Running the Race
There have been a lot of changes happening since COVID came to town. Spoil-you-rotten trips were canceled. Routine went out of the window. Store hours are still random. Our small gym seems even smaller. Things are more relaxed, but they aren’t. More and more positive cases are popping up, but the lack of people cleaning buggies and social distancing markers make you feel as though things are better. People are afraid to leave their houses still, while I am busting at the seams to have something to do and get our routine back.
Now that summer is officially here and things are relaxing a bit, July is flying by and I will be back at work before I know it. September will be here soon after and I will have a third little one. I am so anxious to see what he looks like and what kind of personality he will have. Our first two looked identical when they were born and have such strong personalities, Thomas (our third) has a lot to contend with. Adding another to the bunch is exciting, but I always wonder how it will change the dynamic of things.
Anderson starts Pre-K this year, Lord willing the schools don’t shut down. Just getting him up and ready to walk out the door so I am not late to work will be a challenge alone. Add to that being extra pregnant, a second that is waking up before the sun, still maintain my 5 a.m. workout routine…I fear that it will prove to be quite the undertaking. I liked the routine we had before COVID turned it all upside down and really don’t want it to change, but I know I will have to be flexible. Being the planner that I am, I think of all the ‘what-ifs’, but if COVID has taught me anything, it is that patience wins and I can only control so much.
The things that I can control, I take seriously. I can control my nutrition, diet, my temperament/response, and where I choose to invest my time. For some, this pandemic has been a break from all of those things and an excuse to let it all go. I have held on tight to the things that make my life feel “normal”, not that normal is grand and exciting, but I desire a sense of normalcy and routine. When we got the green light for our waterpark group to continue meeting, I was so excited. We needed something besides walks to the coffee shop. Some days the waterpark is not convenient, it is definitely not a social hour for me, but my kids 100% need it. There are days when they don’t exactly want to go, but we go anyway and we are better for it.
There are so many moments in life where we don’t want to do certain things, like my kids wanting to be lazy and not get dressed to go splash around in the water, but we do it anyway and we are better in the end. I have very few mornings that I wake up excited to go workout. Who is really excited at 4:00 a.m. anyway? I hit the snooze at least once. I used to get dressed and go lay on the couch. I would tell myself, okay if I fall asleep then it is meant to be that I don’t go. I would never fall asleep, so I quit laying on the couch and started using that time to clean my kitchen instead. I started using that time to wake up and be productive, instead of laying down trying to psych myself out of something I knew I would have been upset about missing. The times that I have slept through my alarm, I am not a happy camper. I have one shot at getting my workout in and if I miss it, that is it for me. I probably shouldn’t get all bent out of shape about it, but I do. It puts me in a true funk for the rest of the day. My morning just doesn’t run as smoothly.
I don’t want to wake up before the sun to workout, but I am better for it. I get it done, my morning starts well before most peoples’ but I go. I often hear people say that they can’t go that early and what they really mean is they don’t want to, which I get. Unless you work the night shift or you/your spouse have to be at work that early, etc. you technically could go, but as I said, no one really wants to get up that early. Usually, I get to sleep in a little bit during the summer and go to the 7:30 class. It was much more relaxed, a nice change of pace from the early wake-ups, and rushing back home so that Josh could make his class in time. That class is no longer offered, so 5 a.m. has remained my jam throughout the pandemic-shutdown and summer break.
For many, the idea of doing something difficult keeps them from doing it altogether. The idea of failing at something leads them even further away from the goals they keep “chasing”. If you don’t put any effort into reaching a goal you so desperately want, do you really even want it? Goals are nothing more than ideas. I have lots of ideas, but if I am not actively pursuing them, putting in work to reach them, then they remain ideas. In order for something to be a goal, you must be working towards it with a plan. Saying you want to lose weight, while simultaneously eating poorly and neglecting working out will not get the weight off. Eating healthy one day a week and exercising sporadically is not going to help you reach your goal. Just like one day off of your nutrition and a rest day won’t derail your progress. Consistently eating healthy and exercising will help you reach your goals. Just because I can’t go to the gym when I want to go, doesn’t mean I stop going. I suck it up and go because I am better for it. I would much rather go to bed a little earlier than be unhappy with my physical appearance and wellbeing.
M E N U
I thought that leftover brisket was best served in an omelet but after making these tacos, I’d be happy if we smoked a brisket just for taco meat. We had some leftover brisket from The Fourth of July and decided to throw some into tacos. I had some leftover Verde from that week and random toppings. Honestly, they ended up being some top quality tacos. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I did.
We kept the tacos super simple, but they ended up being so delicious. To make the Verde roast the tomatillos, garlic, green onion, and jalapeno in the oven until the tomatillos are tender and soft, 20-25 minutes on 425 degrees. Throw the roasted tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions into the blender with the juice of one lime and cilantro.
