A perfect Saturday morning!

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My Saturday started off by “sleeping in” (yes, I consider 7:03 sleeping in now…), putting on my running shoes, and setting out for a leisurely Saturday morning run. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so I decided to go sans-iPod which ended being an awesome choice! Four miles = done before 8 a.m.!

Running June

 

I showered, whipped up some apple pie pancakes, and then headed out with my friend Leslie for a morning of food shopping! We started off at Whole Foods and then made our way to a local Farmer’s Market, which I was really excited for but it ended up being a big fail in the produce world. (Everything ended up being super expensive — no good!) We finished with a trip to Trader Joe’s where I stocked up on a lot of my typical favorites.

I got home around 12:30, made a quick lunch, and then did some major food prep for the rest of the day — and I have some exciting new recipes to share with you later next week! However, first I want to share a recipe that I’ve been holding on to for a while, and it is a good one…

Vegetable Crab Soup…and as good as it is, it’s quite difficult to photograph well!

Vegetable crab soup

 

Remember when I did some major food prep and promised you the recipe for vegetable crab soup? Well I’m making good on that promise!


Healthy vegetable crab soup
Serves 8

  • 1 qt. tomato juice
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can cream of mushroom (OR 1 cup chopped mushrooms + 2 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt)
  • 1 large bag soup vegetables
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Old Bay to taste
  • 1 can crab (I used Phillips)
  • 1 8 oz. package flaked crab
  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Enjoy! (Alternatively, you can combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook on stove until heated through.)

I love this recipe because it’s simple, packed with veggies, and makes a ton! I actually froze half of it to enjoy at another time.

How to level up this recipe:

  • Add additional vegetables (I often throw in a bag and a half of vegetables instead of just a single bag.)
  • This can pack a lot of sodium though, so use as many no salt added or reduced sodium ingredients as possible.

How to level down this recipe:

  • If you don’t like certain soup vegetables, feel free to add in whatever vegetables you do like.

 

 

Food prep Sunday!

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How’s your day going? After a pretty busy weekend, I finally had a chance to relax and get some stuff done around the house, including some serious food prep! But first, let’s do a quick weekend recap…

After work on Friday, I headed home and started cooking since Andy’s mom and aunt were heading down for the weekend. I made some turkey burgers with homemade chipotle dressing, roasted asparagus, and fresh strawberries. It was a win all around! We ended the night by making some homemade almond pecan cashew clusters that were a-mazing. Be on the lookout for a step-by-step recipe later this week!

Almond cashew pecan nut clusters

 

Saturday morning, I woke up and had one thing on my mind: running!

I promised myself that I’d take a whole week off after my marathon to rest and recuperate before diving back into any type of activity. Although I walked a few times last week, I did nothing else — no running, no gym, no nothing! I figured I made it six days, so that was good enough for a full rest period! I went out yesterday morning for an “easy” three mile run. I started out at a comfortable pace (8:24 first mile) and ended around 7:56. It felt awesome!

I was back before 8 a.m. so I whipped up some breakfast (egg whites, homemade blueberry banana bread, and strawberries for me), and then took Andy’s mom and aunt up to one of my favorite walking spots. We did two more miles together before heading to our local natural foods store to pick up some stuff.

Walk photo

 

After a quick shower, we went back out for lunch with Andy’s mom, aunt, and other family who joined us. Since it was Mother’s Day Weekend and we figured most restaurants would be super busy, we just hit up our local TGI Friday’s and I decided to have the same thing I had last time I was there — the Sedona Black Bean burger, which is amazing! I need to find a recipe for that…

TGI Fridays

 

The rest of the afternoon flew by, as I was at church all evening for our service and then a small group leader training.

Today, it was back to church for the morning to help out with a few things…I finally left around 4 p.m. and was able to spend the rest of the night cleaning and doing some major food prep for the week. Check it out!

Food Prep_5.13.13

 

Meals for the week:

  • Avocado Black Bean Burgers with roasted sweet potatoes
  • Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad (I followed this recipe for Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad but used TJ’s balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead of Caesar.)
  • Banana almond butter bars (I cut them individually and froze most of them for easy, pre-workout snacks.)
  • Yogurt “toppings” –> I put together some puffed wheat, sliced almonds, and raw oats to use on Greek yogurt throughout the week

For more food prep ideas, check out the Lean Green Bean Sunday Food Prep Inspiration!

Oh, and happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and moms-to-be out there!

Meal prep + a summertime salad!

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Hello, hello!

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post and encouraged me to keep at it! Marathon training has been tough, but I am feeling more focused than ever after Friday’s setback, and I appreciate all your love and support — you guys rock!

