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Healthy, Stuffed Peppers *Recipe*

It has been snowing nonstop here. I guess I can’t complain much..we do live in Colorado. This winter has been so warm so we’ve been spoiled (sorry East coast).

The snow absolutely makes me want to make comfort food. Like, hearty stews and cornbread. Yum. Well, sadly I didn’t have either of those things around so I made stuffed red peppers!!

Originally, I was going to go low-carbish and just stuff them with veggies and meat but I added some rice so it’s a little heartier and feels more like a full meal.

This is really easy to make but you do have to allow yourself some time. It probably took me like, 45 minutes total? I found a moment earlier in the evening so I cooked the meat and veggie mixture so all I needed to do later was stuff and cook the peppers. Here’s what I used:

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • 1lb. ground meat (we used Elk meat that is already seasoned with italian seasoning so you could either buy meat pre-seasoned or add your own italian style seasonings)
  • carrots, chopped (I eyeballed this, so just add as many carrots as you’d like! I chopped baby carrots)
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of 10 minute boil-in-a-bag brown rice (I love these!!)
  • marina sauce to taste
  • 6 red peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed

So, like I said I cooked the meat mixture first adding everything including the marina sauce and just cooking the meat through.

stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers

brown rice

stuffed red pepper

I only had four red peppers but this filling is enough for at least 6. Peppers won’t typically stand upright so I cut off the bottoms of a few to keep them from spilling over.

red peppers

Once I was ready to actually cook dinner, I added the peppers to boiling water just for 3 minutes to soften them up a bit. Once they were dry and cool, I stuffed those puppies!

red pepper

stuffed red peppers

stuffed red peppers

I cooked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then added parmesan cheese and cooked for another 10 minutes. That’s it!

stuffed red peppers
Please excuse these awful pictures. I swear this tasted good. I need to get back to using my good camera!

Happy Wednesday!

How to Drink More Water

I have really been liking my coffee lately. Like, really liking it.

In my previous life (AKA before I had kids..yes, I blame them :) ) I was so good at drinking enough water. It was kind of like second nature. I would gulp down tons of water throughout the day and never think twice about it.

Now, for some reason, finishing 1 bottle of water a day is a victory for me. A couple of cups of coffee? No problem.

I think my biggest issue these days is I really like coffee. I want to drink it all the time. Call it an addiction (it is) but I think I also just genuinely like it more than water. I mean, it’s delicious so what’s not to like?

So, you get the point: I like coffee. That’s all well and good but I am realizing that I should probably try and sneak more water in there somewhere.

Water bottles for the day=about 80 ounces or more

Water bottles for the day=about 80 ounces or more

I did a Clean Eating Challenge group on Facebook a couple weeks back and posted in there on ways we can all drink more water. These are a couple tips that I find helpful:

  1. Fill Up Water Bottles- Like my pretty picture? Me and my photo apps. They’re so fun! Anyway, if you set a water consumption goal for the day, fill up water bottles and keep them in your fridge so you see them every time you open it. This makes it easy. Your goal for the day is to finish those water bottles!
  2. Use a Timer- If you’re at work all day or out and about and can’t lug around a million water bottles, set an alarm on your phone reminding you to drink your water!
  3. Use an App-If you’re an app kinda gal (or guy), there are “hydration” apps out there where you can track how much water you’ve drank throughout the day. You can set whatever goal you have and the app will remind you and log your consumption. Pretty great (as long as you use it!). Some app ideas are WaterMinder ($.99 cents) and Water Alert (Free).
  4. Spiff it Up- I think a lot of people complain that water is boring. It is, especially when compared to all the other yummy drinks out there. So let’s lively it up!! Lemon is an old standby and for good reason: it’s delicious and healthy. You can get creative though too and add some fruit, other veggies, or even herbs and spices like mint or cilantro.

 

I’m literally drinking coffee as I write this by the way, but I swear I’m on to water after I’m done!

 

Any tricks for drinking more water?

