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Why You Should Go to the Gym Today

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Last night, I wanted something really quick for dinner.  I was tired and hungry, and those two things are NEVER a good combination.

Luckily, I had some veggie burgers in the fridge that only took about 8 minutes to cook.  These burgers were a new brand to me, Franklin Farms, and I truly loved them!

 

The ingredient list wasn’t too lengthy and the first ingredient on the list was “vegetables!”  Each burger has 100 calories, 12 grams of protein, and tasty flavor.  These little burgers are going to be hopping into my grocery cart more often!

This Morning

This morning, I woke up on the tired side of the bed.  I’ll admit it and say that I simply wanted to curl up back into my blankets and close my eyes rather than heading to the gym…but I didn’t.  Of course there are days when a little mid week break is needed, but there are also times when you need to simply push yourself just a bit and say “come on, think about how you will feel after you go to the gym…”

A little self-motivation never hurt anyone 😉

If you are lacking that little motivation to head to the gym this Friday, here are some self-motivating tips that I use when the bed sheets are calling my name:

  • I like to think about how I will feel after the workout.  That energy boost and that feeling of strength and accomplishment is priceless!
  • Put it into your schedule so that if you are a “list” person (which I completely am!) then you can physically cross that thing off the list.
  • If I am not feeling like creating my own workout or really thinking about it, then I will go to a group fitness class so that someone else can plan my workout for me.
  • The end goal is always important for me.  Am I working to build muscle?  Am I training for a race?  I like to keep whatever that end goal is in my head and think about how completing the workout will allow me to go one step closer to that goal.
  • To get that endorphin high!  Enough said 🙂
  • Remember how this exercise, whatever form, is benefitting your health in the long term.

How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym in the morning?

Honeymoon Mystery and Deliciously Simple Asian Tofu Salad

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Yesterday, Mom and I spent the morning driving up to Michigan to meet my dad and be with family for the morning.  On the way up there, we saw about a bazillion hot air balloons.  I know it’s hard to see in the picture below, but all those little specs are hot air balloons!  We had no idea why so many were out on a Wednesday morning, or even that so many people owned hot air balloons, but it gave us some nice scenery along the drive.

The trip to Fort Wayne and Michigan was short and sweet, so before I knew it, I was in the car and heading back to Indianapolis to meet with our Travel Agent to speak of honey moon plans.

It was a long day of driving, so I needed snacks in the car.  Mom packed up some cucumbers, radishes (yum!  I don’t eat these enough!), green pepper, and dried apricot.

It was great talking with the travel agent.  Brian and I just keep getting more and more excited about the wedding and our honey moon each day and can’t wait for next summer!

We haven’t booked anything yet, but hopefully soon we will have our arrangements all settled to travel to one of these locations…

Cinque Terre, Italy

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Negril, Jamaica

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The Bahamas

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Any guesses as to which location Brian and I are trying to make our honeymoon destination? We will let you know the answer once everything is all booked!

Dinner

When we arrived home, it was later than our usual dinner time and both of us were a bit hungry.  Luckily, I had prepped a meal on Sunday so we had to wait almost no time for dinner to be on the table.

Asian Tofu Salad

Yields:  2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of cubed tofu
  • 2 cups of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped cabbage

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and olive oil.  Stir until combined.  Pour about half of the Asian dressing over the cubed tofu to marinate.  Spray and grease a baking sheet, and lay the tofu on the sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir the tofu around and place in the oven for 10-15 more minutes until it reaches your desired crispness.

This tofu can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days so that you can have this meal later in the week, or you can serve it right away.  

Divide the lettuce and cabbage into two bowls.  Top with the tofu and the remaining dressing.  Eat and enjoy!

This meal was delicious and tasty, so simple, and we both cleaned every bite from our plates!

Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Of Possible Interest

 

High Protein Banana Muffins and My New Spin Playlist

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Last night, I made a pretty big accomplishment….

I took the pit out of an avocado…with just a knife for the first time EVER! Now, don’t get me wrong, as I have tried and failed many times before.  Seriously, it felt great to do that!!

