespoons vegan pesto (I whipped one up that did not include cheese)
2-3 slices tomato (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick)
5 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Begin by preparing your tofu – preheat oven to 375F and grease a baking sheet. Place tofu on baking sheet (if you’d like to roast the tomatoes, you can add them too) and bake for 20 minutes, flipping all the pieces once halfway through.

Meanwhile, prepare your pesto (if making yourself) and the balsamic drizzle. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and boil for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes syrupy and reduces in size by almost half. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

Place tortilla in oven for last few minutes of baking the tofu. Remove the tortilla and tofu (slash tomato) and start assembling: spread pesto on the tortilla, and top with tomatoes and tofu. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into slices and eat like a pizza, or just dig in!

Have you ever cooked with tofu?

Meatless Monday: Lemon-Basil Breakfast Hash

Told you guys I had a Meatless Monday post waiting for ya!

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And it involves mini peppers and mini potatoes…because mini is always cuter, right?

Despite the fact that I just called this dish cute, it’s actually a pretty hearty meal. Potatoes are pretty filling, but since they’re so starchy and carby, they’re not the kind of filling that will sustain you for many hours. That’s where the other components come in to save the day!

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I got really into beets this spring since my dad was growing them and they always looked so pretty at the Farmer’s Market. They stain everything, but I love their earthy taste and they are so pretty! Sweet mini bell peppers and onions add crunch, and pinto beans give this hash some bulk.

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Finish it all off with some fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon and you have yourself a perfectly light and refreshing, yet filling, summer breakfast! Or if you’re like me, you don’t really wake up until 10 or 11 on the weekend and there becomes a thin line between breakfast and lunch 🙂

I am proud to report that the basil plant I bought at the grocery store about a month ago is still alive and kickin’! However, we are currently on Day 3 of an 8 day streak of triple digit heat. 104, 107, and 106 degrees on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…and it’s only getting hotter. So who knows if the plant will last much longer.

This quick 1-skillet dish would be great for a hot day like today (108 degrees!), but I’ve chosen instead to do the 3 Day Peel’d Juice Cleanse. I learned about it from my friend Sarah who did their traditional 5-day cleanse last month (Hi Sarah!). Consuming only juice for 3 days isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea…However, in addition to the allotted 2 juices and 1 smoothie per day, Peel’d allows you to eat as many fruits and veggies as you want: “This process isn’t about depriving yourself, but feeding yourself large amounts of foods that will nourish, support and heal you.” Olives, avocados, and nuts are also listed as ideal “snacks”…win!

I will definitely be writing a recap later in the week, but until then, I’ll just leave this here…and dream about potatoes:

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Lemon-Basil Breakfast Hash
serves 1

2 mini potatoes
1/2 small onion (about 1/2 cup)
2 mini red or orange bell peppers
1/2 medium-sized beet, cooked (I roast mine in a foil packet in the oven at 400F for about 45 minutes)
1/4-1/2 cup pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
juice of one lemon
salt & pepper
oil, as needed for cooking

Cut everything into similarly-sized pieces. Heat your choice of oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add onions, stirring to coat. Let them sweat for about a minute before adding the potatoes. Again, stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and let cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in bell peppers and beets and cook for another 5 minutes. Add desired amount of pinto beans and lemon juice, and cook until heated through. Remove from heat, mix in basil leaves, garnish with lemon wedge (add more lemon if you’d like) and enjoy!

Lunch Lately & A Super Easy Taco Bowl Recipe

Before I get to pictures of my lunches lately, a few PSA’s:

I announced a winner of my Food Should Taste Good giveaway! Was it you?

Remember my Muesli Protein Bars? They were selected to be a finalist in the Muesli Fusion Recipe Contest! Please click here to go to the Facebook Poll and vote for me! All you have to do is click “Muesli Protein Bars — Blonde Ambition Blog”. First place AND runner up get a prize! Thank you so much to everyone who has already voted!

Ahem. Back to our regularly scheduled programming 😉

Last month when I went to Park City to attend Blend Retreat, I often found myself the recipient of the question, “So what is your blog about?” In fact, I get this question a lot in everyday life. I think most people expect me to say that I think I’m some gourmet foodie, or that I make really elaborate dishes. The truth is, this blog is about making healthy living seem more accessible to busy twenty-somethings (or even just busy people in general!).

