Pre Vegas Detox

I’ve been focusing on taking care of my body this year.  I’m strength training a few days a week, loving my yoga, and cooking clean recipes.  And I’m feeling great!  But next week I am heading off to Las Vegas where I’m sure there will be enough delicious calories to last the rest of the month. 

 

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In prep for my trip, I decided to keep my diet clean this week, focusing on real foods.  Thinking that many of you may be trying to do the same, I thought I’d share a few of my recent eats and clean favorites.

 

 

Breakfast

 

Green Smoothie

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Chia Bowls

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Breakfast Stirfry

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Lunch

 

Turkey Chili with Veggies

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

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Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad

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Dinner

 

Baked Coconut Shrimp

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Chicken Curry

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Crockpot Cashew Chicken

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Snacks

 

Coconut Balls

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Date, Cherry, Walnut Bars

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Fudge Bites

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And…of course I’ve been leaving room for a few squares of dark chocolate!

I leave Tuesday for Las Vegas.  It will be wonderful to get out of the snow and cold, so I am definitely looking forward to almost a week away.  I will be at a conference for the first few days, and then the BOY is flying out to meet me for a weekend of fun.  Bring on the sunshine!  And fun!

 

 

What is your favorite ‘detox’ recipe?

Any restaurant recommendations for Las Vegas?

Crockpot Stir Fry

The best part of early AM workouts…

 

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Definitely the sunrise.

Okay, maybe it’s the awesome workout that starts your day off right, but this is a close second.

 

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It sure beats the bad part of waking up at 5:30am, which is crashing before my work day ends!

On to dinner…stir fry as always been one of my go to meals, for as along as I can remember cooking meals.  A bag of frozen veggies and some shrimp from Trader Joe’s were the original version of this ever evolving meal.  Just when you think things couldn’t get easier than that, I discovered this recipe for Crockpot Cashew Chicken.

 

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We are always big fans of Chinese in this house, so I figured it would be an easy recipe to make for Monday’s dinner after a freezing day and tennis lessons!

 

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This recipe tastes just like stir fry…but made in your crockpot.  GENIUS!!!

 

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Just an FYI!  The Leftovers are a great post workout recovery meal! Yuummm!

 

 

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

Adapted from Sally Cooks

Ingredients

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1-2 cups frozen broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces

1 package of frozen stir fry veggies (I used mushrooms, peapods and onions)

1/2 cup cashews, unsalted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

 

Directions

Layer chicken, cashews and vegetables in the crockpot, sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour over the chicken in crockpot and stir well.

Cook for 2-4 hours on high or 4-8 hours on low.

Surviving the Mondays (in a Polar Vortex)

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So one of the things that the BOY and I have been figuring out is adjusting to a new schedule.  We adapted when I started my new full time job in December, but then shortly after he began winter break.  Now, it’s a new semester with a new schedule and that changes meal planning.  Especially since the BOY had 2 night classes this semester, which means 2 nights that I am on my own.  The other thing going on this week is we are back in extreme temperatures with cancellations, cold cars, and frost bite warnings.  Even the BOY’s law school classes got canceled today and tomorrow.

 

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The good thing about today is that after a busy, rather sleepless but super duper fun, weekend, I had a quiet Monday.  I was so tired that my eyes were closed and I was passed out with Cooper on my face (no joke!) last night at 9pm.  I slept blissfully until after 8am this morning, at which time Cooper returned to pouncing on me.  The BOY got dressed and headed off to work. I made some breakfast and threw the first of 2 recipes into the crockpot, trying to avoid hitting a curious Cooper with my knife.

 

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This recipe for Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry is really easy and was in the crockpot before 9am.

 

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So I had some time to warm up before having to leave the house.  I had an 11am workout scheduled with my new trainer.  As I was getting out of the car, I realized that I totally forgot my shoes.  After 2 days of yoga, I didn’t even think about bringing along gym shoes.  My trainer is creative and it worked out just fine.  My arms were tired after this weekend and we worked my back hard.  I’m hoping for improved posture!

 

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I had to make a return at the mall, so I decided to try Protein Bar for lunch.  I’ve heard wonderful things about this place from everyone who gets to go there in the city.  I was excited that we finally got one in the suburbs and extremely impressed with my Spinach and Pesto Quinoa bowl for lunch!

 

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I braved the mall (filled with kids since there is no school today) to make my return and in the mean time picked up a few pieces of Gap Fit workout wear on sale (including running capris for only 15$).  When I got home my lentils were soft and fragrant.

