starter grocery list + Paleo Roast Pork with Apple Chutney & Butternut Squash

‘i want to be healthier.’

you do? ok, read!

first off, breathe. don’t over-complicate things.  this process does not go from 0-60 in 3 seconds and you won’t either. it’s a gradual thing. a lifestyle thing.  one that you will see and feel the effects of if you just stick with it.  little by little, a little becomes a lot.  we know by now that proper nutrition and physical fitness is a package deal. can’t have one without the other.  i will be focusing on the nutrition part of the equation for now as this is where your journey begins:

supermarket

here is a staple starter grocery list to save, print out, and take with you to the grocery store.  i go into detail about each section below and provide some of my favorite brands and where to get’em. keep reading.

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key:

WF = Whole Foods

SFM = Sprouts Farmers Market

WM = Walmart

TG = Target

TJ = Trader Joes

HEB = HEB Pantry (local)

K = Kroger (local)

ALL = available at all listed stores

grains / cereals / breads

  • Ezekiel brand breads and tortillas WF, SP
  • Ezekiel cereal varieties WF, SP, WM, K, HEB
  • Alvarado Street Bakery brand bread WF, SP
  • La Tortilla Factory tortillas & wraps WF, SP, WM, K, HEB
  • Nature’s Own Double Fiber Wheat Bread WM, K, HEB, TG
  • Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delightful brand bread HEB, WM, K, TG
  • Trader Joe’s whole grain breads TJ
  • Sprouts Farmers Market whole grain breads SFM

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i find that rolled, quick oats, oat bran, rice, quinoa, and couscous are cheapest when bought in bulk.  whip out your calculator and do the math if you must and compare the price per lb to whatever way you previously purchased these items.  yeah, those Uncle Ben’s single serving rice pouches are DELICIOUSLY easy to prepare and taste so good, but they just aren’t cost-effective and you know it! buy your rice in bulk and season it yourself.

flours / nuts / oils

  • Bob’s Red Mill flour varieties  WF, SP, HEB, K, WM, TG
  • flours & nuts from the bulk bins of WF, HEB, or SP
  • choose unrefined, virgin, and cold-pressed oils ALL
  • roasted & unsalted mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans)  in bulk WF, SP, HEB

starchy veggies 

  • fresh & frozen are best. if you must do canned, look for a low/no sodium option. these are veggies that are carbohydrate rich, higher in sugar content, have an adverse affect on blood glucose levels, and load you with energy. any on the list above will do; pick your fave. if unsure about how to classify a particular veggie, use this helpful list of starchy veggies. ALL

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non-starchy veggies

  • fresh & frozen are best. if you must do canned, look for a low/no sodium option.  these are veggies that contain fewer calories and carbs, lower sugar content, and have little to no effect on blood glucose levels and are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals. any on the  list above will do; pick your fave. if unsure how to classify a particular veggie use this helpful list of non-starchy veggies. ALL

fruit

  • fresh & frozen are best.  beware of packaged and canned fruit which can contain crazy high amounts of sugar. read your labels!  don’t forget avocado is a fruit and high and good fat. we know fruit is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and natural sugar, but the sugar content does vary per fruit, so choose wisely.  here’s a chart of some of the most popular and available fruit choices that gives you an accurate depiction of the sugar content for a 1 cup serving. ALL

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here’s a more detailed list:


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dairy

  • Lactaid brand milk & cottage cheese ALL
  • Greek yogurt brands: Fage, Chiobani, Oikos, Trader Joes ALL
  • Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedges ALL
  • Mini Babybel light cheese ALL

non-dairy

  • Blue Diamond, Silk unsweetened vanilla and original almond milk ALL
  • Lisanatti Almond Cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella) WF, SFM
  • Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese spread WFM, TJ, SFM, HEB, K
  • Trader Joe’s canned light coconut milk TJ

meat / seafood  / protein

  • boneless & skinless turkey and chicken breast ALL
  • 97-99% extra lean ground turkey, chicken, and beef ALL
  • choose  cuts of beef with the least marbling
  • leanest beef cuts: eye of round, sirloin tip and steak, top & bottom round roast & steak ALL
  • shellfish: scallops, mussels, lobster, shrimp, crab ALL
  • choose low sodium canned beans and rinse beans under cold water before cooking: navy, kidney, black, lima, chick peas, pinto, black-eyed peas. ALL
  • HEB & Crystal Farms egg whites ALL, HEB
  • fish: cod, salmon, tilapia, flounder, trout,  halibut, mahi mahi, perch, snapper, sole, tuna (canned and packed in water) ALL

