Archives for September 2013

Football & Friday Night Workout

My weekend started early, Primetime style. ūüôā ¬†The Rams were playing the 49ers during Thursday Night Football and this game would mark my first real Sunday tailgating experience in St. Louis. ¬†Oh how different my game days have become. ¬†Instead of going carb-less for a week and getting up at the crack of dawn smelling like spray tan, I can now show up 2 hours before the game, eat my face off and even wear (gasp!) a hat if I wanted to. ¬†Let’s be honest, the hat part probably won’t happen unless it’s raining. ¬†I can’t go a day without a good hair tease. ¬†Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.

Apparently the tailgate food was actually relatively healthy, compared to most game days. ¬†We had two kinds of shrimp, one bacon wrapped and made by my mom (yum!), bratwurst, rice, Chinese ramen salad and my personal favorite, indoor s’mores (also made by my mom, her stuff is always a hit). ¬†I chose to limit myself to the bacon wrapped shrimp, Chinese ramen salad and indoor s’mores, along with some of the random pretzel mixes and dips that are inevitable. Recipes for the ramen salad and indoor s’mores are at the end of the post!

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The game itself was fun, until the Rams lost. ¬†It just wasn’t our day. ūüôĀ ¬†I still enjoyed watching the cheerleaders every move though, surprise, surprise.

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The players’ tunnel was always my favorite part of the game. ¬†Nothing beats running out of the tunnel with the lights out and pyrotechnics going off behind you. ¬†I may or may not have cried as I watched the cheerleaders run out on Thursday night because I know the exhilaration and excitement they are feeling in that moment and it’s something you never forget. ¬†It’s fine, I’ll get over it. ¬†One day…

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I will say, it was fun sitting in the stands with my parents and Matt and actually being able to enjoy a game with them instead of waving at them from afar!

Needless to say, Friday was a rough one. ¬†When you are used to going to bed like a grandma around 9:00 every night, midnight makes it a little hard to function the next day. ¬†Matt and I reaallllyy were not in the mood to workout after work. ¬†It was very tempting to park our butts on the couch and call it a night, but we forced ourselves to suck it up and go to the gym like we planned. ¬†My workout wasn’t super high intensity but it was upper body focused and my arms were shaking by the end, so I think I did my job. ¬†In the end, we were glad we went. ¬†After all, it certainly didn’t kill us. ūüôā ¬†The workout alone takes 20 minutes and you don’t need any equipment, so it’s easily done at home. ¬†If you don’t have access to a cardio machine, you can warm up with 5-10 minutes of jumping jacks, high knees, stairs, etc.

Upper Body Tabata Workout

(Shout out to Heather for the Side Plank Toe Touch move! ¬†Thanks for the inspiration, it’s a good one!) ūüôā

Exercise Links/Demonstrations for those that may not be familiar:

V-Ups

Plank Push-Ups

Plank Jumping Jacks

Side Plank Toe Touch

Start in side plank position with your top arm straight up.  Keeping your hips up, bring your top foot forward and hand down to touch your toe.  Repeat.

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Oh hey there, Big Foot.

Mountain Climbers

Plank Reaches

Start in plank position.  Keep your hips straight and touch each hand out in front of you, repeating until time is up.

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Tri-cep Push-Ups

Just like a normal push-up, but start with your hands closer to your body, right next to your shoulders. ¬†When you lower your body, make sure your elbows point directly back. ¬†Disclaimer: I did these on my knees during the workout, I barely made it through the one in the demo picture. ūüôā

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Reverse Crunches

Walking Push-Ups

Start standing up, bend over at the waist, place your hands on the ground and walk them forward until you are in straight arm push-up position.  Do a push-up, then walk your hands back towards your body until you are back in standing position, keeping your legs only slightly bent when walking out/back.  That is 1 rep.

Superman Planks

Lower Russian Twists

Start on your back with legs at a 90 degree angle, arms out by your sides.  Bring your knees to one side, only going as far as you can while keeping the opposite shoulder blade and back touching the floor.  Return to starting position and repeat.

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Chinese Ramen Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. shredded green cabbage
  • 1 bunch chopped green onion (or less, depending on your taste)
  • 2 pkg. Ramen noodles (Oriental flavor)
  • 3/4-1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine

Directions:

Melt butter in a small skillet and toss almonds until toasted.  Break up Ramen noodles and combine with cabbage, almonds and green onion.  Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together.  Pour mixture over dry ingredients and toss until fully coated.  Serve and enjoy!