 

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I made this for lunch for the week ahead, and it was a quick turn around as packaged away the lentils and threw tonight’s dinner into a cleaned crockpot.

 

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Meanwhile, Cooper kept himself busy and out of trouble (yea…right?!)

 

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Cooper and I then curled up for an hour and a half nap before having just enough time to get ready and head out the door for tonight’s tennis lesson.  It was hard to determine if it was still on, but I was excited to find out that we were.  I think I’ve learned a thing or 2 and am getting maybe a wee bit better…maybe!  Tonight was cold but fun and I learned how to serve, which is exciting!

 

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We came home and had dinner (recipe coming tomorrow) before relaxing back on the couch with some tea and a new TV show called Black Sails.  Has anyone seen it?  The BOY is off tomorrow and I am crossing my fingers once again that my car starts.  The brutal cold has already rolled in and we can hear the wind howling through the trees.  We have plenty of warm food for the week ahead…perfect to beat any case of the Mondays!

 

How do you survive Mondays?

 

Cooper’s Answer: With warm, cozy naps!

 

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Meal Plan 1/27/14

Sunday: Turkey Tacos

 

Monday: Crockpot Cashew Chicken

 

Tuesday: Burgers (premade from Mariano’s) with mushrooms and asparagus

 

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: TBD

 

Lunch: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

From Hello Little House

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp curry paste

2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie (to keep vegetarian) stock

1 tsp minced ginger

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Spray your crockpot with cookie spray.

Add in potatoes, onions, and lentils to crockpot.

Stir together stock, ginger, and curry paste until well combined.  Pour over sweet potato mixture and stir.

Set crockpot to high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

You May Have Noticed…

A little less baking on this blog in 2014.

And maybe just a little less blogging in 2014.

Or maybe you didn’t…and that’s okay too! 

 

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I’m sure that you have noticed A LOT of Cooper

And almost as much yoga.

Or maybe these are just things that I’ve noticed!?

 

There has certainly been non stop talk of snow (and cold temperatures).

Leading to weekly posts of soups and chili’s.

My coworkers have pointed this out!

 

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Perhaps you noticed that I’ve spent the majority of my weekends this month downtown.

And that we have been having LOTS of fun!

Or because I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t been taking pictures of all of the stuff we’ve been up to, you haven’t noticed a thing : )

 

I hope that you’ve noticed that I am much happier since starting my new job.

And I hope that you are enjoying each week’s meal plan.

It has been fun to search through cookbooks and Pinterest for fun, new ideas.

 

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Some of the things you’ve noticed are on purpose (working on that 2014 bucket list).

While others have just sort of happened (that’s life…right?).

 

One of my 2014 intentions includes adding more yoga into my life.  I’ve been taking classes 1-2xweek sine December and really enjoyed all that it does for me.  I love that yoga pushes me through physical and emotional barriers while always leaving me refreshed and energized.  I love that every yoga practice is different, new, unique, yet familiar.  It’s great to get the surge of healthy living I get from 75 minutes of asanas and breathing.  This is what I was thinking after almost 4 hours of yoga this weekend.  I was also thinking that I’d love to become a yoga instructor, but I think that conversation is for another day : )

 

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When I started attending classes at a new studio in the city on the weekends, I ended up on their mailing list learning all about their classes and workshops .  One of the workshops was titled Demystifying Sun Salutation and was on a day when I happened to be going into the city anyways.  I recruited my mom and our friend, who lives in the neighborhood and yesterday we showed up with enough time before the 1pm start to get prime real estate in the tiny, yet cozy studio.  I have never taken a yoga workshop before and let me tell you…if you have never taken a workshop, whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years, you should!  It is SO MUCH FUN!  There were 8 of us in the class and our instructor was strong and passionate.  Not to mention, a wonderful leader and teacher and a truly graceful yogi.  I’m not sure that I have ever seen someone move through the poses with such effortless grace.  She was excited about the class and led us through Sun Salutations A & B with suggestions, postural cues, and answering all of our many questions.  Most importantly, she reminded us to be compassionate to ourselves.  I loved that she challenged us to find our own movement through the poses as we ‘played’ with different techniques and styles.  After 2 hours, I had a whole new appreciation for Sun Salutation A & B and new tips to try, specifically gliding through chaturanga into upward dog.

*I really wish I had pictures to share!

 

It was awesome to put yesterday’s workshop into practice during this morning’s intermediate flow class.  I know that I will be feeling it through my back and arms tomorrow, but for today I am just feeling good.

 

…You may have noticed that too!!!

 

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What have you noticed lately in your personal life and the blogger world?