Now, I get that when I say “healthy living”, the image that comes to mind is someone who must be 100% preservative-free, organic-only, homegrown, or following the ever so trendy gluten-free diet. (“I’m pretty sure gluten is just anything that is bad for you” hahaha Seth Rogen in This Is the End) But I know that’s unrealistic for most people, myself included.

For me, one of the most important aspects of healthy living is limiting my meals out each week — especially lunch. There aren’t a lot of healthy options close to my work, and salads get old fast. So I aim to prep food on Sundays, or even throughout the week when I have time in the evening, so that I have quick grab-and-go meals to bring for lunch. On days that I’m not working out at lunch, I sometimes have time to bike home and cook a quick meal. I suppose that’s a luxury of living only 7 blocks away from my office 😉

But there are plenty of days when I have to grab an “emergency” burrito out of the freezer, or grab a salad or sandwich from La Bou. And that’s okay! I try to abide by the 80-20 ratio…80% good healthy eats, 20% indulgence. So if I go out to eat or mack on a frozen burrito one day out of the week, that’s not so bad.

Here’s what I’ve been making lately!

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My Lemony Rice & Spring Veggies – perfect for a non workout day, but could work for a workout day too…just add chicken!

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There was one week where I spent about 20 minutes on Monday night cooking up a few sausages and peppers, and had lunch for 3 days. One day I ate them on a tortilla with broccoli, another day with bread like a sandwich. Very versatile!

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Salad is super quick to put together either the night before or in the morning. This one had romaine lettuce, beets, broccoli, and bell peppers…I think some pinto beans were hiding in there too. Make or store your dressing in a mason jar and add when you’re ready to eat!

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You wouldn’t think so, but pasta is actually a great quick meal to make in the morning to bring to work…Especially if you use spaghetti (which cooks quicker than most pasta). Just cook the spaghetti, toss in some veggies like broccoli and kale, plus a squeeze of lemon and some parm…And you have a perfectly portable meal! Plus, the hot spaghetti will wilt the veggies.

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On days when I have time to go home and make lunch, my meals typically look like this. A bunch of sauteed veggies with a side of avocado toast. Can you tell there were beets in this stir fry? Haha.

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evol Burritos are probably my favorite frozen burrito. It doesn’t hurt that Grocery Outlet has been selling them $1 off for a good 2 months now 😉 They are a little heavy on the tortilla, but I read that evol recently took that feedback and changed their recipe to include smaller tortillas. This must be why Grocery Outlet has so many – getting rid of the old product! My favorite is the Bean, Rice & Cheese.

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Now that I’ve totally inspired you to make your own lunch everyday… 😉 Here’s a recipe for an easy lunch (and what I’ve been eating for lunch this week! These Chicken Taco “Bowls” are easy and quick to put together (you basically just layer the ingredients in a bowl/tupperware) and are a really hearty meal. They’re easily customizable, too, so if you don’t like the ingredients I included, sub in whatever you want! I made these Monday night in about 30 minutes, providing me with two grab and go lunches this week!

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Chicken Taco Bowls
makes 2 bowls (but is easily doubled!)

1 large chicken breast
juice of one lime
salt & pepper
chile powder
cumin
garlic powder
oil, for sauteing

1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup black beans, drained
1 small summer squash
1 handful baby kale (if you use regular kale, you will probably want to cook it a bit with the squash. Baby kale is much more tender)

Combine chicken breast with lime juice and spices in a plastic bag. Squish around all the spices to make sure chicken is coated. Let sit while you prepare remaining ingredients. Cook rice according to package directions if not already cooked. Drain and rinse black beans, and cut squash into half moons.

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat. Add desired amount of oil, turning the pan to coat. Add marinated chicken to pan. Cook about 6 minutes, then turn. Once you have turned the chicken, add the squash. Cook an additional 6 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring the squash occasionally. Remove from heat and let chicken rest on a cutting board while you assemble the bowls.

In two tupperware containers, layer ingredients: 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 cup rice, small handful of kale, and half of the squash. When chicken is cooled, cut into cubes and evenly split between the two tupperwares. You’ll notice the heat from the squash and chicken will wilt the kale, eliminating the need to cook it separately. Store in fridge until needed, and microwave for about 1:30 on high before eating. Eat alone, or with a tortilla!

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20130619-092507.jpgWhat is your go-to lunch at work?

How often do you eat out during the week?