seasonings / sauces / sweeteners

  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos WM, WFM, SFM, K, HEB
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar WM, WFM, SFM, K, HEB
  • all fresh herbs (sage, cilantro, oregano, basil, dill)  ALL
  • any salt-free standalone spice or seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash, McCormick, Trader Joes, Generic brands ALL
  • use fresh lemon / lime just for natural seasoning, flavoring & marinating ALL
  • liquid smoke WM, TG, K, HEB
  • Heinz low carb ketchup ALL

so do you just go buy the entire list at once? no! remember, i spoke with Tiara in HEB the other day and here’s that grocery shopping advice i gave her in a nutshell: ‘depending on how ambitious you feel, pick 2, or 3 recipes you know you’ll be making in the next 2 weeks or so and do your grocery shopping based on those ingredients.  else, there’s a good chance you may not use everything you purchased and have to throw it away.  we know some items have longer shelf lives of course, but the majority of what is thrown away is spoiled produce.’ i try to limit my store visits to 2-3 times a month.  i make large batches of a recipe at a time, and we have those meals/leftovers for the next 2-3 days before switching to something new.  sometimes i’ll cook two large batches of two different recipes at a time and alternate those meals for more variety.

 grocery shopping tips:

  1. buy fresh AND frozen produce
  2. only buy produce in-season and on sale to save $
  3. make a list first and stick to it
  4. don’t shop when you’re hungry
  5. set a monthly or bi-weekly budget and don’t go over it
  6. buy meat in bulk and freeze what you don’t use immediately
  7. buy generic brands whenever possible
  8. shop the perimeter of the store (fresh meat, bread, produce, dairy).  processed foods tend to rule those isles.

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Q: questions?  FIRE AWAY!  what would you like to see MORE of? what wasn’t covered or covered in enough detail?  i need your feedback. email me or comment below.

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my featured FITzee meal of the week:

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Paleo Pork Roast with Apple Chutney and Butternut Squash

all natural, dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo friendly & smells and tastes like FALL.

place your FITzee Foods order to be shipped right to your doorstep now.

le


TJ’s visit + my 1st SETX Cluster Conference

Happy Veterans’ Day to you all! today we honor all  US veterans and victims of all wars.

i couldn’t help but to stop by TJ’s this past friday, you know, since i was in the area and all.

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i was greeted with all things FALL! the smell of Fall, the look of Fall, the taste of Fall.  the warm apple cider and pumpkin pie samples were the icing on the cake. there was no cake though; i looked.

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i came out with a handful of specialty items:

  • TJ’s reduced guilt popcorn
  • Envirokids Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
  • bananas
  • Fig Spread
  • TJ’s 0% greek yogurt

and THIS.

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ok this is what i really stopped by TJ’s for, i’ll be honest. it had been taunting me on IG for way too long. in short, all you need is a spoon. i have yet to spread it on a thing. CYMERA_20131111_101230

saturday, my sorority sisters and i attended our very first South Eastern Regional Conference for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated!

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i even got a chance to meet and take a pic with our gorgeous South Central Regional Director, Chelle Luper Wilson.  She is a very busy mother of four, wow.
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attendance was outstanding – we were everywhere!  successful event indeed.

we are on a budget (especially with the holidays coming up) so my debit card was restricted from buying any paraphernalia this time.

20131109_125038_1-1and the food was great :lol:.  of course it was great- the conference was held on my alma mater’s campus.  GO COOGS! we had lightly breaded & butterflied chicken breast with a lemon caper sauce, yellow rice, carrots, green beans, and a wheat roll.  a spinach salad preceded our meal, but i couldn’t wait yall.  

on sunday we hit up early service at church as usual.  man daylight savings time has been my saving grace this past week!  i’ve gotten more rest than i have all year.  i’ve been popping up an hour earlier than usual so i’ve been able to get more stuff done. i didn’t want to exercise at ALL yesterday but since i skipped saturday (i crashed when i got home after the conference) i had to get on out there.

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so i did.  1 hour of walking/jogging/running in my neighborhood, 3 sets of walking forward & back lunges down the side-walk and i called it quits.  something IS better than nothing!  thank you to my Instagram #fitfam for the motivation. never fails.

are you off today!? and are you staying in town for Thanksgiving or going to visit family this year?

le

fit eggplant parm

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same concept when you apply it to your body, aka, your temple. put great stuff in, get great results right on out!

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yesterday i had vanilla oat bran with banana slices, Walden Farms syrup, and Trader Joes cinnamon sugar,

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and this morning it was rolled oats cooked in unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pure vanilla extract, and some cinnamon and granulated stevia stirred in.  some days i flip a coin! they are both great starts to the day.  this bowl was sooooo creamy.  i topped it with one strawberry cause that’s all i needed since they are so dang GIANT this season.  and a small tsp of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter. so, so good.

