Sunday, April 13, 2014

weekly food and fitness plan || April 7-13

Every Sunday I try to make time to relax, re-charge, and also prepare for the week ahead! I am planner and a control freak, so I feel a lot calmer if I am heading into Monday with a game plan for meals and workouts to keep me on track throughout the craziness of the work week. 

I typically only plan out our dinners in advance, since I prefer to be more flexible with my breakfast and lunch choices based on what I feel like the day-of. I choose about four or five dinners to make each week, assuming we'll eat leftovers at least once and go out at least once. Where do I find my meal inspiration? Pinterest, my massive cookbook collection, food blogs, polling Ben, and anything I'm craving! 

Since breakfast is my favorite meal, I make sure we are always stocked with the essentials (oats, eggs, yogurt, fresh and frozen fruit, etc.) Lunch is my least favorite meal of the day and I usually just pack leftovers or a salad with some pre-cooked chicken or tuna. After doing the 21 Day Fix though, I've started planning my breakfasts and lunches more often because it really makes grocery shopping a lot easier and cheaper when you are only purchasing the food you know you're going to eat! I tend to get a little overly excited at the grocery store, but sticking to a meal plan and grocery list helps me resist the temptation to impulse buy.

Here's what we ate for dinner this past week!

Sirloin steak cooked on the cast-iron grill pan
Mashed cauliflower and potatoes with mushroom gravy (recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook)
Green beans (frozen and microwaved)



Quick and easy chickpea chana masala (also from the Oh She Glows cookbook...obsessed) 

Thursday dessert:
Plain Greek yogurt mixed with stevia, chocolate PB2, and cacao nibs. 
This is one of my favorite healthy "desserts" if I'm hungry after dinner. I also like mixing Greek yogurt with cocoa powder and stevia. It tastes like pudding and it's packed with protein to keep me full all night!

Chipotle salad (carnitas, black beans, fajita veg, mild salsa, corn salsa, extra lettuce, drizzle of vinaigrette)

Girls' night out (cocktails, salad with chicken, fro-yo....)

Sunday (on the plan for tonight):
Tofu and veggie stir-fry

And here's my workout schedule from this week:

Monday: 55 minute Les Mills Pump workout (at home)
Tuesday: 2.5 mile treadmill interval workout + abs (at the gym)
Wednesday: 60 minute spin class (at the gym)
Thursday: off!
Friday: 1 mile run around the 'hood plus two YouTube leg routines from Tone It Up and Fitness Blender (at home)
Saturday: 45 minutes of barre and abs from the Tone It Up Beachbabe 2 DVD  (at home)
Sunday: 60 minutes of yoga from Eoin Finn's Pursuit of Happy Hips (at home--LOVE this yoga dvd)

And there you have it! I love seeing the weekly food and fitness schedules of other people, so I hope you liked getting a glimpse at my week too! Maintaining a healthy balance takes a bit of time and effort, but once I'm in a routine it's fairly easy for me to stick with it and I love knowing that I'm treating my body the best I can.

Have a fabulous Sunday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chicken and Veggie Pasta Bowl

Do you ever throw together a random meal for dinner and it turns out to be the most amazing thing you've eaten all week? Well, that just happened to me tonight. I wish I could think of a catchier name, but Chicken and Veggie Pasta Bowl is going to have to do! It's 7 pm on a Tuesday and I have no more creative juices left in my brain. I'm in the middle of a month of school outreach programs at work, and driving to the far outskirts of the city and making data analysis seem fun and entertaining to hundreds of 7th graders all day will definitely take it out of ya!

This recipe is so easy it's not really a recipe at all--but it's perfect for those crazy busy weeknights when you come home exhausted and want a fast and easy big bowl of comfort food. Oh, and it's healthy too! Veggies, protein, carbs, all in one. My favorite kind of meal. Did I mention it makes a ton of leftovers so you don't have to think about lunch or dinner tomorrow either? Fast, easy, healthy, delicious, leftovers. Quintuple win.

Chicken and Veggie Pasta Bowl
Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4-6
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Seasonings of choice
  • 3/4 to 1 box of pasta (Whole wheat for bonus points!)
  • 1 jar high quality marinara sauce (Look for one with less than 5g sugar per serving. I use the organic basil marinara from Aldi!)
  • 1 bag frozen bell pepper strips
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • Cheese for topping!
Preheat oven to 350* F. Place the chicken in a baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, pour the lemon juice over chicken, and season liberally. I used Italian Blend Mrs. Dash tonight.

Bake chicken for 25-35 minutes, until it's done!

Once chicken is in the oven, cook your pasta for 3/4 of the time listed on the box. You want it to be a little crunchy still, because you're going to continue to cook it in the sauce! Drain the pasta, and return to the heat source. Dump in your sauce and frozen veggies, and heat until veggies are hot and the chicken is finished cooking! Chop chicken, add to pasta and veggies, serve with cheese.

Enjoy! What did you have for dinner tonight?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April intentions

It's April now, and even though the weather doesn't quite feel like spring yet, I'm beginning to notice small signs of life emerging from the winter dreariness, like these perfect tiny crocuses (croci?) bursting out of the dirt in someone's postage stamp front yard on the block down the street.

I tend to categorize and divide my life by phases--for a long time I lived by the school calendar and September always marked a new beginning. Now that I've officially been out of education institutions for three years, I am putting more emphasis on the actual end of the calendar year in December. But April is my birthday month, and so it signals a new beginning to me as well. I tend to prefer even numbers of both years and ages, although they never match up for more than four months. Twenty-six has been an incredible year of change and personal growth for me, but I am looking forward to 27 in a way I haven't experienced in a while, maybe ever before. Over the past couple of months I feel like I have emerged from a cocoon or vortex of constant transitions, changes, uncertainty, new experiences, and have reached a point where everything is stabilizing under me, weight has lifted off my shoulders, I am allowing myself to think about the future with excitement instead of anxiety and doubt. I am experiencing a new sense of confidence in myself that is empowering, liberating, and kind of scary at the same time.

For April, instead of setting "goals" I am going to approach this new month with one overarching theme that Oh My Handmade introduced: Shoots and Roots. I'm obsessed with goals (Ben is rolling his eyes right now) and strongly believe that goals and action plans are the drivers of success, so I'm not completely giving up on my medium- and long-term intentions, but for April I am going to pull the reigns on the madness and self-imposed pressure I've been operating under as I try to DO ALL THE THINGS, and direct my main focus on creating a solid foundation for the larger things I want to accomplish this year with my entrepreneurial adventures. Organization is something extremely important to my peace of mind, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm looking forward to "forcing" myself to step back, do some spring cleaning around the apartment and my mess of a file system, and make sure that everything is in order so that when it is time to grow, I am ready and can sustain it.

Hopefully this new focus will also let me reflect on my long-term objectives, narrow down what I really want to achieve, and will allow me to relax and enjoy life in the process as we slowly and gradually move into the new season.

I cannot WAIT to finally get some warmer days!