Monday Reflections and Spinach Turkey Burgers

This morning, my trainer and I sat down and talked goals.  I’ve been working out with her for about 2 months and it was time to reassess where we’re at.  Last week, we started talking and it became obvious that I’m not totally dialed in.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am exercising a few days a week and making some healthy meals, but my weekends are pretty boozy and french fry filled.  For example, this midnight trip to Wiener Circle on Saturday!

 

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It was with that in mind that I reluctantly agreed to let her retake my measurements this morning.  We did circumferential measurements and body fat.  And although my weight is the exact same, I have lost an inch in my middle and almost 3% body fat.  Which was pretty good news.  I was feeling a little lost and misdirected before the appointment and left feeling motivated with a game plan.  And some serious goals to work towards, including strength training at least 2x week and being strong enough to do a pull up.  I wouldn’t typically share these details on the blog, because I know most of you don’t care.  But, I thought the lesson of measuring your success by more than one number was enlightening and an excellent reminder to all of us who put in so much effort each week in the gym and the kitchen that we sometimes forget to celebrate our small victories.

 

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Afterwards, I had some errands to run, most of which included grocery store shopping and of course Costco, where I stocked up on healthy foods and snacks.  I came home for leftover Thai for lunch and then the BOY and I were back at the tennis courts.  We played on Saturday as a make up for last week and I was feeling rusty.  It felt good to be back on the courts today.  We are both doing a little better, I do think I would benefit from another refresher lesson, and I am counting down the days until we can get outside and play in the sunshine.

 

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The BOY and I went to the grocery store on the way home to get food for dinner.  While the BOY worked on his homework this evening, I prepped our turkey burgers.

 

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While we were at Mariano’s, the BOY asked why I wasn’t buying the premade turkey burgers that we like so much.  Great question…right?!  I guess I had planned on trying this recipe and was looking forward to having a few burgers for lunch during the week.  Plus, it takes no time at all to mush together some burgers.

 

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This recipe is really easy and even though it was originally meant to be sliders, it worked perfectly in big burger form.

 

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I should probably tell you that after I made the burgers and prepped the brussel sprouts, I retreated to the couch and let the BOY finish out dinner.  He made the burgers on the grill pan on the stove (I am counting down the days until we can grill outside) and sautéed some mushrooms and onions to add to his burger.

 

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Our entire dinner was easy and satisfying!  It was a real team effort in the kitchen!

 

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How do you celebrate the little victories?

Have you grilled outside yet?

 

Meal Planning 3/24/14

Monday: Spinach Turkey Burgers with Brussel Sprouts

 

Tuesday: Crockpot Tikka Masala from The Wanderlust Kitchen

 

Wednesday: Salmon and Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

 

Spinach Turkey Burgers

Adapted from Bon Appetit

 

Ingredients

Flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves chopped (about 1 cup)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix with your hands until well combined.

Form meat into 4 patties.  Place on a paper plate and cover with press and seal.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Grill burgers on outdoor grill or on indoor griddle for about 8 minutes each side.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

I Made Pumpkin Bread Instead

Yup…that means I didn’t go to yoga this morning.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE yoga, especially at my studio.  But my body is exhausted (and still sore) and their Hot Yoga class is REALLY hard!  And the Yin style classes are at 8am or 6pm, neither which worked into my schedule today, so I…well, made pumpkin bread instead!

 

We didn’t set an alarm this morning, but Cooper’s internal breakfast alarm can be counted on.  At least he waited until after 7am today!  The BOY and I took our time getting moving, but Cooper missed the slow Sunday start memo and was bouncing around waiting for food.  It may sound like I am talking about a dog here, but he is just a bouncy and continuously hungry kitten.

 

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Maybe they won’t see me here and I can spring into the water when it turns on…

 

So you may have noticed that I am yet to make anything pumpkin this fall!  Or maybe you haven’t noticed, but it’s true, and with the end of October approaching, it is time for that to change.  I went straight to my Everything Pumpkin board on Pinterest and started making the first bread recipe that I saw (not surprisingly, there is more than one pumpkin bread recipe on the board).

 

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Meanwhile, I made myself a Green Smoothie.  In an attempt to assess my current eating habits, I’ve been keeping track of what I’ve been eating this past week.  One obvious note…there are not nearly enough veggies in my diet.  So I picked up some spinach at Costco yesterday because that is easy to mix with everything.

 

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I started with my typical smoothie base of spinach, banana, and almond milk.  I added in some Chia seeds and then went looking for something to build in some flavor.  I had no frozen fruit, but did find the ginormous bag of cranberries that I also bought at Costco yesterday.  I rinsed them off and threw in about a cup.  Then 2 handfuls of ice cubes.

 

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I went in for a taste test and my smoothie was AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe how good it was.  In retrospect I should have added some cucumber as well, but I didn’t notice I had any until after I was half way done.  As you can tell, veggies just haven’t been on my radar recently.  I scrambled up some eggies to go with my smoothie and waited patiently for the bread while the house filled with the smells of the season.  I tried to get the BOY talking about this week’s meal plan, but we didn’t get much further than tonight’s dinner.