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today’s eggs weren’t pretty at ALL so i didn’t take a pic.  these were from yesterday and were topped with some alfalfa sprouts and pineapple salsa from Sprouts.  i love getting a little bit of charr mixed in with my eggs from the skillet- gives them extra flavor.

who’s got some core exercises for you? I DO!  did’em this morning after teaching my total conditioning class!

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i’m sure you’re familiar with the basic high plank on your palms and toes. right? yeah you can do that one in your sleep.

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but when you mount up on a medicine ball (any solid ball will work really) then you really put that core to work.  this is one of those exercises that looks uuuuber easy until you do it yourself.  so, grab yoself a medicine ball and do these semi-advanced core exercises that promote core strength and stability!

 ★1st things 1st- engage your core by sucking your belly button to your spine, but DON’T hold your breath!★

  • high plank (top pic) – start on your knees. grip the ball on either side and press your palms into it as you elevate your body up into a straight high plank balancing on your toes.  maintain a neutral spine while keeping your head and chest lifted.  even if you don’t add the variations, you are still working to balance yourself without even moving! you’ll see!  hold for 30-60 secs or for as long as you can take it. ***you can also go down a level and perform this on your knees keeping your body flat and pushing your hips and glutes towards the floor***

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  • high plank + leg lift (bottom pic) – keep your hips square, squeeze the heck outta your glute, and lift that leg up off the ground and hold it for 30-60 secs. repeat on the opp side.

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  • high plank + pendulum leg lifts - while that one leg is in the air, take it out to the side from right to left in a controlled swinging motion going no wider than shoulder width. repeat on either side for 30-60 seconds or until burnout.

what a :shock: BURN :shock: !

 this exercise works glutes, core, and your shoulders & back definitely feel the wrath of supporting your bodyweight the entire time. try’em at the gym or at home during commercial breaks.

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well hello there, fit eggplant parm.  i whipped up a crazy good fit chicken parm that will be going into the you-know-what!  for now, enjoy this healthier classic, fit foodie le style.

fit egg plant parm

the stuff:

  • 1 large raw eggplant, sliced into 1/2 in rounds (you can peel them if you’d like- i kept the skin on)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
  • 2 tbsp  unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 cup Lissanati almond cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 – 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs*
  • 28 oz Sprouts all natural low sodium crushed tomatoes with basil & garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp parsely
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 5 baby portabella mushrooms (optional!)
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

*homemade breadcrumbs: toast 4 slices of Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delightful Whole Wheat with Honey bread until crispy, and toss them in your food processor.  pulse until breadcrumb-like consistency.*

do this: * important S/N* this can totally be dairy-free if you use only almond cheese, (or rice cheese, or your fave vegan cheese) throughout the recipe. but then you’d have to call it fit eggplant almond.  or whatever. you know me- i needed some nutty, creamy parmesan in my dish cause cheese is my thing, so i added it.  just a little.  and you can too. if you want. also if you don’t have the same brands i’m using and naming, no big deal!

1. lay the eggplant slices flat in a shallow baking dish and pour the liquid aminos all over them. let it soak in real good, about 10-15 minutes or so.

2.  in a shallow dish, combine the egg whites and unsweetened almond milk; mix.

3.  grab another shallow dish and pour in your breadcrumbs.  add: the finely grated parmesan cheese, pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley;  mix.

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4. dip each eggplant slice into your egg mixture with one hand, then immediately drop it into your breadcrumb mixture. i only coated one side with breadcrumbs cause i was lazy and didn’t want to have to flip them halfway through. lol. spray a flat baking pan with the olive oil spray and bake your slices for about 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

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5. when the eggplant is almost done, go ahead and start the first layer of the dish by spooning some of the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of your olive oil coated baking pan. eyeball it.

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6. when the eggplant is ready and cool enough to handle (surprise, i didn’t wait), create the second layer. i know mushrooms are untraditional in this recipe, but so am i!  and come on- melted cheese and mushrooms just go together. so i added a few sliced baby bellas for the 3rd layer,

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7.  top with 1/4 of the almond cheese. or more. way more.  

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8. and finally, top that with more sauce and repeat until you run outta ingredients.  the last layer should be CHEESE! and lots of it.  now don’t put those fresh basil leaves on there yet cause you will torch them in the oven. i put them there cause it looked pretty.

IMG_20130416_1949359.  back into the oven on 400 degrees for about 20 more minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty and brown and stuff.

this made about 6 servings; stats are for 1:

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we killed the pan but there are certainly a couple things i’ll be doing differently from here on: take note!