Indoor S’mores

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(File this one under a Cheat Day!)

Ingredients:

  • 8 c Golden Grahams cereal
  • 5 c mini marshmallows, plus 1 extra cup
  • 1 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c light corn syrup
  • 5 tbsp margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

In a large bowl, measure cereal. ¬†Butter/spray a 13×9 inch pan. ¬†In a large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups of marshmallows, chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter/margarine for about 2-3min, stirring every minute, until melted. ¬†Stir in vanilla.

Pour the mixture over cereal and toss until completely coated.  Stir in the 1 extra cup of marshmallows.

Press mixture in the pan.  Let stand uncovered for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for a firmer bar. Cut and enjoy!

 

Have a great weekend!

 

WIAW #2: Almond Milk Latte, Happy Hour & Everything In Between

It’s that time again! ¬†WIAW: numero dos. ¬†Thanks again to Jenn for hosting!

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And by Wednesday, I mean Monday. ūüôā

Breakfast:

I was in a hurry to get out the door on Monday, so just grabbed some trail mix and a Homemade Protein Bar to save time.  Ok, so really I just wanted to have enough time to stop and get a latte on the way to work.  Priorities, people.

IMG_20130923_074626Meet my Monday saving grace: Sugar-free Caramel latte with Almond Milk. ¬†Doesn’t it kind of look like the heavens are shining down on my coffee in this picture? ¬†I’m now a regular at Kaldi’s when it’s in close proximity to me, solely for the fact that they have unsweetened almond milk AND they put two shots of espresso in the tall latte. ¬†In the words of Carrie, hello lovahhh.

Mid Morning Snack:

It goes without saying that I was hungry a couple hours later so I grabbed the apple that I brought with me to work and dipped it in this Trader Joe’s Unsalted Peanut Butter. ¬†I’m usually not a crunchy peanut butter fan, but I like the extra crunch with the apple. ¬†I also was really skeptical about this unsalted business. ¬†I wouldn’t suggest eating it straight from the jar with a spoon, but when paired with something sweet, like an apple, or on a rice cake or celery, I can’t really tell the difference.

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Lunch:

For lunch, I had leftovers from lunch on SundayРbuffalo chicken salad.  Delish.  I also had about a cup or two of grapes.

DSC01249Mid Afternoon Snack:

Non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt topped with chopped walnuts and chia seeds. ¬†I swear, it never gets old. ūüôā

IMAG0116Dinner:

Now THIS was the highlight of my day! ¬†I had plans with some of my best friends for happy hour at one of our favorite new spots, EdgeWild Winery. ¬†It’s a great atmosphere and with half off wine, wine slushies, and all appetizers…we’re hooked. ¬†I will preface this by saying that when we go to happy hour, we all know we are going to splurge. ¬†I’m pretty sure it’s required for any and all girls’ nights, no?

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IMAG0118Margherita Flatbread, Steak Bruschetta, Olive/Artichoke/Goat Cheese Flatbread and Goat Cheese dip were our apps of choice. ¬†Yes, it was as good as it looks. ¬†Annnd now I want to go back…

 

We’re halfway there! ¬†Have a great rest of the week. ūüôā

 

Weekend Recap: Sweet Potato Hash & Buffalo Chicken Salad + Workout

Happy Monday!

This weekend was relatively simple, yet amazing at the same time. ¬†Here’s a little recap:

Friday night: Matt went to the St. Louis Blues game, so I spent the evening with my DVR (a little Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team and Real Housewives, don’t be jealous) and went to bed at 10pm. ¬†Glorious.

Saturday: Got up early to go shopping with my mom at the new outlet mall in St. Louis. ¬†Also glorious. ¬†Then spent the evening with one of my best friends, Dana, and her two kids because her husband was out of town. ¬†Glorious in a change-5-diapers-in-one-night kind of way. ¬†Her, not me. ūüôā ¬†But really, it was great to hang with her and enjoy a big girl drink with her again- finally! ¬†Plus, I’m utterly obsessed with her kids, in a totally non-creepy way.

Sunday: Matt and I went to the gym and the grocery store; typical Sunday afternoon.  Here is the workout I completed, after a 20min warmup:

Full Body Workout

I spent the rest of the afternoon making Peanut Butter Granola and Homemade Protein Bars for the week and got a little relaxing time in too.  For lunch, I made Buffalo Chicken Salad and I ate mine in a lettuce wrap.  I loved the twist on the typical chicken salad.  The recipe is at the end of this post!

