Cheerleader + Menu

A few months ago I saw a post on Instagram about how to treat others. I grew up constantly hearing ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ and have relentlessly chanted that same phrase to my children and to my school kids for years. The gist of the article was that everyone has different needs, duh. What makes one person happy, doesn’t make the next person happy. What motivates one student in my room, does not motivate the next person. I subconsciously know this and apply that knowledge without knowing, but I never really thought about the saying ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ as false.

After I read that article I talked to my students about the saying and how we really should be treating other people the way they want to be treated. Some people like a lot of praise and attention, and really need that spot light to keep doing well and pushing harder. Other people get satisfaction from small rewards every time they do well or a pat on the back. Others might not need praise or rewards and are intrinsically motivated. I feel like everyone needs a cheerleader in their corner though, regardless of their preferred extrinsic motivator.

It is hard work, tell someone how great they are doing even if they are doing better than you.

Some cheerleaders come in the unlikeliest forms and aren’t always who you expect them to be. For me, the “older” guys in my morning class are usually my cheerleaders. Even if I have lapped them in a workout, they are still cheering me on and praising me after workouts. I laugh it off, but really it is nice to know someone is cheering me on in a workout, even if I am doing better than they are. When you are doing well in a workout, you don’t expect someone to encourage you to keep going. Usually when you are doing poorly is when you get the cheers and extra attention.

Words of affirmation are a powerful thing. When you know there are eyes on you regardless if you are doing well in a workout or not, it makes you want to keep doing well, push harder, and dig a little deeper to impress those that look up to you. I am intrinsically motivated to do well, but the words of encouragement or praise are always nice. I don’t work hard to get a “good job” from someone, but it is just the icing on the cake when someone does notice that you dug deep for that workout. I think deep down everyone wants to be noticed for their hard work and that directly ties into meeting the expectations of others.

I think it goes without saying that my coworkers expect me to get a workout in before I come to work that day, to roll up to the school with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other, my breakfast tucked in my big teacher bag along with a thermos of coffee, a gallon of water, a snack, and a healthy lunch that I meal prepped. These expectations were not set by them, but by myself. I created these habits for myself and their comments on my dedication to these habits make it easier for me to stick to them.

Knowing that someone is expecting me to do well encourages me to push harder and keep those healthy habits going. If I know someone is watching me or “using” me a motivator, I will push harder. In the gym it is nice to have someone to “chase” in a workout and use that to keep you moving. Sometimes I am the one being “chased” and other times I am the one “chasing” others, either way it makes me keep going. Obviously, you need a competitive side to yourself and be intrinsically motivated for this type of encouragement to work.

Comparison is not always encouraging and it is important to remember that. You can use comparison to learn from others and help you to gain knowledge in specific areas that you want to improve on. If you are simply comparing yourself to someone else’s numbers and not using them to learn from them, then it can tear you down if you are not a confident person. Find what encourages you to keep doing a good job and tell someone what your needs are. Get to know your peers and what they need to keep going. We are all in this together and everyone could use a cheerleader in their corner.

New Food Review

One Skillet Goat Cheese Stuffed and Orzo

I loved, loved, loved this dish and so did my youngest child. The orzo alone is worth making as a side dish without the stuffed chicken. The macros on the chicken were a little difficult since each piece of chicken doesn’t weigh the same and each person doesn’t eat the same amount of chicken either. I will 100% me making this again and might try to make each chicken breast the same size so that the servings are exactly the same. Make sure you check my last post to see the changes I made to meet my macros!

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken 

I don’t plan on making this again. The chicken was nothing special after sitting in the marinade and it did not prevent the chicken from drying out. The yogurt taste was a little unsettling after grilling for me. I would rather season the chicken breast and then grill it, than using this marinade again. I will say that this would have been good chicken to eat on a salad or in a taco, not just eating bare with a side salad.


Steak + Roasted Carrots with Beet Puree, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts

Garden Herb Shrimp Scampi Linguine

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil

Grilled Pork Chops + Grilled Vegetables

Slow Cooker Chipotle Orange Street Tacos

Steak + Roasted Carrots with Beet Puree, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts

This beet salad is a bit fancier than what I normally make, but it isn’t technically a beet salad. It is more a carrot salad with a beet puree, which sounds delicious to me! I am going to omit most of the oil in salad since we will be having steak. Even though sirloin is the lowest in fat among it’s steak peers, I don’t want to add any unnecessary invisible fats. Lemon juice is usually my go-to when it comes to substitutes for oil. I love the tartness of lemons, if you don’t like lemons try using water or very little oil mixed with water.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 Sirloin steak per person 
Preferred seasoning for steak 

1 1/2 pounds small multicolored carrots with tops
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (4 ounce), diced
*2 tablespoons 
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
*substitutes red wine, white wine, or rice wine vinegar 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Red Beet Puree
1 pound medium-size red beets, trimmed
*1 bundle 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
*lemon juice 
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of black pepper 
Young dandelion greens or arugula
4 ounces Monte Enebro goat cheese or other young aged goat cheese 
*less than 1 ounce per salad 

Garden Herb Shrimp Scampi Linguine

Shrimp does not carry as much protein as chicken. One ounce of cooked shrimp has 7 grams of protein, where as one ounce of cooked chicken has 9 grams of protein. Two grams doesn’t seems like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things when you are trying to meet your macro goals, you need to be smart about it. Shrimp costs more than chicken and has less protein, so chicken would be the obvious choice. I am going to do a mixture of the two so I don’t completely lose the ‘shrimp scampi’ vibe.