  • NOT burning the breadcrumbs in the toaster smh – it made the eggplant darker and harder on the eyes. i didn’t want to waste it and used it anyway
  • using the small side of the grater for the parmesan cheese cause the large shreds don’t stick to the eggplant as easily
  • pan frying the egg plant instead of baking (however i’m not sure the cheese in the breadcrumb mixture would hold up in the hot skillet…i’ll just have to see)
  • OR, roast the eggplant solo first,  assemble the dish, and save the breadcrumb mixture for the topping only. <——i really like that idea!!!!! if you try it this way, upload a pic to the Fan Page or tag me on IG (#fitfoodiele #fitclean2013).  i’d LOVE to see your creations.

cooking is ALL about having fun and trial & error for me. get in there and make your own masterpiece!

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i’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Bragg for sending me a few samples of their seasonings recently!  i’ll be testing the nutritional yeast, the sea kelp delight seasoning, and the 24 herbs and spices seasoning this week. 
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ooooh the joys, blessings, and lessons of good ol’ parenthood :lol: it was just one of those days.

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thank God for electronic devices!!!!!

le

p.s., if you haven’t entered to win some FREE FOOD, then click there and go see what’s up! contest ends this saturday.

WFM FTW

AAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!  a WHOLE FOODS MARKET is opening up on my sida town!!!!!

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*high five* to my friend Carla for texting me this golden nugget of info as i had no idea, smh! this is both good & bad according to Sonny but i already promised myself to not go HAM in there.  i am asked repeatedly what my grocery bill is like as a few readers assumed i do all my shopping in Whole Foods and Trader Joes and that is sooooo not the case guys! i use both of these havens as specialty stores ONLY.  i’m a crazy foodie and grocery shopping is fun to me, but i have my limits :lol:.   i oogle at and am intrigued by weird, quirky, healthy & indulgent food combos, seasonings, snacks, treats, and all things FOOD. exhibit A:


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this is currently in my snack corner and this is why i get *side-eyes* when i get home. you and i both know that nobody needs this stuff. all natural, double chocolate cookies, fig butter, chocolate covered pretzels, raspberry fruit spread, nori wraps….

let’s be clear- i get my fresh produce and staple items from HEB, Wally World (Walmart), Sams, Fiesta,  Kroger… i’ll even go to Food Town or the like if they are having a fantastic sale and the produce looks presentable. i don’t by organic (severely overpriced in my opinion and i’ve seen, read, and tasted evidence to prove that the ‘regular’ produce is equal to or greater!) and that keeps my bill low.  the organic produce business is BOOMING!!!! but, it won’t get any of my hard-earned money.

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i often wonder what i’d be doing now had i not started this blog or had i postponed my decision yet again to compete in that bikini competition last Sept.  there are great moves, and then there are lessons.  you’ll never know though if you don’t step out on faith.  sometimes you can step out at your own pace, and sometimes you are evicted immediately, ready or not!

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go boldly and confidently in the direction of your dreams!!!! don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from moving forward….only fear standing still.

Q: what is your favorite SPECIALTY store?

come on, i wanna hear from you so i can go check it out too!

le

chicken PB2 pad thai + TJ’s trip

let’s pretend today is yesterday, ok? ok.


i made pb chicken pad thai for an Instagram challenge last night for dinner.  IG can be so addictive! i’ve been seeing a number of ‘i need to get away from technology and focus on my life and the plan God has for me….etc.’ posts lately from some of the health and fitness peeps i follow.  it’s admirable, long as it’s not a publicity stunt or anything.  it takes a LOT to step away from technology for a few hours, days, or even weeks nowadays.  anyway, i get it.  what is IG to you though anyway? a ‘likes’ contest? are you secretly competing with someone? a business opportunity?  marketing tool? searching for who can flex the hardest?  seeing what celebs are up to? seeing who can make their plate of food the prettiest? finding who can wear the least amount of clothes? lmbo (not really).  i said all that to say it’s cool to be inspired and build off of what you see in your feed, but stay true to YOURSELF.  after all, it’s your account.  it’s tough to be original once your mind has been tainted with what everybody else is doing.   on top of all that, IG can be a huuuuge distraction, like facebook.  sometimes you gotta put the phone down,  log off your computer and just live…..  technology-free.

*inhale….exhale*
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so i adapted this from my own PB2 Shrimp Pad Thai recipe, but i used chicken breasts and fettucine miracle noodles instead of kelp.

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aaaand i added a yellow bell pepper along with the red.  everything else is the same.

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ooooh these noodles are simply amazing and went PERFECT with this dish i tell you, perfect.  my relationship with kelp is officially OVER, thanks to my affair with miracle noodles. *chunks deuce*

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eye-popping color and freshness goin’ on up in that pot!

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letting the flavors marry for the last few minutes…

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and bam! plated up! no cashews….i used pistachios and it was an even exchange.  ok, the pistachios really was the last thing i altered, whoops.

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yummay &  healthay.

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i worked the leggies at the gym this morning! how do i get my calves to pop?  4 x 25 of calve raises in between leg press sets.