Summer Recipe Ideas

The season of barbecues and grilling is upon us, friends!

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We are officially moving into the high 90’s, and there’s no end in sight. Such is life in Sacramento during the summer months! We get an average of 22 days of 100+ degree temps every year, according to the National Weather Service. That first day might be tomorrow!

And fortunately, I’ll actually be able to enjoy the weather this weekend: included in this weekend’s agenda are at least two barbeques, Concerts in the Park tonight, and a pub crawl tomorrow. All of a sudden, my social life has seemed to perk up! Funny how a little bit of sunshine will do that 🙂

If you’re curious whether I followed my “Getting Back on Track” meal/exercise plan for the week, I actually did pretty awesomely! All of my meals were more or less planned out [except last night I ended up having fries before dodgeball T-shirt pickup, and a salad after…I was supposed to have chicken, fries, and veggies. Not too bad, right?], and I stuck with the workouts. I surprisingly managed to run 2.7 miles on Wednesday at a 9:15 pace (my longest/fastest run since my 5K in March), and did a pretty killer arms & core workout yesterday. I’m definitely feeling like I’m back on track, though we’ll see if I can carry it over into the weekend full of food, booze, and fun!

In celebrating all of our social lives becoming active again, I decided to put together a little collection of summer recipes. Some are recipes I developed, and others are recipes I’ve pinned over the last year or so. Some are entrees that would be perfect for dinner tonight, others are sides that will make you the hero of any barbeque. I’ve got desserts and drinks too! Enjoy!

Main Dishes

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Fried Green Tomato BLTs with Spicy Ranch Spread – I made these on my birthday weekend this past year and they would be perfect for a summer meal on the balcony!

Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce Chicken Salad – That sauce sounds out of this world!

Salmon with Lemon, Capers & Rosemary – This Giada recipe is the first fish dish I ever made, and it’s been my go-to ever since! Cooking salmon in foil packets on the grill is foolproof and so delicious.

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Spicy Smoky Black Bean Burgers – My most popular recipe, and one of my favorites. Once you get the hang of it, making veggie burgers at home is really easy.

Grilled Veggie Tacos – The perfect summer meal. I made this so many times last summer!

Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo – This recipe has been pinned on one of my boards for over a year now. I think it might be time!

Side Dishes/Appetizers

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad – definitely a recipe that should be in everyone’s repertoire!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn & Avocado – Finally I can make zucchini ribbons, now that I have a microplane!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus – Now that I’ve perfected my hummus recipe, I am totally going to make it all summer long!

Grilled Corn & Cheddar Quinoa – I couldn’t believe how delicious this was. Possibly my favorite quinoa dish ever.

Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Olive Pasta Salad – Ashley has managed to develop my most perfect ideal pasta salad EVER!

Desserts

photo courtesy of Heather Christo Cooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake – I’ve never made an icebox cake, but they sound so easy and perfect for warm weather…no oven required!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies – Quickly becoming my signature cookies! I am looking forward to revisiting this recipe this summer and updating my pictures.

Zucchini Almond Chocolate Bites – My favorite thing to do in the summer is sneak zucchini into everything. These bites are a perfect vehicle!

Coconut Shell Fruit Popsicles – What a cool idea. I might have to do this now that I got a huge amount of coconut oil in my Blend swag bag!

Drinks

photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – Whiskey and lemons is a favorite combo of mine. It’s like a warm weather hot toddy!

Watermelon G&T – It sounds a little labor intensive to make the watermelon syrup…but I have a feeling it’d be worth it.

Iced Green Tea Mojito – What a cool idea. The healthiness of the green tea totally cancels out the alcohol right? AND there’s green stuff in it. It’s healthy!

Raspberry Beer Cocktail – This sounds like a hangover waiting to happen…and a delicious one, at that.

Citrus-Strawberry Green Tea – So you all can’t say I only included alcoholic drinks 🙂 Though this does sound like it’d be great with a splash of vodka!

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What is your favorite thing to make in the summer?

What are your plans this weekend?

Getting Back on Track After 2 Long Weekends

To say I’ve had an out of the ordinary couple of weeks/weekends would be an understatement!

Going to Utah for a weekend definitely threw off my mojo, even if we were eating healthy and exercising most of the weekend. I struggled to get back into the swing of things at work last week, and did one workout on Tuesday that put me out of commission for several days.