After yesterday’s post, I spent the morning doing some major food prep for the week! In addition to meal planning, I whipped up some avocado black bean burgers, shredded BBQ chicken for BBQ Chicken Quinoa, homemade chipotle dressing (recipe below), and some peanut butter cookie brownie bars. (Unfortunately, I tried to make them in to mini muffins and they turned out really hard, like to the point that they were inedible. Fail.) This morning, I cooked a batch of my honey almond flax pancakes to enjoy for breakfasts. Bring on this week!

Here’s all my packaged food for the week…

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And the veggie burgers I packed up with a side of chipotle dressing…2013-04-07 08.33.02

After doing some food prep of my own, I also made dinner to bring to my friend Courtney who just had her sweet baby girl less than two weeks ago! In addition to some BBQ chicken sandwiches, I decided to whip up an avocado cobb salad with a homemade chipotle dressing, which were two winners! Last night, I had some avocado cobb salad topped with my BBQ chicken and chipotle dressing for a complete meal. This salad was really good…and reminded me of summer time! (Yay for 70 degree projected temperatures for this week!)

Avocado Cobb Salad

Avocado Cobb Salad
Serves 4-6

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (I also used some spinach since I had that on hand) 
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. corn, roasted
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  1. Pour chopped romaine lettuce in bowl.
  2. Top with remaining ingredients. Serve with creamy chipotle dressing.

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Creamy Chipotle Dressing

  • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%.)
  • 1/3 c. chipotle fire-roasted salsa
  1. Combine above ingredients. Chill and serve. 

How to level up this recipe:

  • You could easily add some tomatoes for additional veggies or some black beans for extra protein. 

How to level down this recipe:

  • Serve with a regular ranch dressing instead of the creamy chipotle.
  • Top with some crushed tortilla chips (try blue corn chips or quinoa/lentil chips for added flavor).

What’s been fueling my workouts all week

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Happy Friday!

I don’t typically post twice in one day, but I have lots to share with you over the coming days! First up, I want to share this recipe for Chicken and Bean Crockpot “Chili” — a super easy and delicious crockpot recipe that I’ve been enjoying all week. (I call it “chili” because I’m not quite sure what else to call it, but trust me — you eat this thing with a fork, not a spoon!)

I threw this in the crockpot on Monday morning and was ready to enjoy it for dinner that evening. One of my favorite things about this meal is it’s versatility! I served it over quinoa one day, brown rice another, quinoa/lentil chips another, and a sweet potato another. It never got boring because I was always adding a different texture/flavor to accompany it.

 

Chicken & Bean Crockpot %22Chili%22

Chicken & Bean Crockpot “Chili”
Serves 8-10
Adapted from Skinny Taste

  • One red onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz. can black beans (drained)
  • 1 16-oz. can kidney beans (drained)
  • 10 oz. package frozen corn
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes (I used one regular diced tomatoes; another one of garlic roasted)
  • 1 small can of green chilies (Or just purchased diced tomatoes with the chilies if you prefer)
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • Optional seasonings: Siriacha, Pepper, Paprika, Salt
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
  • Cilantro for topping (optional)
  1. Spray your slow cooker with some non-stick spray. Combine onions, beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, and seasonings. Place chicken on top and cover.
  2. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6.
  3. About 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken, shred, and return to slow cooker and mix well.
  4. Serve over your choice of quinoa, brown rice, steamed sweet potato, or tortilla cheese, top with fresh cilantro (and cheese if desired), and enjoy!

How to level up this recipe: 

  • I think chopped peppers would be a great addition to this recipe and an easy way to pump up your veggie count.
  • Serve over a bed of romaine lettuce (as I did with my quinoa and brown rice).

How to level down this recipe:

  • For added flavor, top with shredded cheese and/or sour cream (or plain greek yogurt if you can)!
  • If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, you could easily serve this over baked russet potatoes as well.

And the best part was my friend Leslie introduced me to this Freakin’ Fresh Salsa to top it with, and oh. my. goodness. This stuff is seriously amazing…

Freakin Fresh Salsa

 

The company is actually based right here in Delaware and sells their product at a few local stores including Whole Foods. This stuff is seriously…freakin’ fresh. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Look at how thick this stuff is…

Freakin' Fresh Salsa 1Andddd…it’s made with all natural ingredients (tomatoes, onions, lime juice, cilantro…nothing you can’t pronounce), and absolutely delicious. If you’re in the Delaware area, be sure to check out where they sell it and pick some up for yourself!

Please note: I was not compensated for this post in any way…I just loved this stuff and wanted to share! 

I’ll be back later this weekend with a review of my 18 mile training run I did yesterday, my first product review of NuGo Nutrition bars, and more! Enjoy your Easter weekend, everyone!

 

Looking forward to lunchtime

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Turkey and salad

If your lunchtime salad looked like that, wouldn’t you be pretty excited too?