Quick, Upper Body Workout

Workout time!

This workout is really focused on your upper body. The burpees in between each exercise is a great way to get a little cardiovascular workout in (which burns mucho calories). The focus is primarily on your chest, triceps, and shoulders but all three of these moves work your entire body, especially your core.

This workout can be done at home- no equipment required. Just show up with that sweet bod of yours…that’s all you need! Here’s the workout:

Upper body workout

Here’s some information on a couple of the moves (if you have any other questions let me know!):

Burpees with tuck jump- I’m going to guess you are probably familiar with a burpee. So, once you’re coming up out of the burpee, when you usually do a jump, jump up in the air bringing your knees up towards your chest. Then, when you land go right into the next burpee.

Triceps Dips- You might be familiar with these too. These can be performed on the ground or the edge of a bench, chair, etc. If you want to make these more challenging, lift one leg up then switch legs after 15 seconds.

Judo Push-Ups- These are so great. They are a little hard to explain though so here are a couple links to explanations (here and a video here).

 

It’s short and sweet but should burn your arms and get your heart pounding!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust *Recipe*

cauliflower pizza

I have been wanting to make cauliflower pizza crust for so long! I finally took the plunge.

It’s not hard to make but it does take some time. You know how I feel about long, drawn out recipes: usually not a fan. But I figured it was Sunday night…SNL 40th reunion show was on…why not spend a little time in the kitchen and make something fun? My husband of course was wondering why not make actual pizza, but he knows I like to torture him with my “weird food.”

I used a recipe I found on Pinterest via The Lucky Penny Blog (link is here). I altered it slightly only because I didn’t have all the ingredients. I wish I had mozzarella cheese…next time!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • 1 head of cauliflower, grated (I grated in the food processor. I’m sure you could use a hand grater too) I had a big cauliflower so it yielded close to 4 cups.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white

IMG_4958

After grating the cauliflower, I cooked it in the microwave (covered) for 4 minutes. Once it was cool enough, I wrapped it in a towel and squeezed the hell out of it. You want to try and get as much water out as possible!

IMG_4959

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I got close to 1/2 cup of water! No one wants a soggy pizza.

Next, I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl. Then I placed the dough on greased parchment paper and molded it into a pizza crust.

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It felt really wet to me still so I blotted it with a paper towel.

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I cooked the crust for about 12 minutes at 450 degrees. I would recommend checking it off and on because oven’s are different. It’s good to go once it starts to brown a little bit.

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Once the crust was done, I added the toppings!! I threw some tomato sauce, spinach, olives, ground elk sausage, and parmesan cheese on top. I cooked it for another 8 minutes or until the cheese was bubbly.

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Please excuse my crapptastic pictures.

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Served with roasted carrots!!

This really did turn out great. I swear cauliflower still reigns supreme in the vegetable world. Is there anything it can’t do?

The texture was good. You do have to support your piece of pizza though with your whole hand. If you don’t, it will probably fall apart so be warned (this could have been something I did too). The taste was great though. No complaints at all.

I will absolutely make this again but do feel like I need to plan it in advance since it takes some time.  Maybe I will make a few crusts next time and freeze some? That would be a huge time saver. We ate the whole damn thing too so I’d like to have leftovers next time :).

Mindless Snacking At Night

Heyyo!! How are things? I hope you all had a chocolate filled Valentine’s Day/weekend.

I wanted to talk a little today about snacking at night. I majorly associate night time with treat time. I honestly didn’t really grow up with desserts every night, it’s something I’ve picked up over the past few years.

I’ve noticed lately that I’m especially snacky after my kids go to bed. It’s like I feel the need to run to the kitchen and eat all the goodies I didn’t get to eat when they were awake because I was too busy. This is obviously a completely ludicrous thought. I eat plenty during the day. It’s not like my kids stop me from eating. Trust me, I make that a priority too.

