Week in Review: April 9 – 15

Ok y’all, I’m super excited to start this new series! For now, this is will be replacing my weekly meal prep posts….who knows?! You might like them even more than those posts! This new series will be a little less in depth on the meal prep side of things, but I think you will still get a lot out of them!

But this won’t just be an overview of what I meal prepped each week. This series will also include a run-down of my workouts for the week and any struggles I had! In many ways, this will be going back to the more transparent posts that I did when I first started blogging. I’m kind of excited to hear what you think of them, so please be sure to let me know!

Enjoy!

Meal Prep

healthy-weekly-meal-prep

For this week’s meal prep, I kept things as simple as possible! Breakfast burritos for the freezer and 3 main dishes!

  1. Deconstructed Pizza Casserole – a household favorite! Super quick to make and surprisingly filling portions.
  2. Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes, and Green Beans – another favorite that I repeat pretty regularly. To use up some ingredients we had on hand, I used canned green beans and bottled lemon juice. While not as good as the original recipe, it was still pretty damn good! I would modify it again like that if needed.
  3. Ok, this last one was VERY loosely based off of this One Dish Ranch Chicken Veggie Bake, mostly to maximize some ingredients I had on hand. Once I started making it, I realized I was also out of ranch seasoning, so that is where the “very loosely” part comes in hahaha. It was ok, but I would love to make the recipe as it is and see how good it is!

Our favorite for the week was the Pizza Casserole, to no one’s surprise 🙂

Monday

No workout on Monday…I know, “Never Miss a Monday” but I was on a roll in my studio, so I decided to stick with that, given the deadlines I have coming up.

Tuesday

Gixo-on-demandI finally got to try Gixo’s On Demand classes! I had a little under 20 minutes when I got to the gym from my main job before I was on lifeguard duty. Just enough time for a 15 minute class! It wasn’t quite the same as their live classes, but still wonderful. I got to try a new coach too, since Mary Beth usually coaches at a time I can’t take classes. Overall, a good experience and definitely something to use when I only have a short amount of time.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

group-exercise-instructor-POUNDFitWednesday was all about POUND! I did some POUND practice before my class, then taught it a half hour later! According to my Fitbit, I did over an hour of working out and I definitely felt it! Plus my class did an awesome time bringing the noise! They really seem to be getting more comfortable with POUND and getting loud!

 

 

 

Thursday

Another day spent working on jewelry when I got home! No workout for me :-/

Friday

Ok, y’all, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I had all the intentions in the world to work out after I got off of work at the gym…until I stepped of a step wrong and hurt my ankle (you may have seen me icing it on Instagram). It’s doing better now though, so I will be back to it.

Saturday

Resting the ankle and working in the studio.

Sunday

Meal prep and working in the studio some more! I think y’all are going to love next week’s meal prep, so stay tuned! You can head on over to my Instagram and check out the Stories for a preview and behind-the-scenes as I make our meal prep 🙂

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this week went, even if I didn’t get in as many workouts as I would have liked.

Share

Flexibility in Life, Fitness and Blogging

Hey y’all!! I know it’s been a bit since I’ve blogged, but I haven’t forgotten about you! Things have just been developing here at a more rapid pace than I anticipated! But I just had somewhat of a revelation and I think I’m going to be blogging a lot more frequently now!

Recently I realized that my meal preps had been changing a lot. When I first started prepping, I would make more involved recipes, snacks, etc. It took more time, but it wasn’t a big deal to me! I didn’t have many time constraints and I LOVE cooking, so it worked out well.

Fast forward to now…the focus of my planning for meal preps is how fast can I make them (along with healthy and budget-friendly). I make more slow cooker and one-dish meals, less snacks and just less complicated recipes overall. It was a startling change to realize!

When I realized this a week ago, I thought “That would make a great blog post! I could talk about how to change your preps to fit your life!” I was so excited, but I also felt bad because of how infrequently I was blogging. My time has gotten to the point where I am working from when I wake up to when I fall asleep more days than not and my lack of writing on here the past couple of months had me a bit apprehensive about starting up again….my thoughts focused on “But what if I can’t keep posting and I have to stop again for 2 more months?”

