Chocolate Almond Butter and Banana green Smoothie

Good Monday Morning!

I hope that ya’ll had an excellent weekend!

The BOY and I were super low key, which meant that I was in bed every night between 10-11pm and sleeping until 8am.  I must say 9+ hours of sleep per night does a lot for your energy levels.  I am feeling refreshed after a crazy work week and ready to tackle the day.  This is easy for me to say, remember, because I don’t work on Mondays : )

 

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My first job was to tackle breakfast.  For me breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to figure out on Passover.  I didn’t prep anything last night and just wasn’t in the mood to make pancakes.  Smoothies for breakfast don’t typically fill me up (especially since I couldn’t add oats), but I decided to try making a hearty Chocolate Almond Butter and Banana Green Smoothie.

 

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Mostly because I had the ingredients in the house and because a smoothie sounded refreshing this morning.

 

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I may have gone a little overboard in an attempt to fuel myself through this mornings workout, so feel free to adjust ingredient quantities as desired.  I will tell you that this smoothie comes out thick which is perfect to sip slowly while you check email and prepare for the day ahead.

 

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I was able to find a similar recipe on the blog for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie.  It was just over 1 year ago, and I can’t believe it was warm enough for me to exercise in the back yard!!!

 

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After breakfast, it was off to tackle ‘Barbara’

Five rounds, each for time of:
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely three minutes between each round.

 

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I chose to do ‘Barbara Lite’ as recommended for those doing CrossFit less than 2 months.  I think I’m right at that 2 month cusp, but 150 pushups just seemed, what’s the word…oh yeah, impossible!

 

Barbara Lite

10 Pull-ups (I used the green band)

20 Push-ups

30 Sit-ups

40 squats

5 rounds with precisely 3 minutes rest in between each round.

 

This was a really challenging workout but thus far one of my favorites.  No heavy weights to lift and a busy group of people getting their work done while cheering each other on.  I may feel differently in the morning when I can’t move…I’ll let you know.

 

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The last task of the day (because I got a lot of laundry and boring house stuff done yesterday) was meal planning.  And this week’s planning was fairly simple.  Tomorrow night is the end of Passover and the BOY will be ordering a pizza the moment he walks in the door with or without me.  Plus, I have dinner plans for Thursday.  I wanted to make a Sweet Potato and Kale Soup today for lunch this week, but the grocery store was out of one ingredient and a few others didn’t look so fresh, so I scratched that idea.

 

Sunday: Beer Can Chicken

 

Monday: Grilled Flounder with Broccoli (Hooray for grilling season!)

 

Tuesday: Pizza for the BOY/Thai Veggie Burgers for Me

 

Wednesday: Grilled Garlic Pepper Shrimp (from the BOY’s BBQ book)

 

Thursday: Out to Eat

 

Friday: As always, we shall play it by ear

 

Lunch: Strawberry Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Snack: Coconut Fudge Balls

 

 

Do you drink smoothies for breakfast?

What is your favorite one?

Anyone play an April Fool’s prank today?

 

 

 

Chocolate Almond Butter

and Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients

1 handful of kale

1 banana, chopped

1 cup of almond milk

2 tbsp (14g) of cacao powder

1 tbsp (10 g) ground flax seed

2 tbsp (32 g) of almond butter

Ice

 

Directions

Place all ingredients except ice in the blender.  Combine well.  Add ice and blend to desired consistency.

Who’s Jenna?

And why do I hate her so much?

 

After eating more carbs this weekend than I had in the previous 2 months combined (not a complaint, just a fact), it was necessary to start Monday morning off well!

 

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I made a batch of Friday Morning Pancakes for breakfast.  But instead of eating them with a pint, I had myself a mug of Chai tea.

 

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Then sat down to check out what CrossFit had in store for me this morning.  Apparently the answer was Jenna?!

 

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All I can say is that this was the HARDEST WORKOUT EVER (and I didn’t even do the Px weight).  I don’t even know the last time that I did a dead lift, and I was worried that I would hurt my back.  But we did a lot of practice and warm up without any weight before practicing with weight.  In the end, I decided to go with 85 pounds.  The Manmakers were an entirely different story.  I didn’t feel anything like a man, just like a baby who wanted to cry.

