Fit Friday’s Recipes!

Happy Friday, y’all! I always have a sense of accomplishment when I’ve survived until Friday. I have no idea why, I just do. This weekend I have a much needed hair appointment with my amazing hair guru. Most of the time my hair is in a bun, unwashed or if washed, air dried with curls. I rarely take the time to blow dry and style it. He says that’s why it is so healthy. Miss SassyPants also has a birthday party to attend. She is beyond excited to celebrate with her friend. Hubby will have the ultimate “dad duty” managing both kids while there, because I can only stay an hour. Hopefully we can work in some pool time too. Now, onto my first favorite F word…food.

Yay! Finally, the Asian inspired healthy recipes I’ve been promising for two weeks now! [Sorry about that!] My first recipe is a play on Kung Pao Chicken by Fit Foodie Finds. It can be adapted to the Paleo diet if you swap traditional soy sauce with coconut aminos. I used half Bragg Liquid Aminos and low sodium soy sauce. Because I make enough for leftovers or indivdual freezer meals, I use larger amounts of the ingredients. Also, I never follow a recipe exactly. I make everything to accommodate my tastebuds and health choices.

What You’ll Need: 1 package of ~ 3 large chicken breasts, sliced thinly/ ~ 2 TBS of minced garlic (I love garlic!)/ 1 tsp of coconut oil/ 1 TBS sesame oil/ 1-1.5 # of green beans, fresh or frozen/ 2 TBS soy sauce or amino mix/ 1/2 TBS chili paste (or if you like spicy: 1 TBS Sriacha & 1TBS chili paste!)/ ~ 1 TBS of honey/ a dash of salt or pepper (I think the soy sauce adds enough salt)/ 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds/ Optional: add toasted peanuts or cashews (I didn’t)

What You’ll Do: 1) Prepare chicken my slicing and peppering, set aside. Prep green beans by cutting off the ends (& chopping into bite sized length, if you like), set aside. Prepare stir fry sauce by combining: aminos/soy sauce, chili paste/sriacha, & honey to sit aside. 2) In a wok or large pan (I used cast iron.), heat coconut oil on med-high heat, add 1 TBS of garlic to brown. (Inhale the sautéing garlic smell!) 3) Add chicken & cook for ~ 5 minutes or until partially cooked, then removed from pan. 4) In the same pan, add 1 TBS Sesame oil & 1 TBS garlic, turn the heat up to a low high (or # 8, if your stove top is numbered), add the green beans and sauté for ~ 7 minutes until softening. 5) Add the chicken back in and cook for 5-7 more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. 6) Add the stir fry sauce in, reduce the heat to low/low medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes. 7) Remove pan from heat and add your toasted sesame seeds and optional peanuts/cashews, allow to sit for ~ 3 minutes for the sauce to thicken. 8) Then, enjoy!

Along with this recipe, I added my adaptation of Damn Delicious’s Asian Roasted Carrots & Brocolli. I found the amount of sesame oil and olive oil to be way too much (& high in fats!) So, I omitted the olive oil, for the exception to lightly coat my baking sheet. I also reduced the amount of sesame oil from 2 tsp to 1tsp. If I have extra veggies, like zucchini, squash, or onion…I’ll add those to the carrots after ~ 15 minutes of baking, then the broccoli later.

What You’ll Need: 1# baby peeled carrots (or regular peeled and small-medium chopped carrots)/ 1# brocolli florets (I buy an entire brocolli, chop the head into florets, and peel and chop the stem too)/ 3 TBS of soy sauce or aminos/soy sauce mixture/ 1 TBS Honey or Brown Sugar/ 1 tsp sesame oil/ 1 tsp rice vinegar/ Optional add of 1 tsp sriacha/ 2 TBS minced garlic/ Optional 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

What You’ll Do: 1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prep baking pan. 2) Whisk together the soy sauce mix/ honey or brown sugar/ sesame oil/ rice vinegar/ & optional siracha in a small bowl, set aside. 3) In a single layer, place carrots on baking pan and toss on pan to coat in olive oil, sprinkle with some minced garlic. 4) Bake in oven for ~ 20-25 minutes. Then, mix in the broccoli with 7-10 minutes of baking time to go. 5) When veggies are tender enough to your liking, remove and toss with sauce mixture. Allow the veggies to sit in the sauce for a few minutes and sprinkle your optional sesame seeds on there. Voila! (Last time, I poured the soy sauce mixture in with the brocoli for the last few minutes of cooking and liked it better! It made the sauce cook to the veggies some.)