But today I had a realization! Here I was, wanting to write to you about being flexible. About being willing to change as your schedule and demands change. But I wasn’t willing to do the same when it came to the blog! I was stuck in this mentality that if I couldn’t do my normal blog posts then I couldn’t blog at all.

My “average” weekly meal prep post can take up to 5-6 hours….and that is just not time I have available right now. But why can’t I change how I’m doing things to fit my schedule now instead of just stopping all together?! Wouldn’t it be better to share what’s are going on, the meals I’m prepping, and all the other things I’ve always shared with you, than to just disappear? Once I realized this, it was like this huge pressure and weight was just lifted!

We can all get stuck in the way we are doing things. It’s easy to not realize changes that can be made to make things work better for you! Even while I thought I was being flexible, I was still stuck in my routine and way of thinking. Realizing this has allowed me to bring blogging back into my life and that is awesome!

So I’m making some changes to what I’m posting from now on and you should be hearing from me much more often! I can’t promise that I will be posting every week right now, but it will be close. So stay tuned for more posts in the future, starting this coming weekend!

Share

Easy Weekly Meal Prep (Plus a Bit Extra!)

Hey y’all! You know, I can’t believe February is over halfway done….This year just seems to be flying by! And I have so many exciting things going on right now, some of which I can’t wait to share more with you about! If you have been keeping up with me on social media, you might know that I got certified as a POUND Pro yesterday!! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do since last summer and it was INCREDIBLE!

POUNDfit-certification-training

I’m still kinda processing my thoughts on the training, but I can say this: POUND is so much more than a workout and I can’t wait to start teaching it. It has really ignited a passion in me and I am so excited to see where this path takes me! I think it’s going to be amazing!

It’s also my birthday weekend and I gotta say, it’s been wonderful. Draz and I had a “pizza and movies” date at home on Friday, which was just the relaxed date that I was needing with all of my crazy schedule lately. And while y’all know that I love my meal prep and eating healthy, sometimes all the carbs sounds just about right! This was definitely one of those times.

Then on Saturday was my POUND training of course, followed by a delicious meal at a new (to me) Ecuadorian restaurant with a good friend of mine! And today has even more fun planned! Brunch and seeing Black Panther (at the same time!!) with parents, followed by indoor rock climbing with some ladies from Women on Adventures! This weekend is just what I’ve been needing to recharge and really get that excitement renewed!

Okay, enough about me and my birthday craziness. On to this week’s meal prep!

Get your week started right with this delicious and filling meal prep!

Y’all, I made so much food this week haha. The nice thing is that some of it will be frozen to pull out the following week (this coming week). Sometimes prepping a bit extra can really help! First off, I made a new mock chicken salad to go with some crackers for my snack for the week. It still needs a bit of work, but expect a recipe soon! It’s gonna be delicious!

healthy-meal-prep-snack

I also made a batch of breakfast burritos. Y’all know how much of a staple this is in our house. I seriously don’t know how I would manage breakfasts without them!

meal-prep-breakfast

Now on to the real excitement: the main dishes! I tried a couple new ones this week and one go-to favorite. This Smothered Chicken recipe is one of my favorites to pull out when I want something flavorful, easy to make and filling! Just chop up a couple veggies, mix everything together, put over chicken and into the oven it goes!

healthy-meal-prep-main-dish

I have been really craving lasagna lately, so this Spinach Lasagna dish seemed an easy choice! It was the first time I ever used no-boil noodles and I kind of loved them! It was nice to take that step out of the prep process, especially on a prep where I was wanting to save time.

main-dish-healthy-weekly-meal-prep

I did make two ingredient changes – I used 10 oz of fresh spinach. Mostly because that was the size of the package I could get and I didn’t want any wasted. It worked fine! Also, I opted for entirely low-fat ricotta instead of the half that and half full that it calls for in the recipe. I also don’t currently have a food processor. Instead, I used a pair of kitchen shears and cut it a bunch once it was cooked.

healthy-weekly-food-meal-prep

Our slow cooker dish of the week was this Chicken Burrito Bowl. Now, this is one that I made a bunch of changes to, but most of them are super minor. And almost all of the changes stem around one thing – I used regular brown rice instead of instant. I’m a big fan of using what you have on hand when you can and we have A BUNCH of brown rice in our pantry right now. So I wasn’t about to go buy instant just for this. I also doubled this recipe with the intent to freeze most of it in burritos. That being said, this recipe turned out great!