I’ll divulge what’s in the mix in a second, but let’s back up a bit. We haven’t talked about workouts at all this week, and they definitely deserve a mention as I head into peak marathon training season! After an unexpected rest day on Monday, I knew I needed to be ready to hit the gym Tuesday morning. I had a six-mile speed session on the agenda for the day, but knew before I even got on the treadmill that it was going to be a rough workout. It was.

I struggled through a five mile speed workout…I hit the “Stop” button not once but TWICE during the workout, which I absolutely hate. Restarting the treadmill makes me feel like I’ve made no progress at all. Anyone else? After finish hitting that coveted 5.0 mark, I finished off the morning with a 10-minute lower ab circuit workout. Rough but I made it!

Yesterday morning was much better! I jumped on the elliptical for 20 minutes and then completed three rounds of this plyometrics/leg circuit…

  • 30 squats with exercise ball 
  • 15 flying lunges
  • 30 sec. wall sit
  • 30 step-ups
  • 30 box jumps
  • 30 sec. high knees
  • 15 lunges to front kick (both legs)

In between each circuit, I completed a two-minute plank workout that looked like this: (I did each exercise for 20 sec.)

  • Plank jacks
  • Reptile jacks
  • Straight arm plank
  • Elbow plank
  • Up-downs
  • Knee to elbow (alternating legs)

After I had finished three rounds of the above circuits, I hopped on the treadmill for ten minutes of incline walking/jogging. I set the incline at 10 and alternated speeds between 4.0 (fast walking) and 5.0 (jogging). Bam! I hit a lot of different machines, got in a lot of different exercises, and really enjoyed my time away from straight running!

This morning, it was back to the gym for a run. I’m increasing my mid-week mileage, so I had seven miles on the agenda today, which looked like this…

  • Miles 0-2: 7.0
  • Mile 2-3: 7.1
  • Mile 3-4: 7.2
  • Miles 4-6: 7.3
  • Mile 6-7: 7.0

I finished in about 58:30, which isn’t bad for a seven miler. (Just over 8:30/mile) It felt pretty easy overall and nothing like Tuesday’s five miler. Crazy how that can happen!

Okay, did you skip all that just so you could get to the goods about that amazing salad? I don’t blame you. Here’s what was in the mix:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Shredded red cabbage (I picked this up on a whim at the store the other day, and I really enjoyed it! It added some good crunch and didn’t alter the flavor much.)
  • Chopped red onion
  • Yellow pepper
  • Cucumbers
  • Deli turkey
  • Sliced almonds (I had sunflower seeds yesterday which were also good!)

I topped it off with some Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette and crushed two crisp & light Wasa crisps over top. (I love how they’re like 25 calories each!) Delicious!

Did you look forward to your lunchtime today? What did you enjoy?

A no-hassle, homemade, healthy dressing!

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Good morning, everyone! After a great weekend, I challenged myself to finish some leftovers (not hard when they’re this delicious!)…

Salad + Pizza

…and try something new for dinner last night. The result? Healthy, homemade Dijon dressing!

Healthy Homemade Dijon Dressing

Healthy homemade Dijon dressing
Makes enough for two salads

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Dash of pepper
  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Mix well.
  2. Serve over a fresh salad or store in fridge for up to four days. Enjoy!

How to “level up” this recipe

  • I thought all of the flavors were fantastic! I wouldn’t change a thing on this one. 

How to “level down” this recipe

  • For a creamier dressing, add 1 tbsp. of plain Greek yogurt (or fat-free mayo if desired). 

No more Pinterest hoarding: Experimenting with Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

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After a weekend full of good eats, I couldn’t let my Sunday dinner be a let-down. Oftentimes, I’ll eat some leftovers or something that requires minimal effort on a lazy Sunday evening. But, since I had some extra time to make an actual dinner, I decided stop being a Pinterest hoarder and actually make something I’ve pinned far too many times — black bean quinoa burgers.

They weren’t quick, but this recipe made six burgers — perfect for lunches all week long! I enjoyed mine over top a bed of spinach with some salsa and green beans on the side. Yum!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

  • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c. white onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 egg (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine black beans, cilantro, onion, and spices. Mash black beans with a fork until it begins to form a black “paste.” 
  3. Mix in your cooked quinoa and continue to mash together. If desired, add 1 egg to mixture. (I didn’t do this, but I would highly recommend it to help keep your patties together.)
  4. Form small patties from the quinoa/black bean mixture. Place in a frying pan coated with cooking spray, and cook about one minute on each side until lightly browned. Flip once. (Be sure your frying pan is well coated with oil, or your patties will stick.)
  5. Remove patties from stovetop and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

How to level up this recipe:

  • Add some more vegetables, such as chopped yellow pepper to the mix. 
  • For more flavor, cook your quinoa with vegetable broth instead of water. (If you do this, you may want to remove the 1 tsp. salt.)

How to level down this recipe:

  • Feel free to adjust this to your taste! You can easily substitute garbanzo beans for black if you prefer and take out the cilantro if you’re not a fan.