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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

source

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

 

Wrong Time Zone

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As soon as I got home from work, I put on my PJs, unpacked my lunch bag, popped dinner in the oven and packed all of my snacks, lunch, and dinner for tomorrow.  Dinner was ready, lunch (and meals for tomorrow) were packed in a flat 25 minutes…I would like to call that record breaking.

I roasted up some green beans, the last of my broccoli and cauliflower, and baked a Morning Star Farms Grillers Chik’n patty.

When I was shopping for these burgers at the gym, I have to admit that I didn’t really want to buy them because they were named “chicken,” but they really actually tasted pretty good.  Especially with a little salsa on top.  Good thing I liked them, because I made the same thing for dinner tomorrow night too!

Time Zones

This past weekend, my mom had a conversation with me explaining the different time zones.  Growing up, Indiana never experienced daylight savings.  Then, all of a sudden as a teenager we joined the club and had daylight savings…and I still haven’t gotten used to it.

Indiana has a couple of different time zones, which makes travel extra confusing sometimes.

Anyways, the point of this being that I got home, rushed to get all of my to-do items finished so that I could sit down and watch my webinar on coaching indoor cycling classes at 7pm….Central Time.  Indiana is on EASTERN TIME…oops!

So, the webinar is at 8pm and I had a little extra time to write this post 😉

BTW…Happy First Day of Summer!!  I’ll end the night with a question..

What is your favorite summer treat??

Mine would have to be ice cream 🙂  I love ice cream anytime, but I find that it tastes so much better in the summer when  you can eat it outside!


Started at a Different Office

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This morning, I started out my day at a different hotel than I usually do.  Because I am the manager of two properties, I try to spend a little bit of time at both.

When I called Brian at lunch, he specifically asked me if there was anything left at work.  I had no idea what he was talking about. All I could think of was the envelope the night auditor left by the door for us to pick up…clearly not what Brian was talking about.  When I said no, I think it threw Brian off a bit.

At around 2pm, I headed over to the other property to finish off my day, and there they were…

What a great fiance!  He was confused because he didn’t know that I would be starting the day at the other property…oops!  Luckily, I was splitting my time at both places 🙂  It was a great surprise to the middle of my day!

Dinner

When I arrived home, I was very excited because dinner was waiting for me….in the crock pot.  Last week, in my attempt to find a little extra time in my week, I decided to go with a suggestion from my mom.  She suggested to make a giant meal in a crock pot, so that I have meals for the week or that I can freeze and reheat for a later date.  What a simple and great idea!

Tonight’s meal was a take on The Savvy Vegetarian’s Barley Lentil Crockpot Soup.  I added a bit of shrimp to mine for some extra protein.  The meal was warm and a tad spicy from some chili powder I added.  It will be great to eat again in the cooler months!

The recipe made exactly 5 servings…how perfect 😉

I ate the 5th serving 🙂

I must say, I am really loving the pre-prep ideas that I have been trying.  It is really making my life easier.  Getting used to having a set schedule is a little more challenging than I thought it would be.  I know I will get used to it eventually, but right now these little prepare ahead of time tips are getting me through!

I hope you all had a great start to the week, too!

Question of the Evening:

  • Do you prepare all of your food at the beginning of the week, or do you prepare things as you go???

Full Day of Work and Asian Tofu and Broccoli

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Well, it’s official.  I completed my first Monday at work.  It really wasn’t that exciting because I am still training and familiarizing myself with our top accounts, so it was kind of the same old same old, but I did take a lunch break!

For some reason, last week I just didn’t take a lunch break.  There really is no real reason why…so I decided that unless there is some huge deadline or project I am working on, I will take a lunch break.  They are giving it to me, so I better take what I can get!

I used my  new salad container.  In the bottom, I put salad with tomatoes with broccoli and cauliflower.  In the top I put salsa and tuna salad.