Brian and I then enjoyed that avocado in some homemade guacamole in meatless Mexican salads.  I used the Morningstar Farms meal starters with some chili powder, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and pepper (all unmeasured), and it tasted so good.

Snack Time

I am so excited for my snack today.  One of my favorite things ever to make is muffins.  I can remember being a little girl using the Jiffy Cornbread Muffin mix to help my mom out with breakfast (corn muffins are a guilty pleasure of mine!).  For some reason, muffins just have a special place in my heart.

On Saturday, I scoured the internet for some high protein muffin recipes, and found tons.  Many of the recipes were similar to each other, so I took some notes, put my creative hat on and came up with a delicious banana creation.  Keep in mind, they do have a slight “protein” taste, so I love them, but Brian thinks they need peanut butter on top 😉

High Protein Banana Muffins

Yields:  10 Muffins

Nutrition Information:  Calories-63.2  Fat-2.1g  Carbs-3.2g Protein-8.3g

Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana, smashed
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (oats ground up!)
  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.  Scoop batter into 10 paper lined and greased muffin tins.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  ENJOY!

Workout

This morning’s workout was my Tuesday morning spinning class followed by some shoulder and ab work.  I have been rotating the same three playlists and switching out various songs for quite some time now in my spinning class…so I decided to create a completely new playlist.

All of the songs totally got me pumped up and working up a sweat!  I loved it.  At the end of class, I asked for suggestions for next week’s playlist…so keep your eyes peeled for another great workout mix.

On that note, it is time for me to head into work, but first…

Question of the Morning:

  • What is your favorite workout song and why?

I LOVE the Black Pearl song from Pirates of the Caribbean.  For some reason, it just gets me pumped and thinking I can push through and do anything.  It also ALWAYS seems to play when I am getting tired and need that extra energy and confidence boost.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad and my First Encounter with Feta

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A couple of days ago, I showed you this tasty picture without giving you a recipe or even telling you what it was!

This meal of Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad is a fabulous week night dinner that is tasty enough to be impressive, yet simple enough that it can be whipped up in no time.

When I headed to the grocery store last weekend, feta cheese sounded delicious.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use the feta in during the week, but I knew it sounded great so I tossed some into the cart.

Whenever I think of feta cheese, I can’t help but think of my first encounter with feta.  When I was in high school, one of my best friends was very Greek.  On one occasion when me and our other friends were at her house hanging out, we were hungry and wanted something to snack on.  Upon opening the fridge, I saw a giant white tub with a clear lid full of some sort of giant white block.  I had no idea what it was, but I knew that I was not going to eat whatever that mystery block was.

The tub looked much like this, but with a clear lid.

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When I questioned what the tub was full of…FETA was the answer.  At that moment I simply knew that I did not like feta and I never would.  Well, I was wrong.  Because after actually tasting the salty, crumbly cheese I realized I couldn’t get enough of it!

So, after throwing the feta into my cart last weekend, I needed to figure out a meal to pair this delicious cheese with.  Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad fit the bill.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Yields: 2 servings of Chicken, and 2-3 servings of salad, can easily be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Greek salad dressing, can be purchased OR recipe follows
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomato, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Coat the chicken breasts with half of the Greek dressing while poking holes into the chicken with a fork to get some of the dressing inside.  Place in the baking dish and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the quinoa salad.  The quinoa can be prepared at an earlier date or right before serving this meal, allowing that it has time to cool.  Prepare the quinoa according to package directions by placing 1/2 cup of the uncooked quinoa into a sauce pan along with 1 cup of water.  Cover the quinoa.  Allow the quinoa to come to a boil and turn the heat down to low for 12-15 minutes, or until the water is gone.

If preparing the quinoa right before the meal, stick it in the freezer to allow it to cool while the chicken is cooking.

Chop the tomato, onion, and cucumber.  Place in a large bowl with the spinach, feta, and the remaining Greek dressing.  Once the quinoa is cool, combine the quinoa into the feta and Greek dressing mixture.

Remove the chicken from the oven, serve along side the quinoa salad and enjoy!

Homemade Greek Dressing:

  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix until combined, and serve over salads or use as a marinade.

ENJOY!