Fast forward past dodgeball playoffs on Thursday…

Oh hay look, it’s the girls of our team. Aren’t we sassy?

Ahem, moving on… 🙂

Memorial Day weekend was of course full of drinks and I had some great food in San Francisco. I did get in a few walks and bike rides, but I have felt pretty sluggish these past few days at work. So yesterday instead of working I put together a rough food and exercise plan for the week!

Yes…I’m posting my weekly plan on Wednesday. Whatevaaaaa, I do what I want.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like meal planning. Weekend food prep is awesome, since it means I have easy ingredients available for any meal I want. But I don’t like sticking to a set meal plan because I tend to like eating what I want when I want it. Giving in to food cravings is the only way to stifle them, friends!

So here’s what I came up with as far as food goes. The important part was planning lunches, because I’m hoping to work out most days at lunch this week, so I need to have something I can prep in the morning or night before.

food

{as far as breakfast goes…I have enough Muesli Fusion and Hemp Protein Muffins to last me the week!}

Tuesday: Lunch – rice/avocado/turkey sausage. Dinner – some kind of veggie sandwich
Wednesday: Lunch – rice/avocado/veggies/tortilla. Dinner – sprouted whole grain pasta {from the BLEND swag bag, of course} & mom’s meat sauce!
Thursday: Lunch– sausage & pepper sandwich. Dinner– chicken + oven fries + veggies from Farmer’s Market
Friday: Lunch– wing it…aka probably frozen burrito. DinnerConcerts in the Park…aka probably food trucks & beer.

I’m trying to stay away from dairy and alcohol {already botched the alcohol part, since I had to try a few sips of T-Man’s wine last night. Oops!} this week because I noticed dairy was giving me digestive issues last week. And wouldn’t we all be better off drinking less?

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So far, so good on Tuesday’s meals! I devoured this veggie sandwich with roasted bell peppers, zucchini and hummus last night. Not pictured is the corn on the cob (!!!) I had on the side. I’m sooo excited for corn season!

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One of my new favorite breakfasts: Overnight oats with Muesli Fusion An-Ox, unsweetened plain almond milk, and chia seeds. The An-Ox blend includes goji berries, cacao nibs, dried bluebs, and walnuts. It has so much texture and no added sugar…perfect for this lazy girl who doesn’t want to have to add a bunch of ingredients herself ;-).

exercise

Normally, I work out 3 times per week and have dodgeball on Thursdays. This week, we don’t have dodgeball so I’m going to aim for 4 workouts in 4 days, taking care not to overdo it or do the same thing two days in a row.

Tuesday: Easy workout to ease my way back into things- elliptical + abs!
Wednesday: The high temp is only 84 [as opposed to 90 and 97 Thursday and Friday] so I will try for my first run in 2 weeks.
Thursday: Some kind of gym workout! Last week I tried Christina’s Bikini Season Workout and it kicked my butt – I was sore for like 3 days afterward and I only made it 1.5 times through the workout! I want to incorporate more CrossFit-type stuff (burpees, squats, mountain climbers, etc) into my routine because it’s such good cardio AND muscular training.
Friday: Rest if I’m sore, easy elliptical + abs again if I’m not!

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Workouts have been extra bright with my pink shoelaces from Becky 🙂

This is the workout I tried last week {minus the kettle bells, since my gym doesn’t have them} that totally kicked my butt…in the best way possible!

And this is how I looked after going through the routine…ONCE. {took me about 10 minutes}

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If you can’t tell, that is fear in my eyes of what would happen were I to actually do that workout over and over for 40 minutes. I would prooobably barf. Clearly, given how out of shape I felt while doing this workout, I need to expand my workouts beyond running and elliptical/abs/weight lifting!

I’m actually proud to announce that during my “easy workout” yesterday, I followed up my 25 mins of elliptical intervals by randomly doing a 1 min 30 sec plank! That’s the longest I’ve ever done, and 30 seconds closer to my New Years Resolution of holding a 2 minute plank! Holla.

So on that note, I’m off to go get changed for lunch and my run! It’s only 73 degrees outside now…I don’t think I’ll be getting many runs in in comings weeks, as the high isn’t supposed to dip back below 90 for at least 10 days. Yikes!

Do you plan out your workouts for the week?

How do you get back into the swing of things after a long weekend?

Aaand another question: any recommendations of similar workouts to the one above?