Here are the changes I made or will make in the future:

  • I cut down on the chicken broth used. I used about 4 cups instead of 6 (for the doubled). It was still a bit liquidy, so in the future, I would probably cut this down even more and only use 2-3 cups.
  • I cooked the brown rice in my rice cooker (plus some to go with the smothered chicken)
  • The rice was then added in at the end of the cooking period, right before the cheese.
  • Again, because of what I had on hand, I used fiesta blend cheese instead of colby jack. Either should work fine.
  • Personally, in the future, I would also cook this a bit longer on low for the main cooking time. The chicken didn’t shred as easily as I would have liked it to. I would probably cook it for 6-8 hrs on low, then shred the chicken and add the beans.

Overall, still a recipe I will make again! It turned out wonderful!

That’s it for this week! I think this was a great meal prep and can’t wait for you to try it! You can get your grocery list for the main dishes here:

Now for this week’s questions:

Have you tried POUND?

What is your favorite birthday memory?

Also, a special end note – I usually don’t mention my jewelry business on here, but I wanted to share this with y’all. I am running a BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY with one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever made! If you are interested, you can find it here. The giveaway ends TODAY at midnight!

Share

Thoughts on 31

I can’t believe I’m turning 31 today! As always, my birthday tends to make me reflect on my life, both as it is and as I want it to be. If anything, all the changes of this past year have made me do that even more for this birthday! So, I hope you will bear with me today….I really want to share some of these reflections with you!

  1. All the things are you are working towards in life don’t matter if you forget to enjoy your life along the way.
  2. No matter where you feel like you are at in life, you aren’t behind. You are right where you should be.
  3. Experiences are so much more meaningful than things, pretty much every time.
  4. Taking time for yourself is not selfish.
  5. Good food matters – and that includes both healthy and less-healthy foods.
  6. Adult friendships are hard to maintain – put the work in. It’s worth it.
  7. Be vulnerable. It may be terrifying sometimes, but it will bring you the best in life.
  8. Never stop learning, even if there is no point to it other than you find it interesting.
  9. Enjoy the moment, for as many moments as possible.
  10. Along those same lines, try to stay in the moment as often as possible. Too often our brains move on to the next item on our “to-do” list.
  11. You very rarely don’t have time for a hug.
  12. Balance in life is key. You can’t always do all the things.
  13. Even when you are saving for something important, not everything has to be for that. You can indulge occasionally.
  14. Admitting you need a rest day or a self-care day is not weakness or a failure.
  15. Learning the difference between making excuses for yourself and actual reasons takes practice. The differences aren’t always clear.
  16. Forgive yourself. Holding on to mistakes from years ago doesn’t help you or those you may have hurt.
  17. Apologize when you mess up. Let go of that pride and give a real honest apology.
  18. Love what you love and don’t apologize for that.
  19. Try the new things that scare you.
  20. Set realistic goals. Dreaming big is fun, but setting massive crazy goals isn’t fair to yourself.

That’s what I have right now! Part of me wants to get this list to “31” but honestly, these are the thoughts that have been going through my mind lately. 30 was kind of a crazy year for me in the best way and I am so excited to see what this year brings!

Any thoughts on my reflections? Or reflections of your own you’ve had along the way? I would love to hear them!

birthday-cupcake

Share

Low Carb High Protein Meal Prep

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep is a little bit of a change. Lately I have been focused on quick meal prep with lots of protein and a higher fat content too. My work schedule has been crazy lately and I have found that some extra protein and a bit more fat has been really helping my energy levels. This week’s meal prep also brings an extra treat for us – venison! A friend of mine had some extra and so the casserole we had this week had delicious venison in it!

Enjoy!

