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Completely Delicious Meatless Zucchini Lasagna

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Many of you may know that Monday was the official launch of Body Pump release 82 at the gym I am an instructor at.  Because I love a theme, and I love to dress for the occasion, I ordered a shirt from the Les Mills web site that matches the Body Pump theme.

I was tracking the shirt online to make sure that I would get it by the time of the launch, and on Monday morning it said that the shirt was in my city!  Naturally, I thought that it was at the house just waiting for someone to pick it up.  When I told Brian that the shirt had arrived, being the loving fiance that he is, he immediately headed to the house to pick up the shirt….and to find that it was not at the house!  It was in town, but it had not been delivered yet 😦 So, I had to complete the launch with just a plain red tank top.  Clearly, the red tank worked fine, but as soon as I got home what was waiting for me??

The Body Pump tank top!

So, I didn’t have it for this launch, but at least I can wear it when I teach my Saturday classes!

Meatless Zucchini Lasagna

In my family, lasagna is that dish that everyone loves but we reserve for special occasions like Christmas Eve.  So, we only end up having the tasty dish once or twice a year.  Well, this weekend while I was planning my meals, I was in the mood for this special dish, so I decided to do a little experimenting with my mom’s traditional recipe, and this is what I came up with!

Yields: 4 large servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 small zucchini
  • 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 8 oz of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters (I am seriously loving these things!)
  • 1 cup of low fat or fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt (divided)
  • 1 tsp oregano (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 oz low fat string cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 9×11 glass baking dish

Directions:

First, place a pot of water on the stove to boil while you brown the meal starters and the onion together.  While the meal starters and onion are cooking add 2 basil leaves, 1/2 Tbsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp oregano, and the Italian seasoning.  Once the water on the stove is boiling, place zucchini pieces that are cut into the shape of lasagna noodles (long strips) into the boiling water to cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

Mix the tomato sauce with the meal starter and onion mixture.  In a separate bowl, combine the cottage cheese with the remaining spices.

Now, it is time to begin layering the lasagna!  First, put down a light layer of sauce into the 9×11 glass baking dish, then place a layer of the zucchini “noodles” on top so that you cannot see anymore sauce.

Next, spread half of the cottage cheese mixture on top of the zucchini and top with half of the mozzarella or string cheese cheese.

Then, it is time to repeat the steps all over again!  So, place another layer of sauce, then the zucchini, then the cheeses, then one final layer of sauce.  Place in the oven at 400 for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it is cooked all the way through.  Allow to set in the pan for about 5 minutes before serving.

Last but not least…cut yourself a slice and enjoy!

Nutrition for 4 servings:

Calories:  155  Fat:  4.4g  Carbs:  10.2g  Protein:  17.4g

Tell me what some of your family’s special occasion meals are!! Do you ever “break the rules” and eat them without there being a special occasion??

 

My First Official Launch and Zucchini Complete Breakfast

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Good morning!

I have to start by saying that last night’s launch was amazing!  We had such a great turnout for all of the classes and we all had so much fun doing it.  I have to admit that I was pretty nervous before teaching my two tracks in the new Body Pump release, but after doing it once, I wanted to get right back up there and do it again!

We are already starting to brainstorm about our next launch in October!

Breakfast

To make things even better, I started my day with a delicious breakfast as well.

I feel like I am constantly searching for a way to incorporate veggies into my breakfast since I typically go for the sweeter stuff in the morning.  This breakfast is a complete meal in that it counts as one serving of veggies, 2 servings of starch, 1 serving of good fat, and 1 serving of protein.  All that you need to do is add a little fruit on top (I think strawberries taste delicious with this little cake!) and you have all of your food groups covered.  This little breakfast cake would be perfect to prepare ahead of time and eat in those mornings when you are on the go.

Zucchini Breakfast Cake

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of zucchini
  • 2 cups of oats or oat flour
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 6-8 packets of stevia (you can do this to taste, it really depends on how sweet you like things)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In food processor or blender place zucchini, egg whites, and almond milk.  Combine the zucchini mixture with all of the other ingredients and mix until combined.  Place in large muffin tins, or in an 8×8 baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!!!

Nutrition:

Calories:  324.9  Fat:  11.6g  Carbs:  60.6g  Protein:  19.7g

Have a great Tuesday!

Koru: Representation of Strength

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First things first…breakfast!

I started out my morning with a batch of protein pancakes topped with homemade almond butter, strawberries, and a side of Greek yogurt.  So good! Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day.

I needed to start out the day with good fuel in my tummy, because today is a very exciting day for me.

The gym that I teach Body Pump at launches the new release of Body Pump today…and I am teaching two of the tracks!

If you are new to the blog, I recently completed the initial training module for Body Pump, and I am loving every step of this new fitness journey.  I worked hard to create a great video tape of a class that I taught, sent it in and I am anxiously awaiting the video assessment results.  In the mean time,  I have been subbing classes and I also started teaching my very own class once a week.

Secret Package

On Thursday, I got a notice in the mail that I had a package waiting for me at the post office.  I had just ordered a Les Mills Body Pump workout tank top, so I thought that is what my package was.  Because I head into work before the post office opens, I had Brian pick up the mystery package.