I also spent the break catching up on some blog reading.  I still have to figure out this whole working-during-normal-hours-of-the-day thing…

Dinner

When I got home, I knew that I needed to eat a meal with tofu (by the way, every time I go to type tofu, I type TOFY…..and giggle a little to myself.  Is it funny?  No.  But I still laugh inside)  in it, since I didn’t thaw anything from the freezer.  On Saturday for lunch, Brian and his parents ordered Chinese take-out for lunch.  I made a salad with egg whites, but I thought that the Chinese food looked delicious.  Immediately it sparked an idea in my head, and that is what inspired dinner tonight.  I did a little bit of research on the internet and based my method off of this recipe from EatingWell.com.  The end result….had Brian going back for seconds!

Asian Tofu and Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz can vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch, divided
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz package of firm or extra firm organic tofu, drained
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 3 Tbsp water
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, 1 Tbsp corn starch, sugar, and crushed red pepper.  Set to the side.
Chop the drained tofu into 1 inch cubes.  Sprinkle with the salt and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of corn starch on the tofu and toss to coat.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the tofu in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
Add garlic, ginger, broccoli, broccoli slaw, and water to the tofu mixture.  Cook and stir for 3 more minutes.  Add the soy sauce mixture.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
Makes 2 large servings (if you are super hungry) or 4 smaller servings.
Enjoy!
Nutrition for 4 servings:
Calories–216.5   Fat–4g    Carbs–34.3g    Protein–12.4g

Now, I am kicking back and enjoying the Bachelorette.  Happy Monday!

Question of the Night:

  • What did you have for dinner?  

 

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats…Delicious

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw a recipe for zucchini boats in a magazine, and book marked the idea away in my brain until a later date.  Earlier this afternoon, I was just feeling kind of not like doing much…including cooking dinner, when suddenly this recipe idea popped in my head.  I decided to give it a try…and it was a success!

Zucchini is such a summer vegetable to me.  I love it raw with dip, steamed with salt and pepper, baked with cheese on top, mixed in with marinara sauce, cooked into a quiche, and baked in bread.  Just about anyway you can prepare it, I will eat it.  With the summer weather lingering here in Indiana, a zucchini dish seemed perfect.

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

Yields:  4 total boats, 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 small-medium zucchinis
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of garlic salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/5 block of tofu (pressed and cut into small pieces)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat feta

Directions:
Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut each zucchini length wise, and scoop the center out of each half of the zucchini.  Place on a baking sheet.

In a medium skillet heated to medium high heat, place the balsamic vinegar, bell pepper, tomato, tofu, garlic salt, and basil until slightly browned.

Once browned add in the spinach and allow the spinach to wilt.  Once the spinach is wilted, add in the cottage cheese and combine thoroughly.

After the cheese, tofu, and vegetable mixture is thoroughly combined, scoop even portions into each zucchini boat. Top each zucchini boat with the feta cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  This meal was delicious, light enough to be summer meal, but filling enough to be a dinner.  Quinoa makes an excellent side dish with this meal.

Nutrition per 2 boats:

Calories–163  Fat–8.2g  Carbs–14.1g  Protein–18.4g

Go ahead…give this meal a try 🙂  You won’t regret it!

Zesty Black Bean Dip

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Yesterday truly was a lazy day spent by the pool just hanging out, so today I woke up with the mindset to get things knocked off the to-do list.

I started out the morning with a bowl of overnight oats.  This mixture had chocolate, peanut butter, a bit of protein powder, and Greek yogurt all topped off with a little bit of frozen banana.

With the weather being estimated at a high of over 90 today, hot food just didn’t sound appealing to me, but this did the trick at fueling me up for a productive day.

A Recipe

A couple of days ago, I was getting ready to make lunch for Brian and myself when I decided to get a little creative.  We had a can of black beans in the pantry that had been there for a couple of weeks, and I wanted to use it up.  Immediately, I thought to make some sort of black bean dip.  After rinsing the beans and placing them in the food processor with a little bit of this and a little bit of that I had come up with a deliciously easy dip!