Get your week going with this satisfying delicious meal prep!

healthy-weekly-food-prep

To get things started off, this week’s snacks included protein balls, banana roll-ups, and turkey roll-ups (recipe coming soon!) I also made a batch of breakfast burritos, which are a staple around here.

weekly-meal-prep

On to the highlight – the main dishes! This new casserole was delicious – Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole and definitely the favorite of the week! I did make a few changes

  • I used a little under 2 lbs venison
  • 2 packages of uncured turkey bacon
  • added 8 oz sliced mushrooms and roughly 1 c chopped onions
  • subbed out heavy cream with low-fat coconut milk
  • added McCormick’s Hamburger seasoning
  • used fiesta blend seasoning instead of cheddar, but that was mostly just because that is what I had on hand

weekly-meal-prep

Our other main dish for the week was Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken. Now, I usually use chopped broccoli in this, but I actually forgot my bag with the broccoli in it at the grocery store haha! But it still was wonderful and as flavorful as always.

That’s it for this week! Want to try it yourself? Get your grocery list here!

And your random questions for the week –

What is your favorite show to binge watch?

What books have you read lately?

Share

Hearty & Healthy Meal Prep for Two

Ever have those weeks where you are just bored of everything you usually eat? That has definitely be me lately! I’ve been all about the new recipes and this week’s meal prep is no exception! I can’t wait to share all of these foods with you!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share recipes with you for some of them just yet….I am still testing them out, so it will be a bit!

Enjoy!

A delicious variety of healthy and hearty dishes to get your week started off right! Meal prep can help you stay on track all week long!


To start things off, our two dishes of the week that I DO have recipes for! Deconstructed Pizza Casserole and Slow Cooker Tomato, Kale and Quinoa Soup. The Pizza Casserole is always a favorite of ours and, as you can see, that holds true! We couldn’t even wait until the photos were taken to eat some haha!

weekly-meal-prep

Next up, a pan roasted veggies and chicken sausage dish and a couple styles of burrito bowls. These turned out well, but still need some tweaking before I’m ready to share the recipe! Here are a couple similar style dishes that I’ve made before and loved!

healthy-food-prep

For our snacks and sides this week, I tried some new things as well! Along with my Healthier Cinnamon Bread and our protein balls (recipe will finally be posted later this week!!), I made some peanut butter and banana roll-ups and a turkey pinwheel. I should have the recipes for those for you next week!

That’s it for this week! You can try out the two main dishes that I had recipes for and download your grocery list for them here:

I know this week’s meal prep was pretty short (and a day late….) but I hope you will bear with me! Hopefully I will have plenty of new recipes ready to share with you soon!

Share

Hydration and Why It’s Important

I know you all know that hydration is important. But do you really understand why? It’s more than just a simple replacing the water you lose throughout the day. Proper hydration affects brain function, digestion, energy levels, skin and hair quality, and so much more!

staying-hydrated-takeya

Now, water intake can be from more than just drinking water. Watery foods such as soups and yogurt, vegetables like oranges, watermelon and salad greens, even coffee and soda can all go towards your hydration! So, with all of these things counting towards our hydration, the average individual honestly gets enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated. So why am I talking about it?!

Because a lot of you are into fitness like I am and busy like I am! Individuals that exercise not only need to drink more water to replace what is lost through sweat and breath, but exercise also inhibits indicators of thirst! So while you may be hitting the gym hard during a session or sweating it out on a run and feel like you don’t need to drink any water, you most likely do!

staying-hydrated-takeya

Thirst is actually one of the worst indicators of dehydration. Instead, it is recommended to drink enough to replace the weight lost during your average workout session. Even beyond that, it is important not to take in too much plain water, throwing off the body’s sodium levels! Instead, switch to a sports drink or take electrolyte tablet during longer workout sessions.

Some things that can be effected by hydration levels

  • heart rate
  • digestion
  • metabolic rate
  • brain performance
  • physical performance
  • skin and hair health
  • body temperature
  • energy levels

So, why am I talking to you about this right now? Because along with getting out of balance on my workout routine this past 6 months, I also found myself routinely dehydrated. This was my own fault, mostly due to letting the time get away from me and being very task focused. But did you realize that even a 2% drop in hydration can decrease brain performance? How much of an easier time would I have had if I had stayed properly hydrated? So here are some things that I am doing to make sure I stay better hydrated now!

importance-of-hydration

  • Make sure I’m always carrying my water bottle! (I love my Takeya one)
  • Set a timer for every 30 minutes to take a sip
  • Track how many bottles I have drank each day to check in

Is hydration something that you have struggled with? What do you do to make sure that you stay properly hydrated?