 

Source

 

A Manmaker starts in the pushup position holding onto two dumbbells. 

One rep goes as follows…

Push Up

Left Row

Push Up

Right Row

Push Up

Squat

Clean

Press Overhead

Repeat!

 

14 reps took up the majority of my time and I used 20 pound weights.  I definitely didn’t get my chest down to the ground on every push up and my heart was beating out of my chest.  Somehow I finished just shy of the 20 minute max in 18:30.  It was brutal!  And I was super sweaty when I was done!

 

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Not too sweaty to make a quick stop by Target to pick up some colorful socks for the Shamrock Shuffle next month.  Then, I swung back home to pick up the BOY for lunch and errands…our typical Monday activities!

 

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We went to Jason’s Deli for soups, sandwiches, and salads.

And of course, the free ice cream!

 

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We had some major shopping to do at Costco, and our car was packed by the time we pulled back into the driveway.

 

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After a cold and icy morning, we were both thrilled to be back home in our warm house!

And I needed to rest my exhausted body on the couch while I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy!

Dealing with Dreary

The weather might be dark and dreary, but that didn’t keep the BOY and I indoors.  Sunday Funday was SUPER fun yesterday because we went into the city to hang with my family!

 

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And had lunch at Revolution Brewery, where the BOY and I have never been, and my Mom has now declared her favorite place to go.

 

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Historically, spring day light savings can be rough, but not this year.  This could be because after losing 3 hours coming home from Las Vegas last year, one hour doesn’t seem so bad.  The good food, brew, and company didn’t hurt either.

 

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We had an awesome day and I was in bed early Sunday night with my book after an eventful weekend.  I had no difficulty falling asleep and only woke up this morning when my alarm started beeping 10 hours later.  This morning’s breakfast was a variation of this recipe smothered in almond butter before CrossFit.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this morning’s workout, but the Harlem shake picture definitely had me laughing.  And I was excited to wear the new headband that I picked up at Athleta yesterday!

 

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This morning’s workout was 7 reps max weight of snatches with rest in between.  We started off by breaking down the motion and then practicing on some light bars.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would be able to do, but I ended up in a group of three girls lifting weight, giving feedback on form, and working together to safely add more weight. I was able to lift 55-65-75-75-75-75-75.  Not to shabby for my first attempt at snatches.

 

After CrossFit, I picked up the BOY for this week’s grocery store run and meal planning.  I was starving and actually craving some protein with lunch on the brain.  Let me tell you…if you are ever shopping at Mariano’s and hungry for lunch, swing by the meat counter and have them grill you up a chicken breast.  I finished my shopping and on the way to check out, scooped up my lunch.  The BOY did the same with a white arugula pizza.

 

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On the way home, I remembered that I had leftover salad from Saturday night (that my friend made and sent home with me).  You can’t see it in the picture, but this salad also has goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts, and I added chopped chicken and avocado.

 

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The BOY was right when he said that this is a restaurant quality lunch.  I totally agree!  Thanks to Mariano’s and Dana this is one of the best salads I’ve had in awhile!  I only had a short amount of time to eat lunch before it was time to leave again.  Although I didn’t know when I made the appointment that today would be rainy, a massage really is the BEST thing to do on a day like today.  I had a $20 off coupon to use before the end of the month, and I basked in the 60 minutes of relaxation while hands firmly worked out the tension and knots in my back and neck.  It was pure bliss and only afterwards did I return home to camp out indoors for the rest of the day.  With such a busy weekend, I had a lot to do.

 

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Some of which included getting my food prepared for the week ahead.  Nothing says rainy days like chili.  One of the things that I love about this new slow cooker book is that it has separate chapters on soup, stew, and chili.  They are plenty of recipes to choose from!

 

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I used the Mushroom Chili recipe but added in some eggplant since the beautiful purple veggies was on sale.  I ended up with a thick batch of chili, so I decided to stir in a cup of vegetable broth before cooking.