 

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We let the bread cool, only enough to remove it from the pan, before slicing off an end.

 

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This pumpkin bread is scrumptious!  I love how the crust is crunchy and sweet while the inside stays moist and full of flavor!  You should definitely add it to your pumpkin board and probably your Sunday as well!

 

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The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe Ever by Recipe Girl

 

 

Just in case you are looking to spend your Sunday making pumpkin bread instead,

here are a few other recipes to try…

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Pear Bread

Maple Pumpkin Spice Bread

Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

 

All of which pair well with a refreshing green smoothie!

 

 

Spinach and Cranberry Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1 large heap of spinach

1 banana, sliced

2 Tbsp ground flax or chia

1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Ice

 

Directions

Combine milk, spinach, and banana in your blender and chop until spinach is broken down and everything begins to mix together.  Add flax or chia and cranberries and mix on high until well combined.  Add in ice and blend until desired consistency is reached.  Enjoy!

 

 

Did you make anything pumpkin yet?

What ideas should I add to my Pinterest Pumpkin board?

My Crockpot is my Sous Chef

Well, actually it is my chef!  And Sunday it worked over time to make dinner and then lunch for the week.  Yes that’s two recipes in one day and I know it sounds extreme, but it made my life this week REALLY easy!

 

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This recipe is another Pinterest find, and one we were all drooling over Sunday morning.

 

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It originally called for red meat, but I subbed in turkey meat and left out the mozzarella.

 

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I even used whole wheat noodles, and the BOY couldn’t tell the difference.

 

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Unfortunately, none of my pictures even do this recipe an ounce of justice because it is definitely something you should make this week!  And by you…I mean your ‘sous chef’.

 

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One warning though…you will have to do a little work because the recipe calls for cooked noodles.  I was surprised to see this last minute, but was easily able to whip up a box of pasta to add to the pot.  And, if you are short on time, you can cook everything on high for 3-4 hours.  This recipe makes tons, so there is more than enough for lunch and even some to share with friends.  Enjoy!!

 

What crockpot recipe have you pinned and not yet made?

 

 

Turkey Crockpot Ravioli Casserole

Adapted from Becoming Betty

 

Ingredients

1- 1 1/2 lbs lean turkey meat (I used 93/7)

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used basil)

salt/pepper to taste

12 oz fresh spinach

12 oz (I box) whole wheat bow tie pasta, cooked

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Mozzarella cheese (optional)

 

Directions

Brown ground turkey with onion and garlic. Put in crockpot and add sauce, tomatoes and seasonings.

Cook for 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Add spinach, pasta, and parmesan cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking and turn crockpot to high.

If using, add the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella to melt on the top.

Serve immediately or store in fridge in airtight container.

Another Week in Training

Truth be told…this morning, I just wasn’t that into running.

The alarm went off signaling that the BOY and I should become awake, and Cooper who has learned this sound, took the opportunity to raise his own alarm from the other side of our bedroom door.  I let him in for a 7 minute snooze/cuddle before he began demanding his breakfast.  The boy (kitten…there are two in the house now, so I am out numbered) is cute, but recently he has had a lot to say (when he is not getting himself into trouble…then he is rather quiet).

 

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It was already 70 degrees and although I had a short 5 mile run scheduled, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I ate some breakfast, read some emails, considered if I should go run indoors on the track instead of in the heat outside, read a few blogs (I still have a ton to catch up on after my weekend away), and finally climbed the stairs to change for my run.

 

Surprisingly, the weather was not too bad and I found a nice breeze on the way back.  I decided to let my body pick the pace and not worry at all about time.  My miles hovered right around 9:20 for the first 4 with a slower (9:37) last mile back to my house.  My legs were tired throughout, so I figured that’s not too bad. I’d be thrilled to crank out some 9:20 miles during the last 5 miles of the race on marathon day.

 

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Mostly this week, I am feeling tired.  I have taken naps the past few weekends and although I sleep 8-9 hours a night, my body just wants more sleep.  I had forgotten just how much sleep your body needs to log in long miles week after week.  It brought me back to this fun post I wrote while training for my first marathon, titled Lessons Learned in Marathon Training.  If you haven’t read it, you should definitely check it out my training words of wisdom : )

 

In honor of training season, I picked up some dark chocolate almond milk at the grocery store this weekend.  There is some research to support that chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks out there and I just find it to be tasty and refreshing.  The perfect treat during these tough, high mileage weeks.

 

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After this morning’s run, I decided to turn my chocolate milk into a smoothie.  I had tons of good ideas, but my problem was that Cooper kept photo bombing my smoothie photo!

 

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I wanted to add some spinach for the extra greens and nutrients and kept my smoothie pretty simple.  You could definitely add in flax, chia seeds, or some nut butter for more protein.