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flexin’ in btw squat sets.
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afterwards, my Stank Tank and i had lunch in the Life Cafe that started out with some Snikiddy grilled cheese puffs.

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we’re fans of Snikiddy all natural snacks-  they sell the huuuuge bags in sams and costco, fyi.

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i ordered half a cheese pizza with whole wheat crust 2% mozzarella for Chiso (yes more cheeeeese),

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and a turkey avocado sammich on Udi’s gluten-free whole grain bread for moi.  this was my first time having Udi’s bread and i liked it cause it was thick and actually kinda sweet, like challah bread or even a coarse pound cake!  however, like Ezekiel, the slices are kinda small, and the price is kinda big. Natures Own and Sara Lee have the regular size bread and for less cals and price.

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nevertheless, both halves were gone in about 2 minutes.
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the weather was GORGEOUS, so we took to the courtyard for a little bit to play.  funny, i remember bringing Chi out here and all he could do was crawl and watch the other kids play and jump over him.  yeah, i had a moment.

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 our next stop- Trader Joe’s Houston numero TWO!!!! i took this pic from the car so i wouldn’t seem like an, i don’t know…TJ’s stan?

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 they said it was coming…and it’s here.  crunchy cookie butter. *shakes first*

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i walked down this aisle for f…o…r…e…v…e..r.  TJ’s  literally has chocolate covered everything you can think of.  some of THE oddest combos just go together.

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i didn’t do too bad- walked away with only a handful of items i don’t need, like these. cinnamon sugar (15 cals per tsp) and sugar chocolate coffee bean (calorie-free) ‘sprinkles’ or dust, or whatever you wanna call it.

first victim – PB2 topped whole wheat toast.

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so…how are yours coming along?

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  whether short-term or long, sow your seeds NOW and as often as possible, and knock’em out one by one.  happy to be sharing some of mine very soon!

le

runnin the streets

i went out this past weekend!!! ok not out out, but it was to a private dinner celebrating my dear friend turning 30.  it was held at Perry’s Steakhouse – one of my faaaaaaave places for a magnificent dining experience!  always great service, and the food…well, look:

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i kept it clean and enjoyed the grilled salmon (sauce on the side) and kept the sautéed spinach that accompanied it.  i reeeeeally wanted to sub it for the butternut squash puree, but our waitress quoted me some ungodly price for that small change and i declined.  anyway, i made sure i altered my macros to fit this meal in- it was delectable.  i’m glad i got my sauce on the side cause i put a little on my fork and it tasted like straight flavored butter!!

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my friends were so sweet- they snapped pics of their plates for me :lol:   that was steak topped with crab with steamed asparagus spears on the side.

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here we have pecan crusted red snapper and broccollini florets.

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this is totally what i would normally order!!  surf and turf, YUM.  lobster tail, fillet mignon, and asparagus spears.

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quick pic before we got busy!  the birthday girl is in the upper right corner:) i’m honored to have been apart of her celebration.

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so this is from yesterday’s workout which means this post was supposed to go out yesterday too. 
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i’d love to have my competition abs/core back!  i took this pic immediately after my class- 1 hour of  HIIT and some core work at the end.

Q: what’s the best type of cardio? HIIT or steady state?

A: BOTH.  incorporate both types into your weekly routine.  i do HIIT once or twice a week, and steady state either early in the morning, or after my weights session.  switching up the days you do either one will keep your body from plateauing and constantly  burning fat.

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i sped home to my breakfast- scrambled eggs this time with fat-free feta, dried parsely, and reduced sugar ketchup,

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aaaand a bowl of cinnamon oats made with unsweetened almond milk and topped with bananas, more cinnamon, walden farms syrup, and raw, unsweetened coconut flakes.

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i bought a crap load of kale at HEB so i’ve been incorporating it into my dishes these past few days! we have here:

ground turkey and egg white kale wraps lol

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for another lunch or dinner i had a bowl of torn, raw, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and lean ground turkey.

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but this recipe right here is my fave so far.  grilled smokehouse maple shrimp and kale tacos!

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with fat-free feta cheese and homemade guacamole.

(1 avocado + half a roma tomato + liquid aminos)

the shrimp was marinated in liquid aminos and smokehouse maple seasoning.

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i’m head over heels in love with sautéed kale. oh and those are La Tortilla Factory white-wheat soft wraps.

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i posted this on IG the other day- Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter.  i went in looking to replace my fig butter but happily left with this instead after i didn’t see any.

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it tastes just like the traditional canned, jellied, cranberry sauce, but fresher and more tart. i’m cool with it! 20 cals, 4g sugar, 5 carbs for 1 tbsp. i do believe it has the lowest calorie and sugar count of all the butters.  i missed it on Thanksgiving, but i will definitely be eating some with my Christmas dressing this year!