*This recipe is being entered into the Mr. Food Ultimate Weeknight Meal Contest.  Keep your eyes peeled for voting opportunities!

Friday in a Nutshell and the Foodie Blogroll!

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I had a pretty eventful Friday…here is what went on (in a nutshell 😉 )

I was invited to be a member of Foodie Blogroll!!

Foodie Blogroll is a blogging community that features different blogs each week, allows members to participate in exclusive promotions with various food companies, and is a great way for food bloggers to connect with other food bloggers. I am so excited to be a part of this community, and I can’t wait to be involved in my first promotion.

Lunch Date

Yesterday, Brian showed me just how great of a fiance he was by stopping by the hotel to take me out to an unplanned lunch date!

 

It was very unexpected, but much needed.  Panera was our restaurant of choice.  Seriously, I don’t think that I could ever get sick of that place.

 

My lunch was one of the You Pick Two combos including the vegetable soup with pesto, and the Thai chopped chicken salad…sans the chicken.  So good, I need to figure out how to make that salad at home!

 

After we were finished with our lunch, we ran next door to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a wedding gift for the wedding we are attending later today.  Unfortunately, we had to order the gift to be delivered to the couple, but luckily they had a coupon code that I could text to receive on my smart phone!  Gotta love savin’ some moolah 😉

 

Running

My work day ended with a meeting downtown.  Since my workout scheduled for the day was my long run for the week, I totally took advantage of this and made sure to pack workout attire.

I stopped by one of the gyms I teach at to change, then headed out along my usual path.  Sadly, I didn’t charge my Garmin last night and she died about .2 miles in…so I think I ran just about 6 miles.

 

I got pretty thirsty along the way and forgot to bring my mini water bottle, so I stopped at a hotel and creeped around until I found this little beauty.  It was glorious!

 

Dinner

After the run, I was pretty hungry and so thankful that I had leftovers from last night’s salmon patties.  Even though they weren’t perfect, they were still a tasty and quick dinner.  I just added a side of green beans and called it a day!

 

Ella’s Frozen Yogurt

The other day, Brian and I stopped by a friend’s on our way home just for a moment to say hi and see her new house.  On the way we drove past this cute little frozen yogurt shop!

 

We didn’t stop then, but I knew we would be making a trip in the very near future.  Ella’s Frozen Yogurt was decorated so cute, the toppings were displayed perfectly making Brian and me want to try each one, the staff was incredibly friendly giving us samples and recommendations, they had live music, and special discounts every day of the week! They had a live band playing outside too. Not to mention the frozen yogurt tasted delicious!

Topping Station:

 

More Toppings:

 

Even More Toppings:

 

Tara’s Creation:  1/2 Snickerdoodle and 1/2 Cake Batter Frozen Yogurt topped with granola, peanut butter drizzle and a few cookie dough bites to snack on in the car.

 

Brian’s Creation:  1/2 Cake Batter and 1/2 Strawberry frozen yogurt with cheesecake bites, butterfingers, strawberries, and peanut butter drizzle.

 

The best part about the whole thing was that it only cost $5!! Friday’s promotion is 40% off for students, and Brian and I completely took advantage of that discount.  A delicious Friday night treat!

Breakfast

This morning, I woke up pretty hungry, so I immediately ran upstairs to make myself a delicious strawberry protein smoothie bowl (strawberries, almond milk, Sunwarrior protein powder, spinach, ice and water, raw oats, and a bit of peanut butter on top).

It totally hit the spot!

 

Now, it’s time to review some Body Pump before teaching my class later this morning.  I hope you all have a great Saturday!

Question of the Morning?

  • What were your Friday night plans?
  • Anyone else eat some fro yo? (or ice cream??)
  • What is your favorite Fro Yo topping??

My absolute all time favorite fro yo topping would be….granola!  I love the crunch, the sweetness, everything about it.  Yum!

Friday Tangents and a Mixed Bag Workout

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Yesterday morning, I taught my Cardio Intervals group fitness class.  I have been teaching this class since May and have had a pretty solid little group of participants.  Most weeks, I would have a new circuit style routine featuring alternating cardio and strength exercises to get the heart rate up in quick bursts.