(Also, you can check out this post from REI for some further reading!)

Share

Light & Savory Meal Prep

Are you ready for this week’s meal prep?! I have been looking forward to sharing it with you ALL WEEK! Not only was this prep super simple and inexpensive to throw together, but it also is delicious and flavorful! I’ve really been in the mood for new foods right now, so there are a couple new recipes in here too!

Enjoy!

Get your week off to a delicious start with this savory meal prep!

To start things off, our one repeat recipe – Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken. Y’all, I seriously love this recipe. Not only is it super flavorful, but there are so many ways to eat it! Over rice or noodles, with scrambled eggs, in a sandwich or wrap or even on it’s own! No matter how you eat it, it’s gonna be tasty. This week Draz and I both seemed to be into the wraps, so that is mostly how we had them. I love putting a bit of shredded mozzarella in with it!

So. Good.

healthy-weekly-meal-prep

Ok, on to one of our new recipes! Kale and Cauliflower Soup. This ended up being my lunch every day and it was so tasty! While I am a big fan of eating meat, this soup was hearty enough that I didn’t even notice it’s absence. Add to it being super quick to put together and it is definitely on the “make again” list!

The only real change I made was that I used chicken stock instead of vegetable, since that is what I had on hand.

A word of caution though….

So, in my flow of cooking, I forgot one essential rule while I was making this soup. When blending hot soups, you really should only fill halfway. Also, you should take the cap off of the lid and cover with a towel to allow steam to escape.

Did I do either of these things? Nope!

Not only that, I couldn’t figure out right away why this explosion of hot soup happened….so I poured some back into the pot and proceeded to try again. Only to have it explode again! Yup, I was that person. So, if you like to blend soups to thicken them up like I do, make sure you don’t forget that rule haha!

chicken-sausage-cabbage-and-mushrooms-stir-fry

And on to less-explosive dishes….our other main dish this week was a cabbage and chicken sausage saute. I didn’t really follow a recipe on this one, since it was mostly planned to use up extra ingredients.

For this particular saute, I used

  • cajun chicken sausage
  • broccoli (1 medium head)
  • cabbage (roughly 3 c chopped)
  • onion (1 medium)
  • mushrooms, sliced (8 oz)
  • seasonings, mainly garlic and some red pepper flakes

Overall it turned out great! I do wish that I would have had more cabbage on had to bulk it up a bit, but it was delicious!

healthy-meal-prep-for-two

We opted to try out the noodle bowls again with a slightly different mixture. This one had

  • thin spaghetti
  • kale
  • mixed frozen vegetables
  • shredded carrot
  • a spice mixture of curry bullion and garlic chili paste – I lessened this compared to last week and I think I need to find the in-between of these two weeks spices. I will be experimenting and let you know!

That’s pretty much it for this week! Want to give it a try for yourself? Get this week’s meal prep grocery list here –

This week’s questions (trying out something new!):

Have you been experimenting with any new dishes lately?

What is your favorite way to use up veggies? 

What book have you been reading or recently read?

Leave your answers below!

Share

Maintaining Balance in Your Life

With the topics over the last couple of weeks, is it any surprise that I want to talk to you about maintaining balance? It can be frightfully easy to lose balance and focus in your life. And once lost, it can be so hard to get it back in place! It is a way of thinking and going through your daily life….thoughtful, focused and with intention.

In our day-to-day life, it is easy to lose that intentionality. Instead, we go through the motions, allowing whatever grabs our focus or is the more immediate need to take over. It’s understandable – you see something that needs to be done, you want to get that thing done.

In that way, it was easy for me to get so focused on my business and the week-to-week craziness that was my first holiday season. It became the overwhelming priority, taking away time from sleep, my fitness routine, house care, dates, pretty much everything!

As I teetered on the edge of massive burnout this past few months, I realized that I couldn’t continue like this. After all, what is building all of this worth if I’m too exhausted to enjoy any of it!? Sadly, I was so deep in the market season at that point that it was all I could do to push through and get through it…vowing that I would make major changes for 2018.