20121202_174444which means after 30 years of this stuff, i have no more use for it.  those stats are outta line for only 1/4 cup serving…i can eat the whole can by myself with my plate.  too high in sugar and has high fructose corn syrup at that. no thank you.

got great news and events coming up for 2013 that  i’ll be sharing very soon!

which apple butter is your favorite?

le

journey to clean(er) eating

how it starts….

how it ends.

 i got the baby basket on purpose but i stuffed it full like i knew i would.  going in and coming out with one thing is a complete joke.  there is always something else we need!! or want.

the journey to clean(er) eating starts in the grocery store.  remember these tips when you go shopping:

MORE fresh fruits and vegetables

LESS processed foods (low to no)

lean proteins – chicken breasts, ground turkey, seafood, beef,

healthy fats – avocados, mixed nuts, olive/coconut oil, natural peanut butter

whole grains/fibrous carbs – oatmeal, sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, whole wheat pasta, high fiber cereal

on Sunday’s trip, i got everything on my list plus a few more items:

oh and Ezekiel sprouted grain sesame bread. left it off the list, oops.  aaaand i did get a few indulgent items for Sonny for winning his show this past weekend… i know you see them :shock:  oreos, gummy bears, and cookies n cream ice cream.

i have always wondered why pumpking pie spice is so freakin high!!! this 1.12 oz jar is like 4.99. for no reason. this is what i’ve always bought.  i was on my way to get some magic pop when i passed a table of seasonings and saw a big bucket of this:

what! now 4.99 a  POUND is more like it!! i grabbed a couple bags. man i love finding great deals.

yesterday, i applied that same ‘squeeze the muscle with every rep’ technique to my upper body workout and man did it give me a good muscle pump.  try it!!

one of my fave exercises (i’m sure my class members HATE them by now lololol) are W presses with dumbbells.  make a W with your arms (similar to my pose above) holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand.  move both arms up / out simultaneously without going higher than your head with the weights. then, retract them back in towards your head.  keep your elbows in front of your body.  makes for great shoulder/collar bone/back definition!  the racerback style is my absolute fave to wear, regarding my tops, and this exercises targets that area nicely.

dinner that night was a baked sweet potato stuffed with seasoned chicken breast chunks, green onion, and topped with fromage blanc. french cheese!  i also had a side of steamed zucchini.

yum.

i found the fromage blanc at Whole Foods while looking for the quark that they didn’t have.  the cheese lady told me that fromage blanc was the closest thing to it.  i picked it up and read the stats,

and they were even better than the quark!  heck that’s better than sour cream and greek yogurt!  greek yogurt does have a ton of protein, but it also has sugar too.  anyway, awesome find.  HEB has it also.

today…cardio, legs, and stretching.

i could not WAIT to get home to dinner to make me a sandwich.   that was all i could think about.

i made a big pan of baked chicken breasts this morning, so all i had to do was cut it up and put my sammich together.  i seasoned each breast with something different (bbq, lemon pepper, garlic and herb, smokehouse maple, and montreal steak seasoning) and some dried parsley.  350 degrees for 1 hr.

finally!  seasoned chicken breast, avocado, tomato, almond cheese and Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter all on toasted Ezekiel sprouted grain sesame bread.  i also had half a sliced apple and some Justin’s maple almond butter for dipping.

lastly, i munched on some of that vegetable medley bagged salad with some roma tomatoes on top.

sooooo, turkey day is in like 2 weeks!!!

are you hosting, going to someone else’s house, or going out to eat for TG?  

le

stick to the plan

green tea! my ‘coffee’.

i sipped some on the way to the gym eeeeearly this morning. i drink more throughout the day with some of my meals as well.  be sure to switch to decaf in the evenings though so you can go to sleep at night.

it’s always so peaceful at the gym in the early mornings.

i did some cardio, abs, and some much-needed stretching.  working out super early means more family time after work. wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chi’s breakfast this morning- raisin Ezekiel bread, eggs, and strawberries.  what, no pancakes!?  trying not to burn him out on them lol. i still had mine though! anyway, Ezekiel products have become a staple in our home. we all love them.

i got my meals for the day going starting with some grilled zucchini.

i cut them long ways and seasoned them with lemon pepper, curry, garlic powder, onion powder, and liquid aminos.  then, garnished them with fresh cilantro!  ‘what can i do to season my food and not add calories’? fresh herbs work wonders.  also, mrs. dash also has a great low/no sodium line.  special seasoning post coming, so i’ll stop there!

i open some canned salmon and added a few ounces to each of my containers.  for fat, i used fresh avocado and pistachio nuts.  for carbs, i threw a bag full of La Tortilla Factory whole white-wheat soft wrap tortillas in my lunch kit. i take my condiments with me too- spicy mustard and my TJ fig butters.  i shredded a sweet potato, added garlic powder, onion powder, 1 egg white and pan (burned) fried the cakes on both sides.