I love that this recipe incorporates vegetables and doesn’t have a thick heavy sauce. I am going to skip out on half of the oil, so I don’t go way over on my fat. Instead of using a heavy carb-loaded pasta I am going to use a low carb-noodle instead. I don’t love zucchini noodles and I prefer spaghetti squash with spaghetti. ūüôā I can use the extra carbohydrates anyway, so I am going to use real noodles, but a low-carb version, and manage my portion control.

THIS is where most people hurt themselves, they don’t watch their portions and just eat as much pasta as they want. Weigh your food people. Count those macros.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 pound dried linguini pasta
*low carb-pasta or spiralized noodles 
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1 Tablespoons 
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
*mixture of shrimp and chicken
kosher salt and black pepper
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
*2-4 zucchini 
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons salted butter
*2 Tablespoons butter 
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives 

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil

I am really hoping that Josh likes this recipe just as much as he likes the apple butter and sage pork chops. I was very skittish of those pork chops and making them too carb or fat heavy, but the macros were always great. The only issue I run into is maxing out my calories on a sauce like the apple butter and not meeting my macros. If you haven’t tried the apple butter and sage pork chops, you should probably do that soon!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 bone-in pork chops
*1-2 per person per meal, boneless
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*spray oil 
¬Ĺ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
*1 ounce honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 peaches, sliced
6 ounces feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
*non-fat-feta 15 grams per meal  
1/2 cup fresh basil
crushed red pepper flakes 

Grilled Pork Chops + Grilled Vegetables

We will be coming back from a long weekend in Charlotte, NC visiting my sister and celebrating my nephew’s birthday. Busy weekends call for a few simple meals. I love that I am not as rushed during the summer to get the food cooked before church on Sunday, so that allows me to focus more on my cooking and try more detailed new recipes; however, I do not want to spend my summer afternoons in the kitchen so I still bust my butt to get it all cooked before church Sunday morning. It is all about balance.

Josh suggested that I take a break from meal prepping but that would mean that I would either spend nap time everyday trying to prep the food for that night or spend my night in the kitchen. I don’t like either of those options. I like to stay busy with my two kids and go do fun with things with them, meal prepping really helps me achieve that.

Right now, in this blazing heat our two kids are fighting over who gets to swing. Both kids love being outside, but both love to swing so we are really learning how to take turns. Since they love to be outside, we might as well grill one night too. I love that grilling has minimal dishes to clean and can all be done in one spot. Major bonus is Josh likes to do the grilling, so it gives me a minute to sit and “relax” with the kids or actually have some adult conversation. If we are low on our carbohydrates that day, I will add some jasmine rice to the meal.

I am going to use this recipe as a guide but am going to make a lot of changes since I am using pork instead of salmon. If you want a good light salmon recipe, this is a good one. I am going to meal prep the salsa and rice, but wait to grill the pork the night of.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Salmon & Squash
2-4 salmon fillets more or less, depending on size
*pork loin chops 
1 large lemon juice and zest
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
2 large garlic cloves minced
olive oil for cooking
*spray vegetables with oil 
2 small zucchini squash cut lengthwise
*4-6 zucchini 
Cauliflower Rice
16 oz cauliflower rice fresh or frozen
*jasmine rice 
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large lemon juice and zest
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or oregano
8 oz baby heirloom tomatoes sliced in half
1 avocado sliced into small chunks
1 tablespoon fresh thyme minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
*omit oil 
lemon juice from 1 lemon
sea salt flakes to taste
red chili pepper flakes to taste  

Slow Cooker Chipotle Orange Street Tacos

I have made these tacos before and half of the appeal is that I can cook them in the crockpot. I prefer the roasted verde sauce over this salsa and cabbage, so I will likely use that salsa over the cabbage. I put the ingredients for the slaw and the verde below. Don’t make both, pick whichever you prefer, they would both go well!

Typically what happens for these tacos is I turn them into bowls. I always end up with an excessive amount of salsa and I hate to waste it. So I end up using it as a bowl because all the salsa would be too much for a taco. Since I portion out my food and know the exact macros of everything, I don’t mind splitting the salsa into 4 equal servings since the macros are so great.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs or pork shoulder
*chicken breast
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/2¬†cup¬†Florida's Natural¬ģ Brand Orange Juice
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
corn or flour tortillas, queso fresco, and mashed avocado, for serving
*low-carb/high fiber tortilla or jasmine rice for a bowl

2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1¬†jalape√Īo, chopped, and seeded, if desired
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lime
kosher salt 


6 small tomatillos, husked
4 green onions
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup diced pineapple 
*1/2 cup per 

E N J O Y !

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