My last Asian inspired recipe is a play on egg rolls. I love a fried egg roll! But goodness, they are high in carbs and fats! So, this is adapted from Happy Money Saver. I edited the recipe to healthier standards, omitted the chicken and water chestnuts, and substituted broccoli sprouts for bean sprouts. You can keep those, but I dislike water chestnuts, couldn’t find fresh bean sprouts, and prefer vegetable egg rolls with a meal.

What You’ll Need: 2 cups shredded cabbage/ 1 cup shredded or diced carrots/ 2 sliced green onions/ 1 tsp minced garlic/ ~ 3 TBS broccoli sprouts/ 1.5 TBS coconut oil (for sautéing)/ ~16 wonton or egg roll wrappers/ 4 tsp cornstarch/ 1 TBS water/ 1 TBS soy sauce/ 1 TBS rice vinegar/ 1 tsp. Sesame oil/ 1/4 tsp ground ginger/ 1 beaten egg white

What You’ll Do: 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly spray or rub baking pan with olive or coconut oil. 2) In a large pot, melt 1.5 TBS coconut oil to sauté cabbage, carrots, green onion, garlic, and broccoli sprouts until tender, ~ 5 minutes on med-high heat. 3) Whisk together cornstarch, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger. 4) Add mixture to veggies and cook for a couple more minutes. 5) Remove from heat and allow to cool until you can easily handle veggies. 6) Open egg roll wrappers (keep covered with a damp towel, so they will not dry out!), work with wrapper in a diamond shape towards you on a cutting board or counter. 7) Fill with ~ 1/3 cup veggie mixture in middle of wrapper. To fold, meet side corners to middle, pull bottom corner over mixture, and roll. Leave top corner exposed to spread beaten egg white onto corner to seal close. 8) Repeat until veggie mixture is used. 9) Place egg rolls on baking pan(seam side down), lightly spray tops of egg rolls with olive oil or coconut oil, bake for 6 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 6 minutes. Now, you can either serve them with the meal OR if you have any extras, allow them to cool, and freeze them. Yes, they are freezer friendly! If you freeze them, once cool, flash freeze on pan for a couple of hours, then place in a Ziplock freezer bag, just re-heat by heating oven to 350 degrees F and bake for ~ 18-20 minutes. They are just as delicious! 

And those are my healthified Asian inspired recipes! It satisfies the Asian take out cravings, without ruining all of your hard work in the fitness deptartment. 

Have an awesome weekend, Loves!

July Vacation Fun

My goodness I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve started this post to be interrupted by the kiddos. For one thing, LB woke up about a week ago knowing how to crawl. I’m not talking about wobbly, really not going anywhere crawling either. He suddenly went into an all four position and took off. It’s been non-stop ever since. If he isn’t trying to crawl into the fireplace, rip down the blinds, scatter every single toy his sister owns, try to unplug every cord in the house, or trying to stand up; he is sleeping. He is on the go or sound asleep. Haha! His big sister, SP, is right there with him causing more chaos. If you want peace and quiet; don’t come here. 

I didn’t mean to skip the blog last week. We were on vacation in the mountains for the 4th of July. Although the cabin had wi-if, it was snail speed slow. It didn’t even reach the bottom floor of the cabin where our room was. I also didn’t have service. It was frustrating; but nice to unplug too. Overall the vacation was nice. The hubby and I went white water rafting. It had been raining off and on the previous week, so the rapids were higher than normal. It was an experience to experience, terrifying and fun. The hubby has wanted to white water raft for years. We had an action packed week, even with the kids. I also feel like I gained 20 pounds with all the food I ate. We went on a train ride, shopped, ate, and made sweet memories together. I’ve been watching my diet and running this week to combat last week’s damage. It was worth it though!