for my protein, i mixed the canned salmon, avocado, a little goat cheese, and some spicy mustard together in a bowl, sprinkled some Mc Cormick BBQ seasoning on it and it was SO simple and good!!!!! no cooking required there.  i put some reduced sugar ketchup in my little dipping thingy for my sweet potato cakes.  no i didn’t steal it from a restaurant like someone assumed…  came from Ikea :roll:

after i assemble my lunch together at work, it usually looks like this:

or this,

or i’ll use Ezekiel’s sprouted grain sesame or cinnamon raisin bread and make a sandwich.

just some super quick ideas.

  i am currently in a maintenance phase after my competition last month and loooooving it!!!  a little too much.  i’m totally enjoying my food freedom, can you tell?  however, i’m still keep up with my workouts and staying active.  that’ll never change.

 Q: what is your current  
workout schedule?

A: goes a lil somethin like this:

less cardio, more weights.  only about 4 hours of cardio a week actually.  a couple weeks before my first show, my cardio capped out around 9-10 hrs a week.  i laugh in the face of four measly hours now, HA!

for my active rest days, i’ll either take Chiso out in the jogging stroller for a walk, or i’ll take a class at my gym for fun.  i love taking classes from other instructors!!  i get to experience their teaching style and i am always inspired to create different moves for my own classes.

other than growing these baby biceps, i’m content with my current size and body fat.  i have NOT been able to say that, well, ever.  every few weeks, i’ll sit down and come up with a new plan to switch things up to keep my body from plateauing.

welp, you know what this means.

empty jars make me smile. back to TJ’s.

happy weekend!!

le

cajun crusted tilapia

cajun crusted tilapia sandwich on sprouted grain sesame Ezekiel bread for one of my meals last week. or two weeks ago.  oh whenever that was, idk. it was good though.  i grew up eating deep fried catfish sandwiches on white bread.  you remember those fish fry fundraisers at church lol!  the best.

  i said on IG that i thought this recipe up while i was on the elliptical.  i get some of my very best ideas and recipes while i’m working out. it’s usually in the middle of cardio when i have a lot of time to just THINK.  if that’s what i need to do to get my inspiration, so be it!

Cajun Crusted Tilapia

the stuff:

  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Meal
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1 egg white

that’s supposed to be sweet basil on top of the onion powder, not curry. sorry.

do this:

combine the egg and the liquid aminos in one bowl, everything else in another bowl.  with your left wet hand, dip the fillet into the egg white/amino mixture, then drop it into the dry mixture bowl.  using your right dry hand, press the fillet into the mixture, flip it over, and ensure it is covered on both sides or to your liking.  spray your low/medium heated pan with Pam (or any no-stick spray)  if you haven’t already, and lay the fish on one side to cook until done, then flip it (about 5-7 minutes on each side.) cooking times and temps vary, so watch it!  *s/n: you can add a tsp of coconut oil to your pan as well, but you’ll have to adjust the nutritional stats accordingly.*

don’t want a sandwich?  plate your fillet up and pair it with some sides.  i made a sandwich cause i had plenty of Ezek bread to spare and sandwiches are fun to make, eat and take pictures of.

now, about these nutritional stats….i tend to make things way more difficult than they should be so there is prolly an easier way to do this.  i know there is.  and someone will comment on this post and make me feel really dumb.  i’m counting on you.  anyway,  i didn’t figure out how to do this before posting and didn’t want to wait. i totaled the ingredient list up, then divided it by 4 (fillets).  you never really use ALL the breading when you’re dipping stuff, you know? at least i don’t.  so you can’t include that in the total calories.  you really only use about 2-3 tbsp of the breading, if that.  so the stats below are a little higher than they should be cause it’s for 1/8th a cup of breading (dry + wet) + the tilapia fillet. i guess i could figure out what 2 tbsp of breading equals but my head hurts already.  so here are the stats for 1/8th a cup (includes both wet and dry ingredients).  did that even make sense?

serving:  1 crusted tilapia fillet

i love finding ways to eat more food!!!

i got wind of these corn thins via Facebook last week and picked some up at WF this past weekend as well.

i switched sides on ya.  rice cakes on the left, corn thins on the right.

