2.27.14-3.1.14: Getting Closer and Dad Plays Hockey

Thursday:

I was in bed and out by 10:30pm, but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed this morning. At 10am, I had a Quest bar, which is also my way of telling myself, “YOU ARE EATING A $2 PROTEIN BAR. YOU WILL GO TO THE GYM LATER NO MATTER WHAT.” Seriously, if I need any motivation, the money I spend (or what my momma graciously spent this time around) on Quest bars is that.

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Around noon, I ate leftover taco pasta casserole, and headed to the store with my mom to do our weekly grocery shopping. I was super proud of myself because I had $20 worth of coupons this time around, so we saved a nice chunk of change. I am in no way, shape, or form an extreme couponer or stock-piler, but since I am home a lot, I like to do things to help out around the house since my parents let me live here rent-free. I spend a couple hours a week meal planning, looking for coupons and store ads, and matching them up to yummy, healthy recipes I find to save some cash. I’m getting better at it and I enjoy contributing any way I can.

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Later on, I did make it to the gym. Today’s run (run 17 mins/1 min walk x3) went extremely well EXCEPT for the the last half of the last run. I felt like I could fly today which made it super tempting to go for the 60 minutes, but I’m glad I stuck to the plan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m SO happy I made myself go back and start over. I would have still been beating myself up over only hitting a mile and a half or even 3 miles instead of feeling accomplished.

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I also go my official GymPact email for last week. I ended up making $2.90, so about 50c more than last time for 2 extra days of food logging and 1 more day at the gym. Next week, I might attempt to add the veggie pact, and once I get into the yoga routine better, I’ll add an extra day at the gym.

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Friday:

After a quick home yoga session, I was ready to start the day. I threw together some apples, strawberries, pineapples, and raspberries in a cup and let my immersion blender do the heavy lifting. My favorite thing to do in the morning is sit down with a smoothie and mindlessly watch whatever’s on tv. Today, I added an Activia yogurt to my breakfast. I’ve always bloated pretty bad no matter what I eat, so I’m trying to incorporate more probiotics in my life. My mom and sister have had good luck with this yogurt with their digestive issues, so I figured why not try.

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After a good lunch, I got to work in the kitchen. Today’s project included a clean, healthy recipe and a….not so clean recipe. I started the afternoon with filling our house with the glorious smell of my Nutella banana bread muffins, inspired by AverieCooks.com’s recipe! (all you have to do is add a half a jar of Nutella to her recipe!) I always try to “clean up” my recipes as much as possible, but there are some recipes that are best full fat, sugar, calorie filled goodness. Props to those of you who can make brownies and cookie dough out of beans. Blech. =) After the banana bread was in the oven, I started the clean fruit snacks by ThankYourBody.com. They turned out awesome!

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Saturday:

I woke up at 7am and hustled to the gym. I was feeling confident today, so I up’d my run: 18 minute run/1 minute walk 3 times. I had to stop midway through my last run, but I felt great overall. I only restarted a week and a half ago and I’m already a little over midway through the program. I feel awesome.

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It’s Saturday, so you know I had a delicious apple walnut salad from Portillo’s today, but dinner was my favorite. My “cheat” meal once a week is normally Saturday night and is usually pizza. My FAVORITE pizza place is California Pizza Kitchen BECAUSE THEY MAKE ME A MAC N CHEESE PIZZA. CARB LOVING RUNNER’S HEAVEN. (This is why I make SURE I do a good run on Saturday…so I’m able to cheat haha) I look forward to it because I normally *only* eat 3/4 of the pizza and have a couple of slices left over for dinner. =) It makes me super happy.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, my old man plays hockey for a league called, “OMG” or “Old Men’s Group” at the local rink. He’s been playing hockey since he was 11, so he’s really passionate. My dad’s a tendy and got a new mask for his birthday he made his own with some sweet decals. I play photographer and number 1 (and most of the time only) fan for the dads that take over the ice on Saturday nights. Tonight, we got to the rink early and watched the Hawks demolish the Pens from the snack bar until it was dad’s time to play gatekeeper. He did pretty well, but toward the end of the 90 minutes, he and the rest of the guys were exhausted. They put on a fun show, though!

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After hockey, dad and I headed to Steak N Shake, order a salad and a Coke Zero (yeah, yeah, not the healthiest, but it kept me from ordering their new pizza burger!) and we looked through all the pictures I took. I didn’t get in bed until 1am, but it was worth it!

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I’m ready to take on this next week!

2.24.14-2.26.14: Is is Spring yet?