So now, I want to share these changes with you! While I know that all of our situations are unique, I hope that maybe some of my changes, boundaries and strategies can help you obtain more balance in your own life.

How I Plan to Maintain Balance in 2018

  • Unless sick, I will work out a minimum of 3 times a week.
    • While I want to aim for 6, this allows for my work schedule and also some more flexibility once market season starts up again.
  • I’m not to be in my studio past 11:30 on a workday. This means that there are a few days a week I can’t really be in the studio due to my work schedule, but it will make sure I’m getting more down time and the needed amount of sleep!
    • On that note, I created a second studio in my basement so that my jewelry creating is done in the studio instead of our living room. That gives me some more separation and allows me to actually be done for the day!
  • Schedule out each week in advance, including activities that I will enjoy (activities that in the past I have been really bad about making time for)
    • and making sure I pay attention to how long tasks will take!
  • Doing at least one fun non-businessy social activity a month.
    • This can be an outing with Women on Adventures in Des Moines, dinner with a friend, etc. Something to recharge my energy and get me away from work.
  • 1 date night per month.
    • Now, this sounds like a small amount, but honestly, Draz and I are together all the time. And my schedule is nuts. Any more than that is unlikely to actually occur and sadly it’s still more than we did most of this year.

Now, there are other things that I’m sure will come up throughout the year. But hopefully, these things will allow me to maintain a bit more balance in my life. As you see, these things are really specific to my life and how my life gets out of balance. So when figuring these out for yourself, it’s important to really take a hard look at your own life!

Where is Your Life Out of Balance?

  • What do you spend most of your time on?
  • Do you find yourself wishing for something often? (social outings, dates, me time, etc)
  • Do you deal with burn-out often? Is it centered around something specific?
  • Are you wasting time mindlessly? (like, in my case, mindlessly watching something during my downtime instead of choosing something I will truly enjoy)
  • Do you find yourself constantly overwhelmed? Is there are common thread in that overwhelm?

These are just some questions to get you started, but I hope you can use them to help you maintain more balance in 2018 and beyond!

Is balance something you struggle with in your own life? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

Share

Veggie-Filled Meal Prep

Oh. My. Gosh. Y’all….seriously, this meal prep is delicious! I have been excited to share this meal prep with you ALL WEEK. 3 new recipes, including one impulse decided-to-make-during-prep type of recipe haha. Usually I’m not one to impulse make dishes that aren’t planned out, but this one I just had to give a try! And when you already have all the ingredients needed and ready…well, it’s an easy and delicious decision to make!

Get your week started right with this delicious, veggie-filled food prep for two!

meal-prep-healthy

So, to kick things off, our snacks and smaller meal! The snacks were pretty basic – my celery and sliced turkey and Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls! The smaller meal was the impulse make, inspired by a recipe I saw on Instagram! These are basically a healthier and tastier version of cup noodles, and far more satisfying too!

noodle-cup-weekly-meal-prep

Mine included:

  • a mixture of curry base, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil on the bottom
  • frozen corn
  • shredded napa cabbage
  • chopped broccoli
  • cooked thin spaghetti

Overall, pretty basic, right!? But oh so good. You just add boiling water and let it “steep” for a while, then enjoy! And there are so many options. I think this will become a regular addition to our meal prep.

veggie-weekly-food-prep

For our main dishes this week – Skinny Lasagna Rolls, Slow Cooker Quinoa, Chicken, and Kale Soup, and Honey Sriracha Chicken Noodle Bowls! The last two were new to us and will definitely be made again! I can honestly say this is one of the best meal preps we have had in a while! It was so nice to mix things up and make some new foods, especially ones with veggies (Our veggies have been a bit lacking/basic lately)!

I didn’t even make much for changes this week! One main change to tell you about – For the Kale Soup, I used pre-cooked quinoa that I had in the freezer. I took it out to thaw the day before and added it in when I took the chicken out to shred. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it worked beautifully! I’m sure it would be great the way the recipe has it, but we had some already prepped that I wanted to use up first.

Want to give this one a try? Get your grocery list here!

So that’s it for this week’s meal prep! Have you tried any new recipes lately that you’ve loved? I would love to hear about them!

Share