Because next week is the last class (this gym changes classes each semester based on a school schedule), I decided to throw a little curve ball at the class.  Yesterday, I let THEM create the workout!! It was actually really fun!

I took each of the exercises that we had completed in workouts throughout the summer and put them in two baggies.  One for Cardio (C) and one for Strength (S).  The participants then alternated and picked 4 from the C bag and 4 from the S bag.

The workout turned out to be challenging, fun, and a great workout!!  We will be picking from the bag next week too!

 

I then got home and had the best kind of mail waiting for me…..the kind where I get something free!!!!

I entered a Peanut Butter & Co. Twitter contest last week, and won a free jar of peanut butter plus a ton of other coupons for discounted PB!! 🙂

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the jar of peanut butter right there because I was pretty hungry and ready for dinner…so I got to work in the kitchen creating some salmon patties…

Dinner Kind of Flopped….

 

They tasted good, but they didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted.  The consistency was a little crumbly…so back to the drawing board for that one!  At least this flop was still edible 🙂

 

Breakfast

This morning was a morning for protein pancakes.   I wanted to make sure to eat a hearty breakfast because after work I am planning on running between 5 and 7 miles.

 

I am running a half marathon in late September and really need to kick my butt back into training gear.  I was doing pretty good (I had gotten up to 7 miles) about a month ago, but had to take a break so that I could focus on putting together group classes and learning Body Pump choreography.  Now that I am all caught up (kind of…) and the race is soon, back to training I go!!!

Have a happy Friday, and don’t forget that you can still enter my contest for a Grocery List Consultation and Evaluation simply by liking me on Facebook and commenting on yesterday’s blog post!! The winner will be picked tomorrow morning.

Like Me? Then “Like” Me!

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Last night, I made a deliciously simple meal that was nearly made of all local ingredients.

The wine was from Easley Winery, the main dish was a U-Relish Farms crockpot meal (review coming soon!), and the salad…well it came from the grocery store.  But even still the salad, crockpot meal, and wine were the perfect end to a long work day.

Like Me?

Having this blog is great because the blog time is like “me time” and I am really able to focus, write down my thoughts, get creative, and do things that I truly enjoy.  One of the great things that I love about the blog is the opportunities that it gives me and the people that it allows me to meet.  I know that I am only getting started and there is so much room for me to grow, but I continue to want to sink my teeth in and bite off more and more projects that allow me to promote a healthy lifestyle, experiment in the kitchen, meet people with similar interests, find new ways to be active, and learn new lessons.

As I have recently been researching more opportunities for me to “put myself out there”, I have come across a small obstacle.  Some promotional opportunities require a certain amount of Facebook “likes.”  Currently, I am at 89 Facebook “likes.”  Here is where I need your help.

I need your help to get me to 100 (or more!!) Facebook “likes!”

In order to make this a little more fun for you, (and for me ;)) I am going to host a contest through Saturday morning.

The prize:  Grocery List Consultation Evaluation

As a young professional and recent college grad attempting to eat a healthy diet on a dime I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to saving money on quality ingredients.  I will look at what you are doing now, listen to your goals about where you would like your budget to be, what changes to your current food intake you want to make,  and look at potentially new foods you may like to try.  I want to help you save money and show you some healthier alternatives to current foods you may be eating because healthy living doesn’t have to be expensive or out of your price range!

Previously, I did a Clean Shopping On a Budget Series, and in the past year I have learned even more tips and tricks of the grocery shopping and healthy eating trade.  To check out the series, click on the links below:

The consultation and evaluation will include:

  • cost saving tips and suggestions
  • coupon sources
  • healthy food swaps
  • meal preparation tips
  • anything else you may need help with!

In order to enter this contest simply “like” my Facebook page, and comment down below on this post letting me know that you did!

It won’t take many to reach the 100 mark…so let’s see how far we can surpass it!

Summary

What:  Contest to get 100+ Facebook page likes

Prize:  Grocery List Consultation Evaluation

When:  Now until Saturday, August 11 at 9am

How:  Like my Facebook page and comment below telling me that you did