 1 serving = 2 cakes

ingredients for both:

corn thins- whole grain popped corn, sea salt. (gluten and fat-free)

rice cakes- whole grain brown rice, sea salt.

verdict: eat 3 corn thins and STILL come out lower in every stat category compared with the rice cakes.  awesome!!  sure they are a little thinner, but still filling after being topped with some PB2, cottage cheese, or greek yogurt.

look what i found. oh just another item i wasn’t even looking for, a yogurt maker!!!

 i actually received this as a baby shower gift.  i sure do appreciate it!  perfect timing.

i was reading the instructions and all that and noticed one of the ingredients required to make yogurt is yogurt :shock: huh? so i have to go buy some yogurt to make yogurt. oh, ok.  riiight… SO, after i google a good homemade yogurt recipe, i’ll be trying my hand at *drumroll*

 almond yogurt!!!! i saw some at Whole Foods while i was there and had no idea almond yogurt even existed yet.  the nutritional stats were surprisingly high for one serving though.  i’ll see what i can come up with.

guess who had banana pancakes this morning? we all did. everybody. duh :lol:

Chiso tackled his three and so did i.

my random lunch sandwich today:

i just wanted to eat my cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread really bad, lol. i threw some grilled chicken, cheddar almond cheese, avocado and spicy mustard on it and it WORKED.  it fit my macros perfectly, too! that sweet and salty combo can’t be beat. i chilled on any fruit butter this time since the bread was already sweet though.

have you ever made homemade yogurt? 

le

@ my desk

no more start/stop- catching up NOW.

good monday that is almost over to you!!

this will be crazy random but just stay with me.

i hope you guys are using and being creative the IG food pics- that’s definitely some of my motivation for posting.

this was lunch @ my desk last Friday:

100 calorie multi-grain english muffin, grilled chicken breast, avocado, spicy mustard, and a crispy red bell pepper.  since my job is waaaaaaaaay closer to Trader Joe’s than my house, i stopped by there to get a few specialty items on my lunch break that day.

more eggplant humus wish it came in a big TUB.

i can pronounce everything. that’s the kind of ingredient list i like to see and the kind you should look for as often as possible.  also, natural, no additives or preservatives means eat it sooner than later! won’t last but a few days.

also got some sweet sugar snap peas for dipping! in the car.

 i walked into TJ’s with intent to restock my fig butter, but as soon as those double entrance doors parted, i walked straight up to a tower of pumpkin butter.  clever is that seasonal marketing. they also had honey apple butter and i couldn’t leave without it.  i did leave the mango butter for next time though.

i hit up HEB, Whole Foods, and Sams this weekend to do my real shopping.  i got my sample on of course,

  *high five*, HEB.  but zero points for presentation.  steak pizzaiola, italian chicken sausage soup, and creamy potato casserole was served at one of their live sample stations. oh God, those potatoes though :shock: . i always grab a recipe card to see just what they put in those samples and they never fail to freak me out.  full-fat heavy cream and cream cheese is what made those potatoes so darn good!  but they were sample size sooooo i proceeded to enjoy.

i got outta there with my usual stuff plus a few specialty items.

my kitchen island stays just like this for the most part.  i like to keep my produce out where i can see it cause i’ll forget about it in the fridge and it’s more likely to spoil.  gonna go ahead and add ‘personal grocery shopper’ to my resume, seriously!!! i could do this every day.

i’ve been using the sesame Ezekiel bread for the past few weeks, so i picked up the cinnamon raisin loaf this time.

i have sweet and savory dishes in mind for this puppy.

fat-free feta and goat cheese are still two dairy cheeses i won’t be giving up (will expand on that shortly), but i was inspired to try almond cheese from a fellow health and fitness IGer.  i figure i love almond milk, so i’d prolly like the cheese too. uh, yeah! it melts, grates, and tastes just like dairy cheese and nutritional stats are awesome.  i’m impressed and sold.  gonna try some rice cheese too.

i’ve been a fan of Blue Diamond brand almond milk since Hungry-Girl introduced me to it a few years ago, but decided to try the Silk brand because of the lower calorie count.

it is so much more creamier than i was expecting! i may have been converted indefinitely…

I picked up some of Sonny’s fav granola from Whole Foods – pumpkin flax.  it’s the best granola (nutrtion-wise) in the bulk aisle line up.  140 cals and 5g of sugar per serving. read your labels- granola is more like a treat/dessert as the sugar content can be super high for some of them.  a few spoonfuls over some cottage cheese or yogurt or a small serving of it is just enough.

 granola + almond milk = one great bed time snack.  if only i could stop eating bowl after bowl.

lunch today @ my desk:

seeing red today for meal 2-  grilled chicken breast, avocado, red bell pepper, tomato, spicy mustard and honey apple butter.  wrapped all up in a La Tortilla Factory white-wheat soft wrap with some strawberries on the side.

i snuck in some sugar snap peas and eggplant humus too.

we had some GORGEOUS weather in Houston today!! Sonny hates the cold and is already griping about having to stop his outside runs.  he still has time to take advantage though cause it will be hot again like tomorrow.

cajun crusted tilapia recipe coming up next.

le