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carrots, lettuce & almond butter

It has been a great day of eats over here!  And, I woke up to the sun!  I love it.

But, I actually wasn’t feeling so great when I woke up, so I decided on a berry smoothie.  In a bowl today because I felt like it. 🙂

I made a thicker mix today so that I could eat it with a spoon.

  • 3/4 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop Vega chocolate protein powder

With a serving of Galaxy Granola’s new Hint of Honey Granola.  This might be my favorite flavor.  Just a hint of sweetness.

Don’t you love my new bowl??

I love the color of the smoothie in this bowl. 🙂

The smoothie kept me full until lunch, when I broke into something fun.

A Carrot, Lettuce and Almond Butter Wrap!

I spread a thin layer of salted almond butter on a whole wheat wrap and stuffed it with CSA lettuce and thinly sliced carrots.  Then, wrapped it up.

Surprisingly, this combination is really tasty.  I was in search of a new lunch option and this just worked.  (Thanks to Meghann for the idea!)

I ate my wrap along with a grapefruit that has been in my fridge for weeks.  It wasn’t super juicy, but it was still sweet.

And, leftover carrots and a raw chocolate chip cookie from One Lucky Duck.

A solid lunch.

After work, I snacked on a granola bar and I got in a workout.

  • 5 minutes stretching
  • 25 minutes stability, balance and strength training (3 full circuits of the following: 12 bicep curls on 1 leg, 12 squats, 12 overhead press on 1 leg, 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 12 lunge + lift on each leg, 12 triceps kickbacks in static squat, 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 12 pushups on knees, 12 YTA’s on 1 leg)
  • 30 minute swim
  • 10 minute stretch

Then, it was finally time for dinner.  It was easy to figure out what to make with all of our goodies from the CSAa BIG salad!

First, I dressed my red leaf CSA lettuce with honey balsamic and olive oil.  On my base of lettuce I added slightly sauteed CSA sugar snap peas & radishes, a sunshine veggie burger, rosemary pecans & cranberries and goat gouda.

The sugar snap peas were so fresh and delicious!  Blanched for 1 minute, then sauteed in just a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper.  They were still super crispy.

We threw this salad together very quickly after our swim.  The flavors all worked really well together and it only took about 15 minutes to prepare.  It was heaven on my plate. 🙂

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stability & strength

I finally started  my day with a workout!  It has been over a week since that has happened. 🙂

I chugged some water, then got down to business with a stability/strength routine.  It is extremely important to make sure that your stability is top notch.  Not only do we use stability while we exercise, but we use it in everyday life.  Did you know that 70% of ACL (and other joint injuries) take place in non-contact events, such as stepping off of a curb?

I am a runner, and we run in a straight line (well, most of the time), so it is rare that we change planes of motion as other athletes do.  Think football players darting all over the field and changing the way that they move in a matter of seconds.  Therefore, our joints are normally not as stable as other athletes.  This also proves true for the swimming and cycling that I do!

I have been experiencing some knee and ankle pain lately, and talked to a few trainers and did research myself, and decided that I need to take a step back from strength training to stabilize my joints.  This does not mean that I need to stop lifting weights, but it does mean that I am going to lift lighter weights and do more circuit training in the coming weeks.

  • Instead of doing bicep curls, I will do bicep curls standing on one leg.
  • Instead of doing lunges, I will do a lunge + lift.
  • Instead of doing tricep kickbacks, I will do them while in a static squat.
  • Instead of doing chest presses, I will do chest presses on a stability ball.

You get the idea, right?

(Source)

These stability moves will strengthen my core, legs and arms and sometimes prove to be better for the normal person than a heavy strength routine that so many of us are accustomed to these days.

Stability is important in our everyday lives, and I want to get myself more stable in my joints in order to improve my athletic performances, and to decrease my risk of injury.  Everyone should start a new routine with stability.

(Source)

I started my new program today with the following 35 minute routine:

  • Chair squats with hammer curls (3 sets)
  • One leg squats, alternating legs (3 sets)
  • Bicep curls on 1 leg, alternating sides (2 sets)
  • Static squat with triceps kickback (3 sets)
  • Overhead press on 1 leg, alternating sides (2 sets)
  • Chest press on stability ball (4 sets)
  • Lunge and lift, alternating sides (2 sets)
  • Static quarter squat with YTA arm movements (2 sets)
  • 12 Pushups to Plank for 1 min. (2 sets)
  • Situp circuit – Vups, Bicycles, Worm (2 sets)

My legs were screaming – so. many. squats.  It was GREAT!

If your goal is to tone your muscle, and not gain bulk, make sure to lift weights s-l-o-w-l-y!  So many people bring the weights up and down so quickly, when in fact, the weights should be lowered slowly in order to engage the muscle.  Try it out, you will see results!