On Friday I will post my healthier Asian recipes (that I promised two weeks ago). I’ve been “cooking” up some more surprises and have a food review on a healthy pizza too. 

Technology Fail & Healthy Recipes

Computers and I are not friends. Last Wednesday I knew I wouldn’t be able to post on the blog due to a therapy appointment. I thought ahead, worked on a post Tuesday, saved it, and arranged for it to be posted on Wednesday. Well, that didn’t happen according to plan. Turns out, the post didn’t even save! So, here I am…redoing the post tonight. Lucky for you, I’m able to add a review of a new “fit” food product.

One of my favorite low carb items to use in my cooking is spaghetti squash. I like to roast them until tender and then fill them with healthy options. I use them to make lasagna boats, chicken parmigiana boats, taco boats, enchilada boats, and even a play on mac and cheese. 

Here, I did a play on lasagna. I sautéed red onions, added ground turkey, and seasoned it using FlavorGod’s Garlic Lovers. I stuffed all of it in a roasted spaghetti squash. I topped that with mozzarella cheese, a tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  I stuck it in the oven for 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

I love pizza. But it is incredibly high in carbs and fat! An alternative I like to use is Joseph’s pita bread, turkey pepperoni, a simple pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and whatever healthy toppings you prefer. 

They make perfectly sized personal pizzas! My favorite way to make the pizza is a white cheese and spinach. If I’m splurging I will use ricotta cheese and mozzarella; but if I want to be extra healthy, I will use cottage cheese and mozzarella. Here are a few examples:

I like to make two at a time to have one for lunch. These pair well with a kale salad, by the way. I found another pizza alternative in the freezer aisle in Kroger yesterday. 

These are amazing! You can microwave them or bake in the oven for 30 minutes. I always prefer oven baked frozen pizzas to microwaved ones. Unfortunately, my oven didn’t need 30 minutes to heat it.

 It was over cooked a tad, but still tasted amazing. The serving size is a half of the pizza. You might think, “What?! That’s so small!” However, because the crust is actually ground chicken breast and parmesan cheese; it is high in protein. This also pairs perfectly with a kale salad. Here is the nutritional info in the back of the box. 

The price is rather steep, so I will only be purchasing if I’m having a huge pizza craving. 

Remember, eating healthy isn’t the only component to being healthy. You have to exercise too! I’ve been alternating between running and weight lifting. I love to run because it clears my head. The downside to running, is that you are dependent on the weather. It’s been raining here! So, when I can’t run; I’m in my garage lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing cardio through a few HIIT moves. Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc. 

You also need to make room for treats, especially if you have kids. So when my daughter wants an ice cream sundae, I break out my Halo ice cream. If you haven’t tried it; do! It’s a life changer. I haven’t found a flavor I don’t like. My favorite is the chocolate chip cookie dough though. 

Next week I will have a total meal recipe for you. A healthier version of egg rolls, Asian veggies, and Kung Pao chicken for that Chinese takeout craving. Tomorrow I’m trying out a crustless veggie quiche. So far my quiche ideas have not turned out so well. Hopefully, this one will be the one. Fingers crossed! 

Do you have any healthier food suggestions you would like to share? Maybe a product you couldn’t live without on your fit journey? I would love to know! 

Ebb & Flow

Do I even have readers anymore? I mean, really. My blogging has been absent and erratic as of late. Trying to juggle this mom life, fit life, and blog life has been difficult. I can tell you the blogging and fitness has fallen wayside. Long story short, I’ve been trying to keep myself sane and be a decent mother. It leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. I’m still struggling with the PPA and PPD. I’m always on edge; but handle it better on some days than others. I do find I am better able to cope when I can fit some sort of exercise within the day. I read an article that if you struggle with anxiety that you should cut caffeine out of your diet. UH, do you mean coffee? Do you want me to go postal?! As SP has been saying lately, “No way, Jose!” Hubby will attest that I am not a nice person until I’ve had a few sip of coffee. I cannot function without coffee. (You can blame my grandmother on that one. As a toddler, she would put a splash of coffee in my milk. I always remember my grandmother with a cup of coffee in her hand and I wanted to be just like her. FYI, my grandparents spoiled me rotten.) I’ve been going back and forth to my grandmother’s here recently. The woman drinks 3-4 POTS of coffee a day! I limit myself to 3 cups a day. Anyway, that is one solution to reducing my anxiety that I will not follow. 

