Friday, June 29, 2012

Fitness Friday: Food!

Sorry that this wasn't posted until Monday, but I couldn't resist waiting to add a few more days of food to round out the week. I'll admit that there were some missteps this week, but all in all, it was pretty darn good!

This week's fitness post is all about food. I know I've talked you through what I normally eat, but that isn't quite the same as seeing it all laid out and understanding how it comes together. I took pictures of everything I ate this week, both at home and on the go, and tried to show you how we use both leftovers and pre-cooked foods to help us get dinner on the table at night.

MONDAY

On Monday afternoons I grocery shop. During the day, we're eating the bottom of the barrel, since it's been a week since I went to the market and this is my number one most-likely-to-cheat day. This past week, I had a dentist appointment and because of the anesthesia, I couldn't eat until after lunch anyway. I had a reasonable sandwich (even though I shouldn't be eating those grains!) and that was pretty much it for the whole day. I'll be honest and tell you I would've cheated and had a biscuit for breakfast with Ella, but I wasn't allowed to chew yet!

Here is what a typical grocery trip looks like for us. We did buy a few toiletry items, some baby things and I got two tubes of lip gloss. I think our total for this week was in the neighborhood of $125, but we didn't need diapers.

MON - Meat MON - Produce MON - Dairy

Lean meats: two butterflied pork chops, two pounds of 7% fat/93% lean ground beef, nine large chicken breasts and a pound of shaved, oven-roasted turkey from the deli.

Produce: strawberries, fresh salsa, green leaf lettuce, lettuce shreds, red seedless grapes, jalapenos, red onion, vine ripened tomatoes, tri-color bell peppers, bananas and watermelon.

Dairy: although we limit our dairy intake, I did buy 2% milk for Sophie, TruMoo lowfat 1% chocolate milk for post-Insanity workouts, Weight Watchers low fat mexican blend cheese, swiss cheese slices and a block of extra sharp cheddar.

MON - Other MON - Snacks MON - Watermelon

I got 100 calorie packs of almonds for a snack on the go, almond butter (needs to be refrigerated), carb balance tortillas for the girls, flatout wheat wraps that are only 90 calories (when I need a grain in my life) and coconut milk. I've never tried the coconut milk before, but it's all natural, no additives or preservatives and I'm thinking about adding it to a banana smoothie this week. For the girls' snacks, I bought yogurt, raisins and applesauce. I mentioned before that I bought a watermelon, but after putting the groceries away, I chopped it up and filled two huge plastic containers full for breakfasts and quick snacks.

MON - Chicken1 MON - Chicken2

Even though it's a pain to do, after shopping I like to do some food prep for the week. I buy a pack of 8-9 chicken breasts and it costs about $10. A little over $1 per breast is an excellent price. I trimmed them of all visible fat and rinsed them well before cooking. I put Pam Olive Oil spray in the electric skillet and added 5 trimmed, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used Mrs. Dash's onion & herb mix and a fresh lime to season. That's all.

MON - Chicken4 MON - Chicken5

If you let the chicken cook until brown on each side, the seasoning and lime juice will caramelize and make a wonderful blackened chicken. After I squeeze the lime as best I can on the chicken, I place it cut side down on the skillet. This keeps the chicken from drying out and gives an excellent flavor. After all of the chicken is well cooked, I let it cool for a few minutes and chop into bite sized pieces. We put the chicken in a quart size ziplock bag to be used for salads, wraps, omelets, etc. throughout the week.

MON - Omelet

While I was taking care of food prep, Josh was cooking dinner. He had already fed the girls a quick meal before I got home (soup for one and lunchable for the other) because they were "starving" and inconsolable. I don't love doing this, but on grocery nights it's pretty much inevitable. This night, we had omelets and fruit for dinner. Mine was made with two eggs (cage free/free range, added Omega 3), a little lowfat cheese, red bell peppers and red onions. I think Josh added sliced turkey to his, but I'm not big on meat in my eggs! I had a handful of strawberries alongside mine and it was YUM. Josh makes a mean omelet!