 

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Or fresh berries and more ice cubes.  This smoothie was the tastiest thing EVER.  I love me some dark chocolate almond milk and can’t wait to create more smoothie combinations!

 

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Chocolate Covered Berry

Green Purple Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 cup chocolate milk of your choice (I used almond milk)

1 large handful of spinach

1 cup frozen mixed berries

4-6 ice cubes

 

Directions

Combine milk and spinach in blender and chop.

Add in mixed berries and ice cubes.

Blend on high until smooth.

 

Do you drink chocolate milk?

Suddenly Summer BBQ

It’s summer! 

And with the thick, muggy weather, it finally feels like it!

I kept this weekend pretty low key on purpose and Saturday was saved for packing and a BBQ!

Around 1:30pm, I felt like I had a good handle on the packing portion of things and decided to go for a walk along the path.  I haven’t done much of anything in terms of exercise this week, so it was nice to get out and moving.

 

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Meanwhile, the BOY was hard at work seasoning and smoking ribs.

 

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My BFF and her adorable family were coming over for a BBQ.  She brought some delicious appetizers (including grilled salami).  I threw together a summer salad inspired by this mouth watering post on Pinch of Yum.

 

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I cheated and went with the store bought salad dressing, but maybe next time I will make my own!

 

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The toughest part of making this salad was searching the fruit section at the grocery store for the ripest nectarines in the bin.

 

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Luckily, I choose well and they sliced up perfectly for the salad.

 

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The gang was excited about their flavorful, smoky ribs, and the BOY threw some chicken on the grill for me.  We had a side of roasted broccoli, and everyone dug into dinner.

 

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I almost didn’t have room for dessert, but I never say ‘No’ to angel food cake, cool whip, and berries.  It’s the perfect finish to a summer evening spent with friends!

 

What are you most excited for this summer?

 

 

Blueberry Nectarine Summer Salad

Inspired by Pinch of Yum

 

Ingredients

6 cups baby spinach

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1 cup blueberries

2 ripe nectarines, sliced

Grilled chicken (optional)

Poppyseed dressing

 

Directions

Place spinach in large salad bowl.  Sprinkle with almonds, blueberries, and then top with nectarines.

Serve with salad dressing and chicken.

Running Date, Leftovers, and a Smoothie

Sunday Funday began EARLY today with a running date.

 

Ya’ll know that I am a mostly solitary runner, so I get excited at the chance to run with other people, friends or strangers : )  Which is why despite staying up a late for dinner and drinks last night, I set my alarm for a Sunday morning run.  Ok, I woke up at 7:30 which isn’t that early, but I usually sleep in later on Sundays.

 

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Breakfast was a running staple…TJ’s oatmeal with banana and pecans.  I met up with the trainer and two other friends at my old gym for an outdoor run.  The weathermen were predicting snow, but we were about to get out and begin winding through the neighborhoods before any foul weather.  It was around 35 degrees and at one point, we had to stop to delayer.  We ran at a steady pace for about 50 minutes before taking a good 20 minutes to stretch and roll out.  After making plans to run again next Saturday, I made my way over to Whole Foods for a few groceries.

 

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I was back home in time for lunch, laundry, and a second straight day of college basketball.

 

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For lunch, I baked a small sweet potato, smothered it with leftover pulled pork, and some cubed avocado with a side of mushrooms.  I didn’t get any great pictures of the pork last night, so I was hoping today’s pics would get your mouth watering.

 

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Mine certainly was as I dug into this BBQ Pork Baked Sweet Potato!

 

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One thing that caught my eye at Whole Foods this morning was their new line of juices.  They are made with just fruits and veggies, no water or sugar added.  The Green-Aid reminded me of yesterday’s invigorating green smoothie.

 

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I tried a new to me smoothie ingredient that added tons of flavor.

 

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Cucumber!

 

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I made a total mess in my clean kitchen with this smoothie, but it was worth it.  This sweet smoothie was one of the most refreshing I’ve ever made.  Cucumber may be a new stable in my homemade smoothies!

 

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After swimming on Thursday, spinning on Saturday, and running today, my legs are pretty fried.  It’s a great day to put up my feet and watch some basketball.  I’ll probably make another one of these incredible green smoothies too!

 

 

How are you spending your Sunday?

 

This is the IronGirl triathlon that I have been thinking about this June.  Has anyone done an IronGirl event before???

 

Refreshing Green Smoothie

 

Ingredients

1 large handful of spinach (I fill the bottom third of my blender)

1 cup of coconut water (I used flavored)

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 medium sized cucumber, chopped

Splash of fresh lemon juice

1 cup frozen mango

 

Directions

Place spinach, coconut water, apple, and cucumber in a blend.  Pulse or chop until veggies are broken down.  Then blend on low-medium.  Add lemon juice and frozen mango.  Blend on high for a few minutes until smooth.

Sip and Smile

Note: I am learning with my new blender that the longer I let things blend on high, the frothier and smoother my smoothies are!

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.