 

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I’m looking forward to digging into this thick and hearty chili soon!

 

 

This Week’s Meal Plan…

 

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (the BOY’s request)

Featuring Challah French Toast, Eggs, and Potatoes

 

Tuesday: BBQ Turkey Meatballs

 

Wednesday: Chicken or Salmon with Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Friday: Trip to St. Louis!!!

 

Lunch: Portobello and Eggplant Chili (recipe below)

 

 

 

Portobello and Eggplant Chili

Adapted from The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

 

Ingredients

3 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned well and cubed

1 small eggplant, cubed

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 28 ounce and 1 15 ounce canned tomatoes, drained lightly (or you can use chopped fresh tomatoes)

1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth

 

Directions

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.

Stir well and cook on low for 8 hours.

 

 

How do you deal with dreary?

Me? I dream of SPRING!

 

On Today’s Menu…Mexican Meatloaf

I am happy to say that I was able to catch up on sleep this week and make a few more deposits into the sleep bank this weekend. I am feeling way less run down.  I felt strong throughout the entire 90 minute Hot Yoga class yesterday and am almost looking forward to seeing what CrossFit has in store for me (although I know it involves box jumps which are intimidating).

 

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I turned leftovers from last night’s dinner into this morning’s breakfast.

 

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I had left over sweet potato and balsamic asparagus.  I roughly chopped them up and mixed them  into 1 egg + 2 egg whites with seasoned salt.

 

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I think that a goat cheese or feta would have complimented this combination perfectly but we didn’t have any in the house.  Can you guess what I am doing this afternoon?  If you guessed going to the grocery store that would be correct!

 

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The sweetness of the potatoes were delish mixed with the egg and sea salt.  In the summer time, I am always throwing leftover grilled veggies into my eggs, and I have to get better about doing this in the winter too!

 

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Speaking of winter, my Mom is reporting a big snow storm heading our way.  I’m not sure if she is doing this just so that I will sleep over tomorrow night (which is the game plan), but it looks like we could be blanketed in white over the next 24 hours.  Boo!  I certainly won’t have ay strength to help shovel after today’s CrossFit.

 

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We did a lot of leg work (including box jumps) followed by arm work.  In the end, I was proud of my effort, but I am learning that I can push myself a little bit more with the amount of weight I use.

 

My post workout smoothie was one of my best, so I totally had to share it with you!

 

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Spinach, Orange, and Mango Smoothie

1 cup almond milk

2 huge handful of spinach

2 little cuties, peeled and separated

1 cup frozen mango

Ice cubes

 

Blend and Enjoy!

 

 

On The Menu for this Week…

 

Monday: Mexican Turkey Meatloaf (recipe below)

 

Tuesday: Snow Day Sleepover

 

Wednesday: Homemade Indian

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Lunch: Chicken Tortilla Soup (I used this recipe but made it in my crockpot)

Snack: PB&J Energy Bars

 

 

So I have to warn you in advance that our kitchen light is broken, so these pictures aren’t top notch.

 

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I made three turkey meatloaves…two with cheese for the BOY and one without for me!

 

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This dinner is ridiculously easy and a huge success!  It has fantastic flavor and will definitely be added into our week night rotation!  Between the Chicken Tortilla Soup and the leftover meatloaf, we have more than enough to keep us full if we wake up to the expected 9 inches of snow tomorrow!

 

What’s on your menu this week?

 

 

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf

From BevCooks.com

Makes 2-3 mini meatloaves

Ingredients

1 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup grated carrot (I got lazy and didn’t add this)
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
3/4 cup chunky salsa (plus more for drizzling on top)
1 pinch coarse salt
1 pinch garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine everything in a bowl. Mix with your hands. Divide mixture in half or thirds and form little loaves with your hands on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Coat with extra salsa and bake for 45 minutes.

Run Down

Man, I am feeling run down this weekend. ( Note: my definition of weekend includes Monday since I don’t work today! )

And this is not just because I stayed up late to watch the fairly predictable Oscar’s last night.  It all started Saturday morning when I had a slow start to the day, followed by a nap, before actually putting in my contacts at 1pm. 