TUESDAY

MON - Chicken3 TUE - Chicken Crock Pot

Remember when I said I bought eight chicken breasts, but I only cooked five on Monday? Well the other ones got reserved for Tuesday's dinner. Before work, I put the remaining chicken breasts (or added some out of the freezer from last week) in the crockpot and topped with one can of Rotel tomatoes (you could use fresh salsa or pico de gallo if you had it on-hand) and two tablespoons of taco seasoning. You could use a sleeve of taco seasoning if you buy it at the store. We make ours from scratch using a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com. You can google "homemade taco seasoning" and find all kinds of treasures depending on what spices you do and do not love.

MON - Lunch TUE - Snacks

For lunch, I made a sandwich on a flatout roll. I added a half a tablespoon of mayonnaise with olive oil, low fat swiss cheese, shredded lettuce, red bell peppers and a handful of the chicken we grilled on Monday. I wasn't in the mood for breakfast that morning (this is rare), but I ate a banana mid-morning, a protein bar before heading to the gym at 11:30, I had the strawberries with my sandwich at one o'clock and the almonds for snack around two o'clock.

Remember that chicken in the crockpot from earlier? This is what I did with it...

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Josh had his on carb-balance flour tortillas, but I decided to try the chicken mixture on a salad instead. I forgot to take a picture of what the chicken looked like after it cooked, but it is well roasted and it soaks up the seasonings and veggie juices. Most of the water/juice cooks off, but there is just enough to keep it moist and yummy, the chicken doesn't completely disintegrate so you can shred it if you like or use large chunks in whatever you're serving. On tacos, we usually garnish with cilantro, cheese and sour cream. For the salad, I roughly cut up a good sized romaine heart and some cilantro. I shredded the chicken and grated some sharp white cheddar. I mixed it all up and drizzled it with some of the broth in the crockpot. I don't normally use anything but lemon or lime juice on my salads and I debated whether or not to try the fresh salsa I picked up, but I'm glad I tried the chicken juices instead. It didn't alter the flavor of the salad at all, but kept it from being dry. Yuumy!

WEDNESDAY

 It's what's for beakfast... food post in this blog this Friday! Solitude at the gym! Yessss. Untitled

On Wednesday morning, I faithfully got up and began packing my lunch for work... just like the day before. I threw a big bowl of watermelon together as I walked out the door and ate it for breakfast on the way to work. It wasn't as sweet as I prefer, but it was fresh and good, and a nice change of pace from the starchy breakfasts we ate on vacation. Just like almost every day, I had a banana for snack around 10 o'clock and then ate my protein bar at 11 o'clock, right before I headed out to the gym. I was lucky because there wasn't a soul there and I got a nice quiet run in before the lunch crowd hit. I have to admit that I'm struggling with running a little these days. Before, it was because Insanity was sapping all of my energy and I was sore from the unfamiliar workouts. I pressed on and managed not to lose any of the progress I had made. Well, let me tell you that eliminating exercise from your life for two whole weeks just wrecks everything! I'm a little slower and can't run for the full 45 minutes I usually do. I'm still managing to squeak out 30 minutes, but it's hard and I'm trying not to be discouraged. After my run, I had a repeat of the salad from the night before. Greens, cilantro, cheese, shredded chicken and a little broth. I also ate a bag of dry roasted almonds (my new favorite thing!) with my lunch.

Chipotle & Sookie = winning combination :)

I have Bible study every Wednesday night and usually grab something on the go after I leave work. Occasionally, I'll get a salad from Jason's Deli, but my standard Wednesday night fare is Chipotle. This week, I had the steak salad with pico de gallo, a little cheese and NO dressing. It was great!

THURSDAY


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Thursday morning, I got up bright and early to fix myself a nutritious breakfast. I wasn't in the mood for an omelet, so I scrambled two eggs and ate fruit. It just so happens that I had time to sit down and eat while I read my daily devotion, which is a rare early morning treat. For lunch, I went with a work friend to a local bakery, Mix. They have great salads and sandwiches, but best of all, they are served with fresh assorted veggie chips. I have the blackened chicken sandwich, which comes with arugula and a fresh lemon spread. If I haven't had any bread for the week, sometimes I'll eat it, but I usually just eat the insides of my sandwich and throw the bread away. Sad stuff.

I didn't get to the gym that day, so I skipped my protein bar for the day and both my breakfast and lunch kept me so full that I didn't have a snack at all. Now, about dinner. Thursday was a pretty bad day, in general. I got a ticket on the way to work and it all went down hill from there. I hung out at my parents and swam with the girls after work and by the time we headed home it was almost 7:30 and everyone was starving. I caved and we had fast food for dinner. I'm sorry to disappoint you! I did opt for Subway over fried fare, but all that bread still ruined my great week. It happens.