Last Wednesday, I didn’t blog because I had an appointment with a new therapist. I quit seeing the previous one because: 1) Her schedule was extremely limited. She booked up two months in advance and then cancel your appointment. I felt like I was waiting all the time to see her. 2) When I would see her, I felt like she hadn’t been listening at all. I was always having to re-explain things to her. Things that I felt she should have reviewed before we met. 3) She never offered coping suggestions. I left feeling just as hopeless as before I came. So, I took a therapy break to look for someone else. Wednesday night, I met with a new therapist. Because it was our first meeting, she had “get to know me” questions, which resulted in her asking more questions, and before we knew it, it was two hours later. To say that I was mentally and emotionally exhausted was an understatement. I couldn’t wait to go to bed. I did enjoy our meeting though. We set up short term goals to accomplish and she commented on giving me homework to do. PPD, and depression in general, is hard to live with. You don’t want to feel this way. You wish you could “just snap out of it”. But that’s not how it works. I follow several postpartum support groups on Facebook. I continued to see posts about PPA and PPD and women suggesting to watch the documentary on Netflix called When The Bough Breaks. Y’all, that documentary hit me hard. It made me realize how severe my first few months were, how much I really needed help during those times…and there wasn’t help to be found. Actually, it made me realize how strong I am; because I thought hard about ending the pain. I watched the documentary in hopes to find more information on resources to help my PPD. Instead, I found a way to help my husband understand what I’ve been going through. So, if you know someone who is struggling with PPA/PPD and want to understand what they are going through, watch When The Bough Breaks. It will open your eyes to the internal turmoil someone with PPA/PPD goes through. 

I try to focus on one day at a time. Some days are overwhelming and I struggle to cope. Like last week, when I realized I had forgotten LB’s PKU formula in the warmer at the house and we were already 30 minutes away at gymnsatics. I was so upset. It took everything I had not to be a total emotional mess in front of everyone. The entire hour, I couldn’t concentrate on SP’s gymnastic practice because I was thinking of all the consequences my failure could cause. Surprise, he lived! He not only drank that formula, but ate his 6pm meal, and final nighttime bottle without issue. I have to keep in mind, mistakes happen. Plus, when I’m not taking care of myself mentally; these type of mistake happen more frequent. Then there are other days when I do find that joyful spark in motherhood. Like when LB gets so tickled at his sister snorting like a pig, when I look over at them and they are snuggled together, holding hands, or like today as I dropped off SP at her Jr. Engineer Train camp, she gives LB and I big hugs and kisses and tells us  she loves us before she heads into the classroom. Those are the moments I find joy and peace in. 

I don’t know what God’s plans are for us. I still don’t understand why God chose for LB to have PKU. I can’t even imagine what good will come of it; but I have to keep faith that there will be good from it. 

Next week I will have some healthy supper ideas for you. That is one thing I’ve been up too. Cooking healthy meals again and eating less takeout. 

Back In Bama

Hello? You still there? I’ve really neglected this blog. And I feel terrible about it. 