On to breakfast!

Oats with nut butter for post workout fuel to aid in muscle repair.

Steel cut oats with almond milk, banana and ground flaxmeal.  Topped with 1 tbsp maple cinnamon AB, 1 tbsp South America berry jam, 1 tbsp kaia chocolate granola, coconut flakes.

I actually made it look pretty today, despite the fact that I was running out the door.

Lunch consisted of more Millet Patties, on a bed of spinach mixed with pom-orange poppyseed dressing.

And, Key-Lime yogurt with Raspberry granola.

The yogurt was awesome, and more like a dessert.

Snacks included a grapefruit, dried pineapples and cinnamon almonds for some pre-run fuel.

Hopefully this rain holds off for my run!

lots of weights

I made it to the gym!!  It was just what I needed.

On my way to the gym, I snacked on a Chocolate Heart Thrive.

YUM!  I really love these little hearts.  They taste pretty good, and have a decent ingredient list, which makes everything better.  The chocolate bits are like little bits of heaven in my granola bar! 🙂

I ran 4.6 miles in 40 minutes on the treadmill, then did some upper body weights.  My legs felt pretty tight today, maybe from my faster run yesterday.  They were tired after the run, so I decided against my circuit weight session, which would have included lots of lunges and squats.  I save those for another day, and focused on my Shoulders, Chest & Triceps.

Upper Body Weights

  • Overhead press (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Triceps Dips (3 sets of 12)
  • Frontal Raise (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Crunches (3 sets of 15)
  • Chest press on a stability ball (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Triceps Kickback (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Lateral raise (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Bicycle crunches (3 sets of 15)
  • Upright row (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Overhead triceps (12.5 lb weight, 2 sets of 12)
  • Chest flys (7.5 lb weights, 2 sets of 12)
  • V-ups ( 2 sets of 15)

This was a great upper body workout!  My arms were shaking and burning at the end.  The last 3 exercises, I could only get myself to do 2 sets.  It feels great to have a workout like that.  I increased some of my weight today, so I felt proud. 🙂

After my workout, I sipped on a new Coconut Water on my way home – with a splash of Guava!

O.N.E. coconut water came out with a few new flavors of their coconut water, with just a splash of the juice.  I also bought the mango and pineapple, so I can’t wait to try them!  I loved the guava!!  It was the perfect amount of ‘splash’.  Not too sweet, but just enough to make it a treat.  And, coconut water is a natural electrolyte, so drink up!  Their other flavored coconut waters are a little too sweet for my taste, but I liked this, even though I’d prefer the original anyday.

This one 8.5 fl oz serving has 78 calories, 16 grams of sugar and 18 grams of carbs.  Not so bad, considering that regular coconut water has 14 grams of sugar.

Once home, I made and scarfed down dinner in a matter of minutes – literally.  I was starving!

This was the worst wrap I have ever made!  It tasted awesome, but the pictures are awful!  This guy fell apart from the start.

Anyways, I filled a Joseph’s flax pita pocket with spinach, a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger, 1/2 an avocado and salsa.  Delicious combo – with a side of multigrain tortilla chips & salsa.

This has been a crazy week with what feels like every second filled – yay for Friday tomorrow!

Sleep tight!

parsnips & kumquats

The day absolutely flew by for me!  I woke up super early to get some work done (it is NOT easy to get up in the dark and pouring rain), and made myself some tea.

All of a sudden it was time to leave for work, and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, so I whipped up a quick smoothie for the road.  I was planning for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana smoothie kicked up a notch, and it was definitely good, but not as chocolatey and peanut buttery as I would have liked.

Regardless, here is the mix:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (for those antioxidants!)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach (no time to wash the fresh stuff!)
  • 1/2 packet Chocolate Amazing Meal
  • 2 tbsp cacao (added at the end for more chocolate taste)
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1.5 cups almond milk

Wow, that is a lot of ingredients!  But, while I am making it, it doesn’t feel like a lot.  I just throw in some of this and some of that.  I drank this baby on-the-go!

Lunch came quick, even though I didn’t eat until about 1:30pm.  I made up a salad with veggies and leftovers.

Salad with romaine, cucumbers, carrot falafel, kumquats (!!) and tangy tahini dressing.

With a side of leftover brussel sprouts – amazing the next day. 🙂  And, a juicy pear.

Have you ever had kumquats?  I had not ever tried them – until today.  I bought them on a whim at Trader Joes this past weekend because I see them there all the time and am always intrigued.  I figured, why not give it a shot?  I was skeptical because you just eat the whole mini kumquat at once (well, I cut them in half to remove the seeds first).