FRIDAY


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Every Friday at work, we have breakfast catered and there is nothing healthy about it. I don't always eat it, but sometimes I opt to indulge and not feel guilty about it AT ALL, especially if I've done really well that week. Although I had eaten Subway the night before, in general I've been pretty good this week about eating, drinking water and exercise. I decided that a biscuit and a few slices of bacon wouldn't kill me. I grabbed a soda out of the machine, but it didn't taste good to me at all and I threw it away after a few sips. Lunch was excellent and I ate every little scrap. I had some errands to run, so I stopped into Izzo's Illegal Burrito at the Summit and got a steak salad... again with the pico and cheese. I know y'all are scratching your head because this is the third variation of a southwestern/mexican salad I've had this week, but it's actually my favorite thing to eat these days. If I'm not grabbing them to go, I'm making one at home. They only run about 350 calories and they're filling and don't contain any dressing or other bad-for-you condiments. I didn't really snack on Friday either, even though I carried my banana, protein bar, almonds and strawberries to work.

Friday night was kind of irritating. My plan all week was to cook a nice dinner and watch a movie with SD. His work week kind of threw things off and I decided to scrap dinner in favor of something simple. Then at nearly 8 o'clock, I realized that the pork needed to be cooked that day, so I carried on even though I was tired.

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I had two butterflied pork chops that I threw in the electric skillet with some olive oil spray and a fresh lime. I pretty much cooked it exactly as I did the grilled chicken breasts above and it was great! Yes, I know that corn is a grain, but I decided to eat it anyway. I had white shoepeg corn and a bowl of fresh strawberries. Even though I was cooking much later than anticipated, it was actually really yummy.

SATURDAY


Ummm, next?! I literally spent the entire day at the pool and nothing good can come of that. Josh brought us take out for lunch when he finished up with work, there was a fridge outside fully stocked with Dr. Pepper and then my mom cooked dinner for K's birthday. Let's just say that fried squash and roasted potatoes were involved.

SUNDAY


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On Sunday morning, it was just me and Sophie at home and I just knew I was going to get to sleep late! Instead, she was up before 6 o'clock and I had plenty of time to cook breakfast and read over my Sunday School lesson. I made a pot of coffee, warmed up the left-over pork chop and scrambled two eggs. It was delish. After church, Ella asked if we could go swim again (since she learned some new tricks on Saturday), so we ate a quick lunch and ran to the pool for the afternoon. I had a "lettuce roll" for lunch and I use that term loosely. It's really more of a lettuce taco. I spread a teaspoon of olive oil mayo on a large leaf of lettuce and topped it with shredded turkey, a sprinkle of lowfat cheese and about a 1/4 cup of yellow bell peppers. I just fold it in half and eat it like a taco and MAN, it was good. Beside it was apple / banana / mayo salad. I know what you're thinking... gross. Let me assure you that it isn't so. I chopped up one banana and a smallish Granny Smith Apple. Add to that a little less than a teaspoon of olive oil mayo and 3 crushed nuts of your choice - I threw three whole almonds in the food processor and ground them up. Stir everything together and eat it while it's cool. The fruit juices completely change the flavor of the mayonnaise and this is one yummy, healthy summer salad.

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Sunday night we had a fellowship at church for Independence Day and the fare wasn't too health-food friendly. I indulged AGAIN and had a burger and some chips & dip. Seriously. I cannot tell you the last time I had french onion dip and it was way better than I remember. Hopefully the scales won't throw that in my face on Monday morning!

MONDAY


Monday had a pretty exciting start because I had to make some very important reservations at 6 o'clock in the morning. I was up early and anxious and then giddy and I never really felt like eating breakfast. By the time I thought about snack it was time for lunch, so I ran across the street in the rain for a quick salad.

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I took the picture before I dug in because I wanted you to see how pretty it all was! Unfortunately, the pumpkin bread had to go in the trash and those croutons didn't get consumed either. Again with the mourning for food in the trash! Either way, the salad was yummy and despite the fishy looking peel, that insanely large banana was just right. Now here I am making a grocery list and thinking about starting the whole thing all over again.