Five for Friday XVI

1. So I brought my Pulled Pork Chili to work to share with my coworkers.  They were big fans!  We are thinking of starting a crockpot share for our leftovers.

 

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2. OMG!  My abs still hurt from Thursday morning’s group exercise class.  Yup, I’ve been to the 6am class two weeks in a row.  I really like the people and it is a kick ass workout!  I’ll be back next week.

 

3. Tomorrow, I am going to a 2 hour Sun Salutation workshop at this studio in the city.  I’ve never done something like this and I’m looking forward to it!

 

4. I was almost late to work yesterday because I couldn’t find my cell phone or my cat.  I came back from working out to get ready for work, hung with the Coop kid, we woke up the BOY, and as I was walking out the door, Cooper was nowhere to be found.  I had eaten my eggs (one of his favorites) without him sneaking a bite and opened the dishwasher without him jumping in.  We couldn’t find him anywhere and when I shook his food, he didn’t come running.  I almost started to panic.  Then as a last resort, I opened the downstairs bathroom door and out poured Cooper.  I have no idea how he got in there…and got the door closed, but I was happy to have found him before heading off to work.  Since I didn’t have my phone (still missing at this time, but later found in my car), I couldn’t get a photo that morning, but of course have enough mischievous photos to share.

 

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5. I’m drinking some delicious Cooper’s Hawk wine right now.  Mmmmm!  TGIF!

 

 

What are your weekend plans?

Have you ever lost your pet?

Guess What We Got Today???

If you guessed snow, then you are correct!

 

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I didn’t get a new picture because it was dark (and cold) outside, so used a previous one of pretty, fluffy snow.  Last night, it was so cold that after work that my car almost didn’t make it up the hill out of our parking lot.  I found myself channeling the Little Engine that Could saying ‘I think I can…I think I can…’ all the way up.  Somehow I made it to the top of the hill at 20 miles per hour without getting run off the road by the people speeding past me.  Ahh!  Is winter almost over?

 

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Speaking off winter, look who else is hiding out from the cold?  No joke…we lost Cooper and finally found his little tush hanging out from behind a blanket.  Obviously, we were laughing out loud.

 

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I hope you guys are bundled up and staying warm!  I am off to bed since I am hoping to be up way early tomorrow for my second week of group strength training at the yoga studio.  Fingers crossed that the garage door and cars all cooperate to get me out the door.

Pulled Pork Chili

It was another busy Monday here that involved a lot of running around.

 

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This weekend involved a lot of fun and a little less sleep.  So I crashed last night and was less than happy when my alarm went off this morning.  I started moving at 8am and just stopped to collapse on my couch around 9:30 tonight.  First up…after tea of course, the crockpot meal of the week.

 

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I’ve been wanting to make this recipe from How Sweet Eats and just needed the time to pull it all together.  This morning, I put my meat and beer in the crockpot and then forgot all about it.

 

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I had a session with my trainer.  She worked me hard!  And told me that I was strong.  Lifting weights and powering through burpees, I actually felt strong (Hello Bad Ass Warrior)!  Then I had a meeting to prepare for an upcoming presentation.  On my way home, I swung by the grocery store.  At which point, I remembered my pork.  I was afraid that I would walk in and find a tough piece of meat in the crockpot.  I grabbed the tongs and almost before I touched the meat, it crumbled apart into juicy goodness.  I added in the other ingredients that I had picked up at the grocery store.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any chipotle seasoning, so I used some chipotle Tabasco instead of the red pepper flakes and chipotle seasonings.

 

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The result…a powerful and unique chili!

 

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The BOY (and of course Cooper) agreed!  Check out his cute little tongue!

 

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We had our second tennis lesson tonight.  Although it reaffirmed that I am pretty bad at tennis, it was a lot of fun!  The BOY is thrilled to be getting in a workout and we are really trying to find a place to practice on the weekends that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  Maybe one of these days, the snow will melt and we can return to the outdoor tennis courts.  Although it’s not looking like that will happen any time soon as there is more snow moving in overnight.  Stay warm my friends and make some chili!!!

 

Meal Planning 1/20/14

Monday: You Pick Two (Soup* Salad and Sandwiches)

 

Tuesday: Pork Chops with mushrooms

 

Wednesday: Chicken Parm Burgers

 

Thursday: Pasta with Meat Sauce?

 

Friday: TBD

 

Lunch: Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

 

*Not just any soup…my dad’s famous chicken noodle soup!

 

Don’t forget to take a look at this flavor packed chili on How Good Eats!