 

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I did hit the neighborhood for a 30 minute run.  It was pretty slow and I felt like I was running with weights strapped to my ankles.  I have no idea why I felt so tired.  It’s possible that it had to due with a stressful week that lacked my usual hours of sleep or maybe I’m just coming down with something.

 

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For whatever reason, I was running on empty, literally!  Sunday morning was Hot Yoga!  This is always a challenging class, but this week my legs were shaking like crazy 30 seconds into chair pose.  Although my balance poses were on, I was more than ready for child’s pose, stretching, and shavasana by the end.  The rest of the day was laid back and productive.  I had a lot to do around the house (yes, my pantry needed to be reorganized AGAIN) and a run down weekend is the prefect time for these types of activities.

 

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It’s no surprise that I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off this morning after more than 9 hours of sleep.  I set it for 30 more minutes waking up a few minutes before I needed to get ready for CrossFit.  I was a little nervous to go to this morning’s workout, especially when I found out that it involved burpees.  I knew that I didn’t have 100% of my energy but I figured I would do the best that I could.  Thankfully, the people I workout with are super supportive and there is great energy in the gym.  I survived today’s WOD AMRAP 8 although at one point I thought I might fall over : )  I made it through the ~2 minute cash out (optional) workout too.

 

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When I got done with my workout, I felt strong but tired.  I knew I needed some serious energy in the form of a refreshing smoothie.  I recently saw a carrot and orange smoothie on Herbivore Triathlete that intrigued me.  I didn’t have any fresh carrot juice, but thought that maybe my new blender could puree the carrots good enough to be a smoothie.

 

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On a whim, I threw in some kale.

 

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I had full intentions of adding ginger as well, but didn’t have time.

 

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I took one quick sip before packing up my smoothie to go.

 

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The BOY had an eye doctor appointment and I was going along to help him pick out new glasses.  Meanwhile, I found some glasses of my own to try on.

 

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While I was keeping myself busy reading a magazine, I saw a similar smoothie (minus the kale) in Clean Eating Magazine.   The best part is that it is supposed to boost energy.  That’s exactly what I needed this weekend!  When I’m feeling run down, it effects more than just my workouts.  I don’t make wise decisions about snacking and my memory stinks.  Looking to the week ahead,  I am committing to catching up on sleep, eating well, and working out hard.

 

 

Do you have weekends where you feel run down?

How do you get energized again?

 

 

Carrot, Orange, and Kale Smoothie

 

Ingredients

2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or carrot juice)

1 large orange, peeled (or 1 medium orange and 1 cutie)

1 handful of kale

1 cup of almond milk

1 handful of ice cubes

Ginger (optional)

 

Directions

-Chop carrots finely and then use your blender to puree.

-Add oranges and blend to combine.

-Add kale (and ginger if using) and blend well.  Stream in almond milk to preferred consistency.

-Add ice cubes and process until smooth.

-Sip Up!

Blueberry Muffin Bake {Take One}

I truly appreciate you guys!  When I put myself out there with a post like this one, you are always there with support, suggestions, and encouragement.  I couldn’t ask for anything more!  Sunday was a much better day of eating, and I am starting Monday off with this fun and energizing breakfast.

 

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The sun wasn’t cooperating with my photos this morning, but hooray for sunshine!  I spotted this recipe on Fit Cupcaker last month, but didn’t have blueberries until Saturday.  I was all set to make this for breakfast yesterday when I realized that I needed my oven, not my microwave and didn’t have enough time before yoga.

 

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So the first thing I did when I woke up today was preheat my oven.  I was determined to have a Blueberry Muffin Bake for breakfast!

 

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I stirred together the dry ingredients, adding in some flax seed, and then the wet ingredients.  I was a little skeptical that my oat concoction would bake up into the beautiful cake I saw on the blog, but I poured everything into a Pyrex and baked it up for 20 minute.