I think it's obvious that if you are looking for pure paleo, you aren't going to find it over here. It's not that I'm not that disciplined, I'm just not willing to say goodbye forever to a few of my favorite foods. For me, it's all about balance. Even though I had a small amount of grains almost every day this week, to have gone from the girl eating bread at every meal, three meals a day, to my current diet is a HUGE step. I was hoping that having you "watch" me eat would have a better influence, but sometimes you just have to splurge.

What are you eating this week? I'd love for you to share in the comments section!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vacation, Part 1

I took in the neighborhood of 250 photographs while we were on vacation and I uploaded about 75 of those. Since it would be a bit gratuitous to try and include all of those in a single post, I'll share them over the next several days. Each day pretty much looks exactly the same, but they are all too cute not to share!

We left for the beach on Saturday evening after Ella's dance recital. We drove to Prattville, ate a quick bite at Chick-fil-A for dinner and put on our pajamas in the bathroom. Ella finally went to sleep between Montgomery and Greenville and slept the rest of the way down. We stopped in Bay Minette for gas and a potty break and were in Gulf Shores before midnight. Since we couldn't pick up our RV until Monday morning, we crashed with my parents in their pop-up on Saturday night. Even though we were hoping it didn't happen, we woke up to thunder, cloudy skies and nasty rain. I didn't take a single picture on Sunday (except a few instagram shots with my phone). We sat in the camper and played with the girls, we took a nap and read books and finally at two o'clock we were done. We showered and got dressed and drove our over-loaded car on a Krispy Kreme run. 24 donuts later we were en route to the Shrimp Basket in GS where we ate the best meal I had encountered in weeks! 

On Monday morning, Josh and my dad headed back out on a thirty minute drive to pick up our camper. By lunch, we were parked in a spot pretty close to the rest of our family and I was busy making camp. I managed to get the inflatable pool blown up and Josh let the girls play outside while I made our grocery run and grabbed Arby's for lunch. Seriously good. It was the first time I'd had Arby's THIS YEAR. I was able to lay in the lounge chair for a few hours while the girls napped and got started on my first book of the vacation. Camp was organized, my car was finally cleaned out and two girls & their daddy napped away in the air conditioned trailer. Finally, after two plus days, we headed out to do something vacation-y... the pool and splash pad!

MON - Family lounging
the family lounging spot * right where we could keep an eye on the splash pad
MON - Sophie Splashes
sophie spent most of her time running in circles
MON - The Hubs MON - Sophie at the Fence
sweet daddy keeping watch * sophie peeking out at everyone
MON - K & Kristin
me & K * my hair will be in a topknot in every.single.picture from vacation
MON - Ella poses MON - Soph, Ella & Molly
sophie, ella & molly posing for pics, as usual
MON - Ella, Jared & Soph
thankfully, Jared was there to get silly
MON - Soph & Gmom
and Granmom, of course!


On Tuesday, the weather was finally beautiful and we headed to the beach. I think we might have done the pool in the morning and beach in the afternoon, but whatever we did was perfect.

TUE - Beach at Last
finally in my happy place
TUE - Mommy Watches TUE - Sophie Water 2
watching the girls play in the water with K
TUE - SD & Soph in the Sand 1
building sand castles with our sweet daddy
TUE - SD & Soph in the Sand 2 TUE - Sophie
sophie still wasn't sure what she thought about the sand...
TUE - Don't Bury Me!
but she KNEW she didn't want to get buried!
TUE - Molly & Ella Buried
ella & molly didn't seem to mind


On Wednesday, Poppy and some of the other guys took the big girls to see the Battleship in Mobile, while Josh & Cory headed to the golf course. That left me and this little girl with no plans on the horizon.

WED - Mom & Sophie
we opted for a nice long day at the beach with K & Jared
WED - Sophie Lunches
we even managed to eat our lunch in the sand without incident (see my DP?)
WED- Sophie in the Sand
there was lots of good time spent in the sand * and LOTS of water hauling
WED - Sophie Digs WED - Ella & Molly
when the big girls got back, they hitched a ride to the beach with Josh
WED - Daddy's Here WED - Sophie Buried 1
and Sophie decided maybe getting buried wasn't so bad
WED - Sophie Buried 2
hmmmm...
WED - Sophie Digs Out
on second thought.