Once he picked up the package, he called me sounding pretty confused.  I thought for sure that the package was my new workout top, but Brian explained that the package was very small…too small for a tank top, and from Indonesia.  What could it be???

When he opened it up and explained to me that it was a bone carved necklace, I knew exactly what it was!

When I started attending Body Pump and other Les Mills classes, I noticed similar necklaces on the instructors’ necks.  When I was in training, the trainers and some of the participants had necklaces on too.  I didn’t know what the necklaces were, but I suspected  that they were a symbol Les Mills used to represent strength.

My mom, being the sneak that she is, secretly asked her Body Pump instructor about the necklace that she wore and where she could purchase one for me to help me in my new fitness journey.

The necklace is a New Zealand koru, symbolizing growth, new life, strength, and peace.  Because Les Mills originated in New Zealand, several Les Mills instructors wear these necklaces to provide them with personal, mental, and physical strength while teaching.

I received my necklace just in time to teach my first official class and right before the new launch.  It is the perfect symbol of strength and personal growth, and I can’t wait to wear it at each class and see where my new Les Mills and Body Pump fitness road takes me.

Wish me luck at the launch tonight!

Do you have anything that you wear or keep with you to help symbolize strength???

Body Combat Obsessed and a Photo Shoot

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Hello!  Long time no see.  I have had a busy couple of days full of driving to Fort Wayne, group fitness classes, Vera Bradley, and birthday celebrations.

On Tuesday, as soon as Brian was finished with class, we loaded up the car and headed to Fort Wayne so that I could be a part of the Vera Bradley Fall into Fashion photo shoot.  Last year, around this time I was apart of their Winter 2011 catalog shoot, and I had a blast doing it!  When I saw that they were looking for more models for their Fall 2012 shoot and that the shoot was taking place in Fort Wayne, I had to apply…and I was selected!  So, Brian and I headed to Fort Wayne a day early to spend a little quality time with my Mom.

 

Last time I visited Mom, I attended a Body Combat class with her.  Body Combat is a Les Mills class that is pre-choreographed to music.  The types of movements used are “fighting” moves like punches, jabs, and kicks.  The workout really gets the heart rate up and makes you sweat.  On top of that, it makes you feel like a badass (excuse the language but it really does).  Since Brian was with us, I thought it would be fun for him to try out this workout class, and I am so glad that we decided to do that!

This time, the classes intensity was ramped up by about 1000%.  The instructor turned the lights out, gave all of the new people glow sticks to holding in their dominant punching hand and cranked the music.  It was awesome!  We all had such a great time doing it, and I can’t wait to visit Mom and go again.

After the class, we were all pretty sweaty and hungry.  Luckily, Smoothie King had free samples waiting for us on our way out 😉

Mom and I after Combat

We headed home, and Mom whipped up a quick and delicious dinner of lettuce wraps.  They kind of reminded me of a saucier version of P.F. Chang’s lettuce wrap appetizer.  Mom and Brian’s wraps were made with ground beef and mine were made with tofu.  I have never been a big fan of red meat, so the alternate menu was much appreciated 😉

While Mom was cooking, I thought it would be the perfect time for me to put together a batch of chocolate protein muffins, however, when I asked my mom to preheat the oven to 350 degrees she accidentally preheated the oven to broil, so the muffins were a little overdone.

In order to let our food settle, we then headed out with my puppies for a little walk.  Mom showed me her raspberry and strawberry bushes…I can’t wait for those babies to grow berries!

We then threw a couple of balls around with the dogs (well Mom and and Brian and I spectated) and headed back home.  Brian unwrapped a couple of belated birthday presents from Mom, and then we all had a little bit of homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert…this dessert is so light and delicious, it really screams summer to me.

We then headed to bed so that we could have our beauty rest for the Vera Bradley shoot.

Vera Bradley

We arrived to the shoot at 7:30am, which honestly allowed me to sleep in a little bit compared to my usual group fitness class time of 6am.  Like most photo shoots, there is a lot of waiting and patience involved, so I occupied my time by practicing my Body Pump combinations.  I always carry some sort of notebook with me, but for some reason I didn’t have one with me at all yesterday…so a napkin had to do the trick.  They also had Luna bars for snacking, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

After a long day of waiting, the end of the day began to near and it was finally my time to be put to work.  Although there was waiting involved, it was still a great experience because of the kindness of the people working for Vera Bradley, the other models, and being able to watch the entire shoot take place!  I love all of the new patterns (literally!) and I cannot wait to see the outcome of the shoot 🙂

We finally arrived home around 5:30pm and Mom had dinner waiting for us.  Tilapia served along side roasted zucchini with cheese on top.  Those little zucchini medallions were probably my favorite part of the meal, and I could have eaten the entire plate.  Somehow, I contained myself.