I also feel like I’ve been on a non-stop roller coaster. I thought things would calm down after SP’s 4th birthday and the end of the school programs; but it hasn’t. Over Mother’s Day weekend, we had to travel to Atlanta for our son’s PKU appointment with his nutritionist. To be open and honest…it was emotionally difficult for me. Hubby tried to make the weekend special for me; but my dark cloud of depression loomed over. Every time I have to return to Atlanta for his appointments, I have a hard time. On the drive up there I remember being so scared and worried for my 5 day old boy. Once we arrived, exhausted from worry and crying, they dumped tons of medical procedures, jargon, and “what ifs” about treatment for him. It was like an out-of-body experience. I just sat there stunned and watched the whirlwind of people around me enter and leave the room. There was no sympathy or understanding as to why I was crying. So, returning to the clinic every three months is difficult. Hubby did grab takeout from The Cheesecake Factory. Who doesn’t like Cheesecake Factory?! Unfortunately that night SP had an upset stomach from the antibiotic she was taking. The Friday before we left I had to take her to the pediatrician for her yearly sinus crud and an ear infection. Oh, the joys of living in Savannah. All of our allergies are messed up. We slept for maybe 4 hours in total. I came back home exhausted. Gymnastics, wellness check ups, and such has kept me busy during the week too. Since I’m a glutton for punishment, I said “What the heck, let’s make this even more stressful! I’m going to Alabama for Memorial Day weekend!” 

That’s what I did. I left Savannah at 8 AM with the two kiddos. We drove through 3 patches of rough weather and finally made it to my Grandmother’s house. I’m going to take the kids to Auburn, do some neighborhood scouting, self tour the University, update my fan gear, and eat at Toomer’s Corner…all before nap time. Wish me luck! My poor husband has been left to care for himself. I hope he makes it.

I will be better at posting on here though!

Super exciting news for my midwifery followers: Our voices were heard! HB 315 passed with HB 316 as an amendment last the last possible minute. Governor Ivey signed the bill today. Alabama is the 33rd state to legalize CPMs. Not only that, there will be a midwifery regulation board set up too. Midwives are free in Alabama! Unfortunately, 1/3rd of Alabama women will not qualify to use a CPM with the amendment that excludes VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). My heart pours out to these women, many of them wanting to use a midwife due to the trauma sustained during the c-section. However, it is nice to see some progression within the state.

So Much To Do

Goodness, I’ve been busy. The month of May is always incredibly hectic for me. The third is my daughter’s birthday. I’m usually franctically trying to prepare of that, which is why I forgot to blog last week. We were up later than normal celebrating SP’s birthday, on top of me already being tired from an eventful day. I made mini cupcakes for her class to celebrate her birthday, then had a Mother’s Day program at her school, and had to buy last minute grocery items for her party. Friday I baked and decorated her cake. Y’all, I was basically delirious from lack of sleep. Also, it is the end of the year for SP’s school. So, I volunteered at the beginning of the year to participate in the Spalsh Bash party today. I had to make mini cupcakes for that, bring decorations, help set up, and follow SP around from water game to water slide all morning. Come to think of it…I’m not sure how I’m still functioning. 

SP’s 4th birthday was amazing and full of fun with friends. She declared months ago, she wanted a Paw Patrol party. The catch was that she wanted the real colors, not the pink and purple stuff. I told her that was fine with me. Her favorite character is Marshall. She pretends to be him all the time and its so cute. (And she tells everyone my name is Everest and LB is Chase.) If you haven’t caught on yet; she’s a strong minded individual. Possibly got that trait from me. 

If May wasn’t busy enough, it is PKU awareness month. On my Facebook, I try to share something about PKU everyday. The more you talk about it, the more you can educate and normalize it. Most people have no idea why their newborn receives a newborn screening test. Well, it is to test for PKU and (depending on the state you live in) 23-28 other rare genetic disorders. I find the more I talk about LB’s PKU, the more I accept our new normal. It serves as a healing process for me. Although, my post-partum depression is still not where I want it to be. I struggle everyday to keep my emotions under control, to function as a mom and wife, and to see the positive. Exercise helps a lot with the depression and I haven’t been able to do that regularly for over a week. Next week, I should be help to have a small break to fit in some running.

I do have some exciting news to share. Today the Alabama Senate Judiciary committee voted and approved HB315!! Now, the bill must be voted on by the Senate floor and, if approved, signed by the new governor. HB315 simply decriminalizes CPMs within the state of Alabama. More than one of my friends travel across state borders to birth their babies with CPMs and CNMs. For many of these women, its about having respect and encouragement during labor and birth, not pressure to conform to a medicalized birth. I could have easily went back to Alabama to have my son; but chose to stay in Savannah to use a CNM at a birth center. I hope this legislative session Alabama women will have the option to legally hire a CPM! 