Kumquats look like mini oranges, with an edible rind.  They are small, typically the size of a grape, and have a super tangy and tart flavor.  I loved them!  They are definitely more tart than sweet, but a good tart, not a pucker-up tart.  They worked great in my salad, and I can see them being delicious on top of sauteed spinach – yummy.  They are a winter fruit, like an orange and are typically grown from mid-November to mid-March, so I guess I tried them just at the end of the season.  Give them a try sometime, and let me know what you think!

Due to my study session this morning, I moved my workout to after work.  I attended a GRAVITY class at Healthworks in Brookline, which was absolutely amazing!  It is basically a kicked up version of Bowflex (you know, from those infomercials?), but so much better.

They have small classes where each person is on their own GRAVITY machine (above) and the instructor tells you which movements to make.  It was an awesome total body, strength training workout in 50 minutes.

After GRAVITY, I jumped on the treadmill for a quick 4.5 mile run.  Once I was done, I was starving, so I headed home for dinner where my husband had some parsnip fries in the oven!

Parsnips are also new to me!  I guess I was feeling like I needed new fruits and veggies in my life this week.  A parsnip is a root vegetable, similar to a carrot.  It basically looks like a white carrot.  They are very high in fiber and folic acid.

I decided to make these into ‘fries’, so I peeled and chopped them up.

I chopped these up last night, knowing that I would be home later tonight and would want to just pop them into the oven.

Tonight, Brant coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper and some spicy essence and placed them on a cookie sheet to bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  They came out browned and crispy.

The rest of dinner was kept simple.  I ate my parsnip fries dipped in ketchup with a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger sandwich with hummus and a laughing cow wedge and a side of lightly wilted spinach.

Another simple and delicious meal!  Phew – it has been a long day.  Goodnight!

manna bread & mangoes

It’s a gorgeous day in Boston, even though it is much colder than I would like it to be!  I love getting my weekend days started early because I feel so much more productive.  My plan was to hit the gym to get a weight session in after a 2 week hiatus.  I ate some toast with almond butter beforehand in order to fuel up with carbs before working out.

This wasn’t just any toast with AB!  I spotted some Manna Bread in the freezer case at my local health food store last week when I was looking for Millet bread and I decided to try it out.  I tried their new flavor –Banana Walnut Hemp.

I had read about this bread on some blogs and in some magazines, so I knew that it was a sprouted bread, but I had no idea what it would taste like.  On their website they describe Manna Bread as a cake-like, sprouted bread, free of salt, no oils, no sweeteners, no leavening agents.  The ingredient list is awesome!

Ingredients: sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dried bananas, organic walnuts, organic flaxseeds, organic hemp seeds.

The loaf is small, but definitely filling (which I discovered this morning).  It is almost smaller than my hand!

Since the loaf is frozen, I popped the entire thing in the microwave for 30 seconds.  I was able to cut off a few slices without having the whole loaf defrost.  This is loaded with bananas and walnuts!

I toasted the bread and topped it with a little almond butter for staying power at the gym.  This bread was absolutely delicious!  It was moist and flavorful, unlike the Ezekiel bread that I sometimes buy.  Each loaf has 6 servings, which each contain 140 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, 12 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.  Spread with a little nut butter makes this a great snack!  I will absolutely buy this again, and I can’t wait to try other flavors because they sound delicious – Carrot Raisin, Cinnamon Date, Fig Fennel Flax, Fruit and Nut, Millet Rice, Multigrain, Sunseed and Whole Rye.  They all sound out of this world!  YUM.

Anyways, enough about bread and on to my awesome workout.

I started with a total body weight session (about 35 minutes), which felt awesome after about 2 weeks off.  I do my full body weights as circuits in order to burn more calories while lifting weights.  Plus, it keeps it more interesting!

Total Body Weight Session

  • 21’s (3 sets, 18 lb bar)
  • Deadlifts with upright row (3 sets of 12, 18 lb bar)
  • Chest press on bench (12.5 lb, 3 sets of 12) with Bicycle Crunches (3 sets of 15)
  • Squats with overhead press (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Lunges with side lift alternating with lunges with front raise (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12 each leg)
  • Triceps extension (10 lb weight, 3 sets of 12) with Triceps dip (3 sets of 12)
  • Crunches on a ball (3 sets of 15) with Fly on ball (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Triceps pullback on ball (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12) with Frog crunches (3 sets of 15)

I followed my weights session with a 5 mile easy run on the treadmill.  It felt awesome to run, but my legs still do feel a little tired.  I plan to take it easy for the next week as well because they do say to do easy workouts for 13 days after a Half Marathon (1 day for each mile run).  I can’t wait to fit in some more swimming and spinning next week.