We also had a tasty side salad.  Gotta love the veg 😉

 

After dinner, we loaded up the car once again and headed back to Indianapolis.  I practiced a bit more Body Pump in the car, but I was beat!! I fell asleep on the way home, and then as soon as we got home, I hit the hay.  It was a fun, exciting, but long and tiring day.  It’s tough life being a model 😉

Today

Today, started bright and early so that I could review the most recent tracks I have added to my Body Pump repertoire.  Because I woke up so early, I ate my oatmeal breakfast before class.  Usually, it makes me nervous to eat a full meal before exercising, but I had more than an hour to digest and everything was completely fine.  Plus, I woke up hungry, and being hungry during Body Pump can make it harder for me to put in my full effort.

I actually cooked my oats this morning rather than making them the night before.  I added a bit of my Plant Fusion protein powder, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, stevia, 1 Tbsp of Greek yogurt for creaminess, and some chocolate PB2.  It was delicious and tasted like cookie dough. 🙂  Just the way I like to start my day!

I then team taught Body Pump, and had a great time doing it!  I made a small mistake, but because I knew my choreography I was able to recover and continue on. My next goal with Body Pump is to be able to teach the first 5 tracks of class.  My next team teaching session is Saturday….let’s see if I can do it!

I then came home and practiced more Body Pump so that I can achieve my goal on Saturday, and when I was bored of doing that it was time for my run.  I had 7 miles on the schedule today and I was feeling good.  I know we all have those days when running is literally the last thing that on the list that we want to do, and my last attempt at running more than 5 miles was one of those days, so I was a bit nervous starting out.  But as soon as the first Broadway tune (yes, I listen to Broadway while running 😉 ) hit my ears, I knew it was going to be great.

I found my pace, and for me, when I find my pace it is like finding the rhythm of your body.  Once I get in that groove, there is no getting out and the entire run just feels like you are coasting through the air.  I LOVE that feeling!

Completed:  7 miles in just over 1 hour…not too shabby if you ask me.

I then showered, and made myself some lunch.  Lunch was basically the usual, tuna, hummus, and veggies.  I also had a LOVE bite for some healthy fats and a little something sweet.

 

I then headed out to a little coffee shop called Mo’ Joe so that I could change the usual scenery while I did some job hunting and cleared out my e-mail inbox.  To give me a little extra fuel, I sipped on Mo’ Joe’s most popular drink the Honey Bee iced latte.  A cinnamon and honey latte made with skim milk…I can definitely understand why it is the most popular!

I hope you all are having an amazing Thursday and are getting ready for the weekend!

Of Possible Interest:

 

 

BodyCombat and New-to-Me Fish

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Hello from Fort Fun!  (that would be my hometown of Fort Wayne).

 

About a week ago, I went to a young professionals event and met some really great people.  There were a couple of awkward silences…but that just happens sometimes I guess.  Making small talk, someone asked where I was from and I replied that I was originally from Fort Wayne.  He then went on to ask if I called my hometown anything else…???  I thought that was a strange question.  Do you have multiple names for your hometown?  He then told me that he had heard it called Fort Fun and wondered if it was true.  While I think Fort Wayne is a great place to raise a family, I think the nickname “Fort Fun” is more of a joke rather than a serious nickname…but I could be wrong.

 

Anyways…on to lunch!

After coming home from the gym, I sent out another job application, responded to some e-mails, then headed out for a 3 mile run and the next thing I knew I had to shower, pack, and get ready to head to “Fort Fun.”

I quickly whipped up a salad using the rest of the baked tofu and some chopped veggies topped with a salsa and hummus mixture.  It was delicious!

With food in my belly, I then headed out to a meeting about volunteering for a local arts organization before I officially hit the road.  Although the drive home is only two hours…sometimes it is a long two hours.  Today, the drive was long.  I was thankful to finally pull into the driveway of my parent’s home-sweet-home.

BodyCombat

As soon as I got there, Mom and I got changed into some workout gear so that we could head to one of my mom’s favorite group fitness classes, BodyCombat.  BodyCombat is a Les Mills exercise program that is pre-choreographed to music much like BodyPump and RPM.  It is a “high intensity martial arts inspired cardio program” that lasts 55-60 minutes.  It was my first time taking the class, but I have to say that I LOVED it!  My mom and I both agree that this workout is very empowering and makes you feel like you could use the punches, kicks, and ducks in an actual fight…although I probably won’t risk trying it 😉  Some of the footwork was a little bit “fancy,” but I can imagine that after attending a couple of different classes and getting used to the format things would get easier.

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Dinner

After our sweaty workout class, Mom and I were more than ready for dinner.  Mom had purchased a new (to us) fish called Swai.  I had never heard of it and neither had Mom, but it was on sale at the store so Mom thought she would give it a try.  What  a good decision!  It had a mild flavor, was nice and sturdy (it didn’t fall apart as Mom was cooking it), and tasted great with some taco style seasonings that Mom put on the fish.

I put my fish on top of some lettuce with onions, mini sweet peppers, and avocado with salsa.  Mom put her fish along with some veggies in a soft taco shell with some cheese.  We both agreed that it was delicious!

 

Mom also had a little surprise for me when I got home…a free sample of coffee for the Keurig!  Gotta love a free sample 😉

Now, we are watching Mom’s new favorite show, the New Girl.  I have heard a lot of good things about it, but never taken the time to sit down and watch it.  So far, I like what I see!

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Have a great evening!