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

my obsession: dates with peanut butter (and a protein shake behind it)

I think at this point this behavior has become such a pattern or nightly ritual, that it’s hard to break. It must be somewhat emotional too. Something about nightly snacks makes me feel good. It’s like, my personal time when I can really enjoy myself and I choose to do that by eating some food.

I’ve been thinking about ways to break the habit or replace it with something else. Here are a couple things I came up with:

Instead of snacks/treats….

  • Read a book! I rarely read anymore usually because I’m too tired at night. This is such a great way though to wind down. Get out of the kitchen, cuddle up, and read a book.
  • Watch TV- This is essentially the opposite of read a book, but I watch so little TV I would have no problem with watching more. We pay for cable so why not? The problem sometimes with TV is snacks can be associated with it so I would probably watch it in my bedroom.
  • Listen to Podcasts-  Anyone else loving Podcasts lately? I listent to them all the time on my drives (my poor kids). Lately I’ve been into health and business Podcasts. I am loving The Chalene Show, The James Altucher Show, and The Time Ferris Show. Yes, of course I’ve listened to Serial too and I miss it.
  • Hang out with my husband- My husband and I both tend to do our own thing at night. Time for me to grab him and have some husband and wife time!

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m hungry, I will eat. I’m talkin’ mindless eating. I am not hungry, just bored.

If I feel like I really need a treat or something, maybe I’ll try some tea or warm lemon water? I’ve never been a huge tea drinker…any good night time tea suggestions?

What is Clean Eating?

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating gets thrown around a lot these days. It might sound or seem like a simple theory and I guess it really is. The challenge of course with eating clean is life gets in the way. We basically live on temptation island and that temptation is good. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

If you’re anything like me though, you feel better when you eat better. I guess there’s something to that say, you are what you eat? I’m a giant tortilla? Soft and fluffy! I don’t know..maybe? Anyway, let’s talk more about what clean eating actually means.

Clean eating is not a diet but a “way of life” (I know, that’s cheesy..but it’s true!). Basically, the idea is eliminating ultra-processed and refined foods from your diet. You want to choose foods that are in their most natural state (or very close to it). I think it’s a great way to approach food because there are so many foods you can eat!  Most diets put too much emphasis on what you can’t eat and that can become overwhelming or intimidating. Clean eating is a simple, straight forward approach to the way we eat.

Grocery Shopping

So, let’s address grocery shopping. An easy trick for clean grocery shopping is shop around the store’s perimeter. Most food items in the center aisles of the store are overly processed convenience type foods. Obviously, sometimes you need to grab an item or two from these rows and that is totally okay. But, the easiest way to eat clean is to stick to the outside of these rows.

Another great way to approach grocery shopping is to read labels! It is a pretty safe bet that if a product has an ingredient list longer than 2 items, it’s not very clean. I’m sure you’ve all read labels before and found yourself unable to even pronounce an ingredient. Crazy chemistry lab ingredients= not clean. My favorite example (that my dad pointed out to me by the way) is coffee creamer. Delicious, incredible coffee creamer. Coffee creamers are non-dairy creamers made of I don’t know what. Sugar and…..some other stuff? Except the sugar free one’s that are made of….I don’t know what? I love the seasonal coffee creamers but nope, that shit ain’t clean.

The Focus

Clean eating is different than a traditional “diet” in that it doesn’t focus as much on calories you’re consuming or fat content. The focus is whole foods. You might be wondering about something like dairy: low fat or full fat? In my opinion, that’s up to you. I personally tend to choose full fat yogurt and half and half for example, but if you wanted to shave off some calories, you could pick lower fat versions. I think full fat tastes better and that I actually tend to eat less because it is more filling-but maybe that’s all in my head. Up to you! The full fat variety of foods also tend to be less processed. That is definitely a personal choice though.

How to Start:

The best way to start a clean eating lifestyle is to take a look at your kitchen and make some healthier swaps. For example, white pasta-swap in whole wheat pasta or better yet, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Another example, fruit flavored yogurts. Swap greek yogurt with fresh fruit!