Food & Love

Supper was absolutely amazing tonight. I surprised myself! I made taco zucchini boats. It is super easy. Brown the lean ground beef, season with FlavorGod’s Taco Tuesday and Chi Chi’s salsa. While that is cooking, cut zucchini into halves, scrap out the middle, and lay in a baking dish. When the meat is done, scoop into the zucchini boats. Top with whatever cheese you like. (I used Sargento’s 4 State Cheddar, since that’s what I had on hand.) Bake in oven on 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Before serving, top with chopped romaine hearts, tomatoes, and red onion. See, super simple!

The hubby raved about them. Hopefully, they will be just as good tomorrow for lunch. 

Along with the healthy eating (except for last weekend), I’ve been regularly running and lifting weights on the weekends. I would like to lift weights more often; however, my schedule just doesn’t allow me that time during the week. I still have 30 pounds to go though. Basically, they aren’t coming off as easy as before. It is apparent my hormones are not back at where they were before the pregnancy. Unfortunately, I find when my depression and anxiety are high; my metabolism suffers greatly. I am hoping over time my hormones will straighten themselves out. 

In previous years, I would go to the doctor and have my thyroid checked. Nothing ever came of it, although I was showing multiple symptoms of thyroid issues. I was constantly sick too. As if I would catch stomach viruses 2-3 times a month or wouldn’t have a meal agree with me within 10 minutes of finishing my meal. There really wasn’t an rhyme or reason to me getting sick. I could eat a pizza on Monday, vomit all night long; then eat the same type of pizza the next week and never be sick. Yet, I was still constantly gaining weight. Luckily, I’m not having the sick issues. I found when I cut my carb intake, the nausea and sickness decreased. (Which is why I maintain such a strict low carb diet.)

Speaking of low carb diets, I didn’t stick to that over the weekend. The hubby and I went back to Alabama for a friend’s wedding. (It was beautiful!!) Hubby was the best man. At the rehearsal dinner, they had a play on a low country shrimp boil. Basically, it was the all the ingredients, just not all boiled together. During the reception, they had delicious chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, and veggies. The wedding cake was three different flavors. Thankfully, the pieces were small! I shared the strawberry and what I think was pound cake (…it had a pound cake texture and buttery taste) with Hubby. I kept the chocolate all to myself though. (I LOVE chocolate cake!!) The morning of the wedding, I did run on the treadmill and lift weights, so I think I deserved that food. Haha! Of course, Sunday was spent traveling back home and road trip food isn’t the healthiest. There aren’t a lot of options either. (Chick-fil-A, I’m looking at you. I depend on your grilled nuggets for travel food!) 

Oh, and this wedding. Y’all, I cannot put into words how beautiful it was. The bride was absolutely stunning. I’ve known the groom for 11 years and saw a totally different side to him. There was just so much love there! I totally cried during the ceremony. It brought back so many feelings and memories of when I was standing there committing my life to my husband. He was standing there, as best man, looking so handsome too. To come and think of it, I just love love. Haha! Because Hubby had to leave early for wedding photos, I didn’t have his opinion on my attire. So, I took a dreaded mirror selfie to text him. 

Would you believe I bought that shirt, skirt, and earrings for 60 bucks at J.Crew’s outlet store?! If you went to a regular J. Crew store for those items, the shirt was $60, the skirt was $80, and the earrings were $30. The necklace is from there too. I bought that about a year ago; regularly priced at $40. I bought for $15! Besides love, I also love a good deal. Haha! 

I have a quick midwife bill update too! The decriminalization bill, HB 315, was picked for the special order calendar. The House voted on it yesterday….and it passed! HB 315 is going to the Senate, where it will be assigned to a committee. The committee must vote on it to go to the Senate floor, it must be put on the calendar to be voted on by the floor, and then the governor has to sign it. It is a lot of steps to achieve; but this is the furthest a midwifery bill has come so far. We can do it! Our voices are being heard!