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We had to eat lunch outside because the weather was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. I’m beyond excited for fall. ¬†I just hope Missouri actually let’s us enjoy the season, instead of skipping straight to winter. It’s kind of our M.O.

For dinner, we made Sweet Potato Hash and enjoyed it on our patio (again) with a tall glass of wine. ¬†My kind of Sunday night. ūüôā ¬†Now we also have enough food for dinner the next few nights. ¬†Even better.

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I found the recipe here, at Carrots and Cake, one of the many blogs I follow. ¬†I’ve made it in the past and Matt’s a big fan. ¬†Now that the weather is changing, it felt like a good time to bust it out again. ¬†Feels like comfort food. ūüôā ¬†I followed the recipe exactly, but this time I eliminated the cinnamon. ¬†We ended up liking it a little bit better that way, but it depends on your taste!

Turkey & Spinach Sweet Potato Hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-4 handfuls of fresh spinach

Directions:

  1. Dice sweet potato into small pieces and then add them to a large sauté pan with olive oil, garlic powder, and cinnamon. Coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. While sweet potatoes are cooking, dice onion.
  2. Add ground turkey to the pan with the sweet potatoes. Break it up with a fork as it cooks. Add onion.
  3. Continue to cook sweet potatoes, turkey, and onion until turkey is no longer pink and sweet potatoes begin to soften.
  4. When sweet potatoes are soft, add spinach and cook until it is wilted.
  5. Remove pan from heat and serve immediately.

 

Buffalo Chicken Salad 

(I found the original recipe  for the here.)

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, buffalo sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir in chicken, celery, cilantro, and blue cheese. Refrigerate until serving or up to 5 days in the fridge.

Yield: ~ 4 cups chicken salad (~8 servings, 1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 100 calories; 2.5 g. fat; 34 mg. cholesterol; 381 mg. sodium; 1.6 g. carbohydrate; 0.25g. fiber; 16.3 g. protein; 1.0 g. sugar

 

Things I’m Loving Lately

I love it when other bloggers post some of their favorite things. ¬†Sometimes I get a new “trend alert”, recipe or just all around random idea from reading what other people are in love with at the moment, so I decided to do a little “Things I’m Loving” post today! ¬†It’s nice to take a break from the world of low-carb, butt-kicking workout blogging every once in a while. ¬†Plus it’s Friday, let’s relax and live a little. ūüôā

Things I’m loving lately:

1. The return of FOOTBALL! 

My first year cheering on the other side of the turf…hard pill to swallow. ¬†Although all of my Rams football viewing has been with tears in my eyes so far this season, I’m still so excited it’s back! ¬†Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.

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Of course, I can’t forget about my alma mater- MIZZOU football is back too! ¬†Oh, what I would give to be back on that field, under the lights, dancing to the fight song for the millionth time…in the first quarter. Those were the days. ¬†There’s just something special about cheering at a college football game that words can’t describe.

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2. Skinny Pop

I love this as a low fat, low calorie option when I’m craving something salty and crunchy. Just a handful (or 3) usually does the trick, minus the guilt!

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3. Essie Fall Nail Polish

I’m loving the return of the darker fall nail polish colors, especially Essie’s After School Boy Blazer and Vested Interest. ¬†Can’t wait to put these babies to good use.

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4. Instagram

I know, I know. ¬†I’m like ancient when it comes to this area of social media. ¬†I recently jumped on the Instagram bandwagon (and Twitter, but that one is still a bit of a mystery to me) and I love it! ¬†Although, I have to say, I’m curious how in the heck any and all celebrities manage to take breathtaking selfies with immaculate lighting 100% of the time. ¬†Really?! ¬†Maybe the sun shines brighter on celebs. ¬†Shines bright like a diamond.

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5. Stairmaster

Thank goodness for the Stairmaster. ¬†Since I’ve been avoiding running like the plague, at least I can count on this machine to leave me dripping in sweat.

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6. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Enough said.

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7. Hot Yoga

Again, since running can’t happen right now, hot yoga has been the perfect way to stretch out my dang hamstrings and still get my sweat on. ¬†Seriously, I had no idea it was possible to sweat that much.