Ingredients: beef brisket, smoked to temperature 1 raw red onion, diced 7-10 grams fiesta blend cheese per taco fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, diced squeeze of lime per taco low carb/high fiber tortilla Tomatillo Sauce: 6 small tomatillos, husked *verde if you can’t find tomatillos 1 jalapeño 4 green onions juice of 1 lime 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Right now I have the luxury of not meal prepping, but 100% still am. I will have everything cooked and ready to go but will wait to toast the tortillas when I am going to consume this meal. I have used ground deer meat, chicken, and shrimp in these enchiladas. All three are great options. Usually, I eat 2 tortillas and split the meat and sauce between both tortillas. If you are in a time crunch the onions are great raw, it adds a little more crunch to the dish.
If you are still going to work and do not have access to an oven, I would opt to skip the crunchy tortilla. A crunchy tortilla in the microwave is not going to taste very good. Keep the tortilla and stuffing separate, heat the chicken, then assemble with cheese and avocado.
Make sure to keep your fat intake in mind when using the avocado and cheese. It is delicious but can easily put you over on your calories.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for rubbing *spray olive oil 1 pound ground chicken, beef, or turkey *meat of choice 1 yellow onion, chopped 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo finely chopped, use to your taste 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce homemade or store-bought 16-20 corn tortillas warmed *1-2 high fiber/low carb tortilla per serving or 1/3 cup cooked rice 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese *22 grams per serving pineapple salsa, shredded lettuce, and pickled onion, for serving *optional LIME AVOCADO CREMA 1 avocado, halved *3 ounces 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños juice from 2 limes kosher or flaky salt
Oh my goodness, I didn’t think I would like salmon any other way than how we normally cook it, but this was great. High protein, low carb, low fat. This left all the room for some good snacks.
Usually, I like salmon our way and try to never deviate from it, but this was too good not to try. Since purchasing a RecTec Grill, we don’t wrap the salmon in tin foil any more with it being on a pellet grill. It does have a different taste to it, but I really loved it the last time we ate it. It is well worth the money in my opinion.
I made the corn salad with the yogurt as the recipe said for supper, but opted to go without the yogurt for lunch the next day. The yogurt wasn’t bad, just left a taste in my mouth that I wasn’t a fan of. Without the yogurt, the salmon and salad had such a fresh taste to it. I left the corn and chickpeas cold both times, next time I’m going to roast them and then top off with the tomatoes and herbs. I can’t wait to eat this!
If you are like me and just want to stick with the basic salmon and have the salad on the side, I think that would be great! We use lemon zest, lemon slices, garlic powder, onion powder, and Tony Chachere’s seasoning. Rub or spray the fish down with olive oil, season, wrap in tin foil and cook until it is done. We don’t flip our fish, we just set it off to the side if it is cooking too quickly and let it slow cook.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil *spray olive oil kosher salt and black pepper 4 (5-6 ounce) salmon fillets 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated zest of 1 lemon 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese *reduced fat parmesan CORN SALAD 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil *lemon juice 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives 1 pinch crushed red peppers flakes kosher salt and black pepper 1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained 4 ears grilled or steamed corn, kernels removed from the cob 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese *omit or non-fat feta 1 avocado, diced *0.5-1 ounce per serving LEMON YOGURT *omitting yogurt sauce for taste reasons 1 cup plain Greek yogurt *non-fat Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated kosher salt
The spaghetti sauce I use is adapted from a bolognese lasagna sauce. It is a thicker sauce, with lots of meat and vegetables.
To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan (mushrooms are not in the lasagna). Once the mushrooms have cooked down, drain any excess water. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.
Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the spaghetti simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in, to simply cut down on the calories. Save the wine and just drink it. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.
I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand. I don’t use noodles anymore with my spaghetti. If you still want noodles, Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option!
Once I tried spaghetti squash I never went back. It really is not that difficult to make. I cut my squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, spray with olive oil and bake in the oven on 425 degrees until I can stick a skewer all the way through the squash to the outside (not through the outside). I allow the squash to cool and then use a fork to scrape noddle-like strands out of the squash. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash is 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.
Ingredients: 4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes 1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup) 3 cloves Garlic 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced) 1 Onion (diced) 8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) 2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained (depending on amount of people serving, I use 3.5 pounds typically and always have leftovers for the kids) 8 ounces Whole Milk (optional) 4 ounces Red Wine (optional) Italian Herbs 2-3 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice
This is a new recipe for us, but I know it will be good. It’s hard to beat a fresh mix of mango, tomatoes, beans, and corn. I am going to add cooked chicken breast to the mix and use jasmine rice instead of quinoa and spinach. I love finding new dishes that I can easily turn into a rice bowl of goodness.
There is no dressing, so I am going to add in lime juice to give the mix some extra flavor and juiciness. The ingredients below are for 4 servings, unless stated otherwise.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients 1/2 cup quinoa, dry *omit 2 cups spinach, chopped *omit 1/2 cup black beans, canned *250-270 grams 1/4 cup corn, canned *100-150 grams 10 grape tomatoes 1 mango 1/2 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp cayenne 1 avocado *4 ounces *add in 1/3rd cup cooked rice per bowl *cooked chicken breast *juice of 1/2 lime per bowl