Some of these foods may take a while to get used to. An acquired taste. Eventually though, they will become part of your daily routine and habit just like the foods you used to eat.

Sometimes produce can be a bit expensive especially if you don’t use it in time and it goes bad (I am guilty of this and it makes my husband crazy). A cheaper route is buying frozen veggies or fruits. Frozen  produce (assuming there is no added sugar) has just as much nutritional value as fresh! I admit, fresh is more appealing, but sometimes frozen can be more economical (especially in winter. Buy those frozen blueberries!).

Here are a couple pictures with more healthy swap ideas:

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(image found here)

clean eating swaps

clean eating swaps

(Image found here)

 

Do you eat clean? Any recommendations on getting started?

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato *Recipe*

Sw sweet potato

I heart this recipe. It is so easy and all the ingredients are just perfect together. It’s also incredibly nutritious. I love when that happens!

It’s not a Paleo recipe, but you could make it Paleo by omitting the black beans. You could also add more/different veggies to pump it up even more if you’d like. Here’s what I used:

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of sweet corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Tbsp of salsa (I sort of eyeballed this)
  • chopped cilantro to tase (eyeballed this too. I love cilantro so the more the merrier!)

Ground Taco Meat

  • 1 lb. ground meat of choice (I’ve used turkey before but this time used elk)
  • taco seasoning (I used store bought, but of course you could make your own!)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed, pierced with a knife, rubbed in olive oil, and covered in foil

Okay. This might seem like there is a lot going on but this is actually a really easy recipe.

I like to cook my sweet potatoes in the oven so I get those going first. I baked them for about 45 minutes at 425 degrees (I usually just check them off and on with a knife to make sure they’re done). You could definitely microwave them though if you’re in a rush!

While the sweet potatoes were cooking, I made the salsa. I just poured all the black bean salsa ingredients in a bowl, mixed thoroughly, and refrigerated while the meat cooked.

black bean salsa

black bean salsa

Next up was the meat!! I cooked this in a pan on the stove then added the taco seasoning once the meat was no longer pink.

Once the sweet potatoes were done, I cut them open, added the taco meat, then the salsa on top (and extra cilantro because it’s awesome). That’s it!

southwestern sweet potato

I served it with roasted cauliflower-tasty!

This is such a great meal for weeknights when you’re not in the mood to cook or too busy. It’s quick, filling, and healthy!

Crunchy (and healthy) Tuna Salad *Recipe*

Healthy tuna salad

I love tuna salad. Or maybe I love mayo?  Possibly both? I used to be the type who would order a tuna salad sandwich from wherever then get added mayonnaise to the already mayonnaise laden salad. It was obviously amazing. My husband on the other hand, is not a fan of mayo rich foods. I know, he’s missing out. I’ve also since realized that loading mayo on top of mayo typically equals mucho calories. Ah…I miss those high school/middle school days of eating whatever whenever don’t you? I shall live vicariously through my two year old. Back to my current tuna salad obsession.

The issue of course with no mayonnaise added to tuna salad is it becomes dry. The tuna experience is not the same when you’re literally choking it down. A while back when I attempted paleo, I saw some people substituting mayonnaise for avocado. Brilliant! So, there’s your added creamy fat: healthy and delicious. From there, I take the tuna one step further and add some much needed crunch. I throw in some almond slivers (they are great to add to so many things) and chopped up green apple and it really hits the spot. It just reminds me of a tuna salad I might order at a restaurant (not talkin’ Subway).

tuna with avocado

tuna with avocado

tuna with green apple

tuna with green apple

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Crunchy Tuna Salad

  • can of whole tuna
  • 1 tbsp of relish or chopped pickle
  • 1/2 an avocado (or as much to your taste. Don’t fear the fat!)
  • 1/2 a chopped green apple
  • a Tbsp or so of almond slivers (or whatever nut you like)
  • optional: I usually add in a hard boiled egg because it just works so well with tuna. It provides some additional protein too!