(Your welcome, Kate and Kelly, for posting this oh-so-flattering picture of us….again)

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That’s it for today. Happy Friday! ¬†I hope you have a great weekend!

WIAW: What I Ate Wednesday #1

After seeing many other What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) posts around the blogging world, I decided to finally take part myself! ¬†I love reading what other healthy living bloggers eat on a “normal” day and even though I do post recipes and some of my daily go-to meals, I haven’t posted an entire day’s worth of meals yet. ¬†No better time like the present, right? ¬†So, let’s get to it!

WIAWbutton(Thanks for hosting, Jenn!) ūüôā

Tuesday’s Menu:

Breakfast

I started out my morning with one of Matt’s and my favorites lately, non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh bluberries, chopped walnuts, and a little homemade Peanut Butter Granola. ¬†I threw in a few chia seeds this time too, for good measure.

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Oh, and I can’t forget my coffee, complete with Stevia and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. ¬†Anyone else love the fact that Target now has K-cups? ¬†I went with the Caramel Machiatto flavor this time but I also spotted Pumpkin Spice, which you better believe will make it into my little red basket next time. ūüôā

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Mid-Morning Snack

Fast forward a couple hours and per usual, I’m hungry again. ¬†For a snack, I paired an apple with one of my new favs, Dark Chocolate Almond butter. ¬†This stuff is no joke.

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Lunch

For lunch, I had had Kale Salad with grilled chicken and a few slivered almonds on top.  To top it off, I grabbed a small handful of trail mix and of course, no meal would be complete without a little dark chocolate.

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Gotta love Dove. ūüôā

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Mid-Afternoon Snack

I really take this 5-6 small meals a day seriously, you guys. ūüôā ¬†A few hours after lunch, I grabbed a Homemade Protein Bar to hold me over until dinner. ¬†This time, I used vanilla protein powder and added chocolate chips and dried cranberries. ¬†Gooey and delicious, just the way I like them!

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Dinner

While I was cooking dinner, I snacked on a couple (seriously, just a couple!) of these new lentil chips I found at the store, with spicy hummus.  The chips were an interesting texture, but pretty good!

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When I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday, I spotted a bag of shredded brussel sprouts. ¬†I always hear about these tasty recipes people come up with for brussel sprouts, but I just haven’t been able to jump on the bandwagon. ¬†I thought maybe they would be better in the shredded form?? ¬†I sauteed them with broccoli, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a little Italian seasoning. ¬†I can’t say I’m convinced, but they weren’t too bad, especially after I added a little goat cheese on top. ¬†Goat cheese fixes everything, let’s be real. ¬†I paired the veggies with grilled chicken and a few dark chocolate acai berries for dessert (yum!).

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 Welp, there you have it!  Happy Hump Day!

50-5 Abs Countdown & Healthy Blogger “Oops”!

How’s this for a little Monday motivation?

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I know I’m a little behind the times, but I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks now, ever since Ashton Kutcher’s much talked about speech at the Teen Choice Awards. ¬†Such a great message. ¬†I think sometimes it’s easy to focus on how we look on the outside and we lose sight of what is really important. Anytime you doubt yourself just remember, you are amazing and everything else “is crap”. ūüôā

On the agenda today was a trip to Trader Joe’s for a few essentials. ¬†One of those essentials included Greek yogurt. ¬†I was in a bit of a hurry so I just grabbed the only flavored container I saw and went on my merry little way. ¬†Then when I got home, I realized that I committed a big healthy living blogger/fitness junkie FAIL. ¬†I didn’t check the nutrition facts (what?!) and what I came home with was a liiiittle higher in the calories and fat content than what I’m used to. ¬†And by a little, I mean a lot. ¬†I know what you are thinking, “C’mon Christa, this isn’t your first rodeo!”. One cup of this stuff contains 290 calories and 17 grams of fat! ¬†A little too rich for my blood…lesson learned. ¬†It’s also a reminder that yogurt cups and parfaits at most restaurants and fast food places can be a little deceiving, especially when you add in high calorie granola, nuts, etc. ¬†I love myself some TJ’s, but note to self: leave this one on the shelf next time.

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I’m coming to you this Monday with another all-out-all-abs workout. ¬†All abs, all the time. ūüôā ¬†I always incorporate at least a few ab exercises throughout my circuit workouts, but sometimes it feels good to just focus and burn ’em out.

50-5 Abs Countdown

 

Have fun with this one!