 

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20 minutes later, I had a beautiful looking baked oatmeal but definitely NOT a muffin.

 

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Hmmm…..I’m not really sure where I went wrong.  I checked a few other blog sites and everyone else ended up with a muffin…maybe I was supposed to grind my oats?!  Yikes, I definitely forgot the salt.  Thankfully, my baked oatmeal tasted great, so I topped it with banana and was able to eat it on my way out the door to CrossFit.

 

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One thing I can tell you is that I will recheck the recipe and try making this again because I definitely see potential here!

 

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I also should tell you that this breakfast was so filling that I made it all the way to lunch without hunger pain and that includes a challenging workout at CrossFit called Put It Up.

 

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I obviously didn’t do the workout as prescribed.  Me lifting 155 pounds over my head???  Not gonna happen!  But I was proud of my accomplishments cleaning 65, 45, and 30 pounds for 9, 15, and 21 reps respectively.  And then doing a 2 minute shuttle run finale.  I haven’t lifted that much weight in a long time, and I must admit that I kind of liked it.  After my workout, the BOY and I went out for lunch and then ran a few errands.  I didn’t get much done yesterday because I spent Sunday Funday downtown!

 

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I met some friends down at Millennium Park yesterday for ice skating.  I can’t even tell you the last time I went skating and it was a really fun way to spend an afternoon!

 

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My friends (these awesome girls from my snow shoeing adventure) are moving to Australia next week, so we decided to celebrate Chicago before they leave.

 

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And the weather was actually on our side.  Afterwards, we chowed down on Chicago style hotdogs, Garrett’s popcorn, chili, and cornbread.  Yum!  We will definitely miss our friends, but who doesn’t love an excuse to visit Australia!

 

Ok, so back to the Blueberry Muffin Bake…you can see the full recipe at Fit CupcakerYou should give it a try!

Post-Superbowl Cucumber Tomato Feta Dip

One of the benefits of CrossFit is that you have to sign up a few days in advance.  Why is this so good?  Because it holds me accountable to get to the gym on Monday mornings like this one, when I’d much rather stay in bed.

 

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I did take a quick peak at the website to see that we were doing ‘Tall Paul’ this morning, but I had no idea what that meant!  I brushed off my car for the third morning in a row (thinking again how cool it would be if I had snow shoes) and trekked off to the gym.

 

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Confession…I stayed up a little later than usual last night watching the Superbowl and then Elementary, of course.  We had so much fun at my best friend’s house eating dinner, watching football, and hanging out with her two adorable children. 

 

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The appetizers were unique and delicious!  This Feta Dip was a big hit.  Because the BOY doesn’t like tomatoes, I only added them to half of the dip and didn’t stir everything together.

 

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I used an herb flavored feta, and the addition of Cavendar’s (one of our all time favorite seasonings) was perfect!

 

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We had a very un-football like dinner.

 

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And every single thing was flavorful and satisfying!

 

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It’s amazing how colorful this spread was!  We all dug right into the food, going back for seconds.  I mentioned to the BOY that we should bring in Indian food more often!

 

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The exciting thing is that we even have leftovers for lunch today.  After CrossFit, I refueled with a Green Juice Smoothie (I have been craving this ginger infused drink since last week) and am about to dig into some tasty leftovers.  I know compared to most, I have it easy today with a quiet day at home watching Biggest Loser, doing chores, and prepping for Friday’s trip to Florida!

 

Oh Yea and we are going to Yogurtland!

Yogurtland is having free yogurt and toppings TODAY from 4-7 pm.  We’ll see you in line!

 

 

Did you stay up late last night?

How are you recovering today?

 

 

Cucumber Tomato Feta Dip

Adapted From The Girl Who Ate Everything

 

Ingredients

about 1/3 cup olive oil

1 container of grape tomatoes, diced or quartered

4-5 green onions, sliced thinly

1 small cucumber, diced in small cubes

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (see Note)

2-3 teaspoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning

 

Directions

On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.

Add the tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.

With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients.

Serve with warm sliced baguettes or pita chips for scooping up the dip.