Today, I served this on a bed of spinach with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

tuna on spinach

This is a side note, but Costco (Kirkland brand) balsamic vinegar is so good! I have some friends who are generally obsessed with balsamic vinegar and I’m typically not so for me to say it’s good (I think) means it’s pretty darn good. Maybe I’ve just been buying poor quality balsamic all these years? Certainly possible.

kirkland balsamic vinegar

My husband loved the tuna too and didn’t miss the mayonnaise at all! He had it on a couple pieces of toasted wheat bread.

awesome lunch!

awesome lunch!

If you don’t have an avocado available, some other ideas for mayo substitutes are guacamole, hummus, or you could make your own mayonnaise. All of those things really give you that nice creamy consistency that store bought mayo brings to the table.

Give it a try!

Clean Eating Challenge

Happy Friday guys!

I posted this on my personal Facebook page a few days back, but wanted to make sure I updated you guys too:

I’m so excited to announce to the world a new adventure for this momma and her family. Some of you probably know about our living situation, but in case you don’t, we live in an extremely rural (and beautiful) part of colorado. I’m talking no cell reception and closest gym is 45 min away. For me, working out has always been a great way to clear my mind and regain my sanity. Getting to the gym lately though has been a bit of a challenge with 2 kids and a 45 min drive. I decided to buckle down and order some exercise dvds through beachbody (insanity btw is actually insane). Between the butt kicking workouts, meal plans, and support, I’ve made it to my pre-baby weight! I literally just tried on my pre-baby jeans and they fit! Maybe time to retire my target jeggings? Ha, never. Anyway, my experience has been such a positive one that I’m going to give coaching a try.

The hardest part for me has always been clean eating. Sometimes I like food a little too much. I’m going to get this party started by setting up a week long (free) clean eating challenge group. It helps so, so much to have a team supporting you and keeping you accountable. If any of you are interested in participating, leave me a comment and I’ll get you added to the group! Next Monday, February 9th will be our official start day. Maybe after this challenge, we could try a week long paleo eating challenge? Thanks for your support guys!

challenge

Don’t worry I’m not going to turn my blog into a Beachbody spam hot spot. I really wasn’t sure about signing up to be a coach, but I decided why not? What do I have to lose? The bottom line for me is I really like the workouts. They’re great. They work. So, if you believe in a product, there is certainly nothing wrong with promoting it. I’m going to continue to blog how I always blog though. So, things won’t change too much!Anyway, back to the challenge!

The challenge is going to be a private group (so your Facebook friends cannot see what you post unless they’re involved). I want it to be a place where we can keep each other accountable and openly discuss any challenges we face when it comes to eating clean. No judgement-just support. I’m also trying to gather up some good, clean recipes to get everyone started!!

Anyway, if you’re interested in joining the group just let me know and I’ll add you probably on Saturday (so we can grocery shop Sunday and officially start Monday).

Thanks guys and have a great weekend!!

Ultimate Pyramid (home) Workout

I love lifting weights. Like, really love it. I just can’t get enough of those sore muscles. I definitely think every gal (and guy) should add weight lifting to their lives.  That being said, I think you can get an equally as challenging workout at home with zero weights. Yeah, that was probably confusing. Sometimes you have to be a little creative, but most body weight workouts are probably harder to me than a typical gym session.

Body weight workouts are great because obviously, you can do them anywhere. There really are no excuses in this case. It’s easy to find or create a tough, full body workout that’s 30 minutes or less. That’s nothin’ in the whole scheme of things. 30 minutes of pain :).

Today’s home workout is a pyramid style workout: start with 5 reps of each exercise, then 10 reps, then 15, then 20. After you complete 20 reps of each move back down to 15 reps, then 10, then 5. On the surface this doesn’t sound too bad but it catches up to you!

Pyramid workout

I haven’t done a pyramid style workout in a while it’s about time I add these back in the rotation!

 

So, now I need your help, do you prefer to see workouts with no equipment, gym workouts, or both on the blog? Do you workout at home or the gym?