After the gym, I whipped up a fruit & protein smoothie for recovery.  The star of the show was a Mango Amazing Meal packet.  I really like the Amazing Grass products.  This meal packet contains lots of green superfoods, plant based protein, phytonutrient rich fruits & vegetables, digestive enzymes and probiotics.  Everything that your body needs!  The 10 grams of protein in the packet make it a good post workout snack.  It contains 110 calories, so you could just mix this up with water or milk to get your protein.  I just like to add more to my smoothies to make them more filling!

And, some frozen fruit.

Mango-Strawberry Protein Smoothie

  • 1 packed Pomegranate Mango Amazing Meal
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 8 frozen strawberries (on the small side)
  • 1 cup almond milk

It was very good!  It had a very strong mango flavor with just a hint of berry.

I’m planning on some beet salad from last night on a bed of greens for lunch (the smoothie was awesome, but I’m already hungry again!), some study time, and then a fun beer tasting this afternoon!

See ya!

one lucky duck

I could not wake up this morning!  So much for going to that spinning class at 6am at the gym!  Oh well, I finally dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 and made due with 30 minutes of weights at home – better than nothing, right?  Plus, I was in desperate need of some weight lifting, even though my arms are exhausted from my swim last night.

After weights, I made an ice cold super cherry chocolate bomb smoothie for the road.  My new travel smoothie cup is awesome!

I used Kristen’s Cherry Chocolate bomb recipe, but added a few extra goodies.  In the mix:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Grass (extra greens!)
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maca
  • 1/2 container Siggi’s plain yogurt
  • squirt of NuNaturals vanilla stevia
  • 1 cup water

Phew – super smoothie (read about my ingredients here)!  I recently decided to use frozen spinach in my smoothies instead of fresh spinach because I found that the spinach I was buying for smoothies was going bad so quickly!  When I have fresh spinach, I will obviously use it, but frozen is perfect when in a pinch.

My super smoothie kept me full until lunch – maybe it was the yogurt I put in that filled me up.  Lunch was a salad, apple and yogurtSalad with red leaf lettuce, cucumbers, garlic & salt sprouted sunflower seeds, raisins and spinach & artichoke hummus.

For my lunch treat I snacked on a Chocolate Chobani with a warmed apple and Chocolate Crispies from One Lucky Duck!

I bought the chocolate crispies on my trip to NYC last weekend.  They are sprouted buckwheat groats and Peruvian cacao with a stellar ingredient list (organic buckwheat, organic maple syrup, organic maple powder, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt), and are very tasty and completely raw!

They made a perfect, crunchy addition to my yogurt.

Random note, but I’ve been thinking lately about how much I love blogging!  I already think that I eat pretty healthy, but this blog has made me eat even healthier.  It makes me eat enough fruits, veggies, proteins, fats, etc. each day, which has proven to increase my energy and happiness!  I don’t always show every single thing that I eat, but instead try to show you healthy options for recipes and snacks.  I am always on a mission to find or create new healthy snack ideas for people on the go.  It is definitely better to fill your meals with nutrients, but sometimes you just need a snack!

See you for dinner. 🙂

simple supper

By the time I got home from the gym tonight, I was starving!  I was shaky and dizzy and needed food asap.  I whipped all of this up pretty quickly – I love when I can do that with healthy food.

While I was putting together this delicious and healthy meal, I munched on some hummus and crackers.

It held me over for about 10 minutes until my dinner plate was full of food.  Last week when I made my Black Bean Burgers, I put one in the freezer to save for when I needed a quick meal.  Today was the day!  I popped the burger in the microwave for 1 minute to heat it up and toasted a whole wheat sandwich thin.  While those were heating up, I made a quick salad with romaine, sliced almonds, raisins and apricot stilton.  Then, I spread my sandwich thin with a laughing cow wedge and added the veggie burger.  I served the burger and salad along with some veggie chips.

This was a great healthy and quick meal – I’m stuffed!

Backing up to the gym.  I did a quick 45 minute easy 5 mile run when I got there, then hit up the weights.  The treadmill was torture!  I am so ready to run outside in warm weather again.  But, I made it.  For my weight session, I used circuit training and tried to hit the major muscles without overdoing it, since I haven’t lifted weights in about a week!

Circuit Weight Session

  • Bicep Curls
  • Overhead press with squat
  • Bicycles
  • Lunge with alternating front and side raises
  • Tricep kickback
  • V-ups
  • Hammer curls
  • Upright row with deadlift
  • Fly’s and tricep row
  • Situps

This workout felt great.  I plan to do one more weight session this week and then take next week off while I taper for my half marathon!!

I updated my Running Laps page with some running and workout tips, which I plan to update often!  Check it out here.

I also added some Weight Loss & Healthy Living Tips to my About me page!  Be sure to check them out.  I use a lot of these tips now, even though i’m not trying to lose weight.  They are good healthy living and maintenance tips as well.

Have a great night blog friends!