Monday:

This day was so boring it’s not even worth trying to make exciting. Onward.

Tuesday/RunDisney Musings:

It was running day so I started the morning with a Quest bar that had the biggest chocolate pieces I have EVER seen. It was incredible.

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I felt good today, so I skipped ahead in my 5K to 10K app. Today, I ran for 17 minutes/walked for 1 minute and repeated two more times for a total of 51 minutes and approximately 5.1 miles. 6 minutes/.6 miles more than I had been doing the last two runs. I felt pretty good about it, but I did take an additional minute to walk in between. Overall, I just feel good about making progress again, rather than feeling discouraged and stuck.

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I’m really excited about registering for the Spring Gallop 5K in Aurora. Though it’s “only” a 5K, I’m so excited to get back outside for a race and to hang the next race bib on my holder. I keep checking CARA’s website for a good 10K race in the future and I’m leaning toward Plainfield’s Fast Cat. I definitely want to run one before the summer hits. I don’t run too well outside in extreme heat. Kind of funny seeing as I dream of running a race on Florida humidity.

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Speaking of dream races, if you haven’t heard yet, RunDisney has announced a NEW race: an AVENGERS themed half marathon and 5K taking place at Disneyland in California! My cousin and I have talked and we want to possibly go for a coast to coast medal next year. (Where you run at least a half marathon distance at Disney World and Disneyland in the same year.) Since Princess falls in February and the Avengers race will take place in the fall, I’m hoping it will be slightly easier to save for both since there is a nice cushion of recovery time for the moolah.

After the run and a good dinner, I finished up the night with a babysitting gig.

Wednesday:

Today I got to sleep in just a tad. I woke up and was desperately craving chocolate. I whipped up my chunky monkey smoothie and chilled out before heading out to go babysit for a couple of hours.

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My little nugget was so exhausted today. We play trains, watched Scooby-Doo, and he passed out within 5 minutes of laying down for his nap.

With babysitting complete, I set out to make dinner for my family, taco pasta casserole. It’s one of our favorites. I demolished my food and headed out to yoga.

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This class was called “Yoga for Athletes,” which had a lot of stretching on my legs which is AWESOME in conjunction with my running.

(Derp face and creepin with my sister.)

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It’s 8:15pm here and I am exhausted. I’ll probably head to bed in a few. Running in the morning thenĀ  my favorite activity: grocery shopping for next week! =)

“Lightened Up” Taco Pasta Casserole

I love Pinterest because it provides inspiration for so many meals. More specifically, Pinterest links me to people who come up with amazing dishes. I was more than inspired by Curry and Comfort’s Taco Pasta Bake. I took her original recipe and made some simple swaps to lower the calorie content. (Which comes to about 375 calories per serving.) Now I use a lot of reduced fat/no fat ingredients when I cook dinner, but not because I’m so concerned about fat content, but because it tends to have lower calories. Many people worry about macros before calories. I tend to put calories first BUT have protein and carbs as a close second. I run a lot. I need protein and carbs to keep me full and provide me with energy. This method works for ME. Modify the recipe however you wish to fit YOUR needs. =)

Casserole will make 8 servings.

Alright, enough small talk, let’s get cooking:

  • 12 oz of pasta (I use Creamette’s 150 calorie per serving pasta or whole wheat)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion (I normally use small to medium size)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (1/2 tsp is equal to 1 clove)
  • 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning (or 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • lime juice to taste
  • 1 cup salsa (I like plain old mild, but pick your favorite!)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream (I use Kemp’s.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • shredded cheese to your liking (I tend to use a cup. I like reduced fat Mexican cheese for this recipe, but I’ve also used fat free cheddar by Kraft)

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First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get your pasta cooking.

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Next, chop up that onion and get it cooking in a nice, big skillet. I like to start on medium/high heat to get the onion cooked really well. Next, add your ground turkey and minced garlic. Cook until the turkey has browned.

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Next, add your taco seasoning and cumin. Mix.

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Time to add your salsa, water, and lime juice. I like to add a little bit of lime juice all through out my skillet. Stir!IMG_2513

By now, your pasta should be nice and tender. First add your cream, stir, then add your pasta and mix well.

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Spray your baking dish with cooking spray. You’ll need a big one! Add your Taco Pasta to the dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Throw your casserole in the oven uncovered for 15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.

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I could probably eat the whole pan. I honestly always eat about a serving and a half. My family of 4 always has a nice bowl of leftovers, so I know lunch the next day will always be amazing. Enjoy!

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