Zesty Black Bean Dip

Yields: about 8 servings of 2 Tbsp

Ingredients:

  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp green tabasco sauce
  • sriracha to taste


Directions:

Place all ingredients in the food processor and process until desired consistency.  The dip will be creamy, with a little bit of bean texture.  Serve with chopped veggies, tortilla chips, or crackers.  Enjoy!

Nutrition:

Calories:  57.5   Fat:  .2g   Carbs:  10.3g   Protein:  3.8g

This would be a perfect dip to take to a Memorial Day BBQ 🙂  I hope you all have a great extra day of the weekend!

Salmon and Roasted Vegetable Feta and Quinoa Salad

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Today has been a busy day from the get-go, but first I will recap about last night’s dinner, because it was pretty tasty.

I noticed recently that with my crazy and unpredictable schedule and teaching classes at night, I often let dinners kind of fall on the wayside and end up making less than exciting things to eat.  In an attempt to change that, I found a couple of recipes that looked nutritious and delicious.  Both important factors 🙂  Last night’s dinner was a new-to-me recipe, once again inspired by Clean Eating magazine.

Salmon and Roasted Vegetable Feta and Quinoa Salad

Cook Time:  about 1 hour

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of prepared quinoa
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup of kale, just the leaves removed from the hard stems, rinsed and dried
  • 4-6 oz of wild salmon
  • 1/4 cup low fat feta cheese

Directions:

In medium sauce pan, prepare quinoa according to package.  Once cooked, spread quinoa out on a plate or baking sheet to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a glass baking dish (9×13) toss tomatoes, cauliflower, ball pepper, onion, and garlic.  In a separate small bowl combine the mustard, vinegar, olive oil and pepper.  Toss the mustard dressing with the vegetables.  Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven on the lowest rack.  Allow to cook for 15 minutes.  Then, remove the foil and cook an additional 15 minutes.

On a nonstick baking pan, spread out the kale.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  In a separate pan, place the salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place both in the oven on the top rack for about 15 minutes.

Break salmon into large flakes.

Add the quinoa and the feta to the vegetable mixture.  Divide the veggies into two or three dishes.  Top with kale and salmon.  Enjoy!!!

Nutrition:

2 Person Serving Option Calories:  369.3    Fat:  13.2g   Carbs:  37.2g   Protein:  29.2g

3 Person Serving Option Calories:  246.2   Fat:  8.8g   Carbs:  24.8g  Protein:  19.5g

 

Now, back to my busy day…recap lata gata 😉

Chocolate Coconut Water Love

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After teaching spin, doing a bit of a shoulder, workout, and calling my new boss so that I could find out details of my new job (I start next Tuesday!) it was time for lunch.

Sometimes, I feel like I could go through I head of lettuce in two days, other times it takes me a bit longer.  When I was home not too long ago, my mom gave me some artisan lettuce as a special treat.  While I have not been skimping on using the lettuce, somehow I still have it!  So, I cleaned it up, and made myself a delicious salad full of cauliflower, onion, broccoli, celery, and tuna topped with a combination of homemade hummus and salsa.

Lately, I have been absolutely loving the combination of salsa and hummus as a salad dressing.  It is slightly spicy, and the hummus adds a nice creaminess.  Delish! 😉

New Obsession

When I went grocery shopping for the week, I purchased myself a little treat.  Zico Chocolate Coconut water.  I had tried the original coconut water and loved it, but heard rave reviews about the chocolate.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about trying it because I like the original so much, but as soon as I tried it I was in LOVE!

It is seriously delicious, and oddly tastes kind of like chocolate milk.  When I tried it on Saturday, I immediately got the urge to experiment with it…so I made a smoothie.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Coconut Water Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup Zico Chocolate Coconut Water
  • 1/3 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful of kale (spinach will work fine too, or you can omit!)
  • 1 Tbsp of natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 packet of splenda
  • 4 ice cubes
  • a splash of regular water (as needed)

Combine all ingredients in the blender and enjoy!!  Seriously, this is one delicious, sweet, nutritious treat 🙂

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: