Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Burrito Bowl Jar Salad

I wanted to share a recent recipe we made this past weekend. Mason jar salad's are all the hype right now, as they should be; they are amazing! With a little time and effort put forth on Sundays, Kyle and I have at least two lunches accounted for during the week. Saves so much time later on as we can just grab a jar from the fridge and go. And since we are following the 21 day fix clean eating plan, I like to mark the top of my jar lids with a little sticker to remind us the container count.

I originally found this recipe on Strictly Delicious, but I needed to make some modifications and additions to make it how I wanted and to figure out a correct fix container count.

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The fix count ends up being 1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green, 1/2 blue, and 1 spoon.

I don't know about you but we haven't been to chipotle in quite a while after all the E.Coli scares and people getting sick. Which is sad because it was one of our favorite places to eat. This doesn't excatly taste like a Chipotle burrito bowl, but it's pretty darn good and healthy for you!

Makes 5 mason jar salads

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa (you'll have left overs, just set aside and eat another day, 1/2 cup will count as a yellow)
3 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 large sweet potato (I used two small ones, but had left overs - these also count as a yellow)
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
5 Tbsp plain lowfat greek yogurt
3/4 cup shredded cheese (we used cheddar)
3 3/4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1 cup chopped tomatoes
4 cups chopped lettuce (we used a spring mix blend with kale added)

Instructions
Make quinoa and sweet potatoes a head of time; these need to cool.
  • In small pot on stove-top cook quinoa and 2 cups water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooled add lime juice and about 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro. 
  • Cut up sweet potatoes into small chunks (I love using my vidalia chopper for this!). Head the coconut oil in skillet, add potatoes once hot and brown on all sides. Once brown, reduce heat and cover. Let cook until sweet potatoes are soft, set aside to cool.  

Now comes the fun part! Assembling the jar salads!
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Layer salads in this order; this is for one jar, repeat with remaining four jars. I liked to use matching jars I have that were originally jarred peaches from Costco.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt (if you haven't made the switch from sour cream to Greek yogurt, DO IT! Tastes just the same and there are so many more uses for Greek yogurt. We haven't bought sour cream in months and don't plan to.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of your cooked/cooled sweet potatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons of the prepared quinoa
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons shredded cheese (or half a blue container per jar)
  • 3/4 cup cooked, chopped chicken (or full red container per jar - I like to use pre-cooked chicken from Costco, see below)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4-1 cup lettuce to top off the jar
  • Sprinkle some of the remaining cilantro on top before screwing on the lid. 
Place in fridge, til ready to eat. If it's just you, you have lunch for the week!!! Kyle and I share these so it gets about half our lunches planned for the week. You could try and eat it out of the jar, but I prefer to dump it on a plate so I can mix it all together better.

The chicken I like to use is packaged grilled chicken, with little to no additives; also from Costco. I used to love the packaged rotisserie chicken there, but it is rather salty so I opted for this cleaner version:
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Saturday MN Zoo visit

Last weekend we made a trip down to the zoo. Our membership expires soon so we are trying to squeeze in some last visits. We plan to take a break from the zoo and explore our other memberships. 

I packed my selfie stick so I could get some family photos. Well Isaac of course didn't want to participate. 



Thought it was cool I got a photo of this monkey just chillin near the window.... Until I realized he was sitting there with his red rocket out.... Ewww. 

Emma loves the selfie stick. 



It's crazy that we have been there so many times yet we are still seeing new animals. This one was new to us, he was sleeping and I can't remember what he was. There are so many animals tucked here and there on the tropics trail. 

The red panda was pretty comfy snoozing away. 

We had packed a lunch and left after we ate. Kyle and I had some really good mason jar salads and the kids had PB and graham crackers and fruit. Makes it easy to bring our own food when there is no good food there haha. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What about the honey? 21 Day Fix Extreme

No matter how thorough you read the materials, there are still questions that come up. When I started the 21 day fix extreme I was learning it all a little backwards. Since I started with the extreme version there were some holes. I understood a lot more when I went back and read the basics first and then realized how the extreme version differs.

The biggest question that I had was about HONEY! Agave included in this honey talk. The (extreme) booklet states it is not allowed when sweetening coffee however it can be found in recipes and Autumn herself even talks about adding it to her oatmeal while doing the extreme fix herself. What's up with that?!?

In the regular fix you can find it mentioned on page 15 of your booklet when it states 1-2 tsps can be used to sweeten your tea or coffee. I saw a lot of talk on message boards and people were counting it as a grey spoon. Honestly I wasn't happy with that solution. I still wanted to know how to count it. The spoons are for oils and nut butters which both contain fat. Raw honey doesn't contain fat, but is mainly a carbohydrate and sugar; which are configured in the yellow container and purple. I only got two spoons a day so I didn't think it was fair to count a carb/sugar as a spoon when I should be getting the benefit from oil or nut butter.

Finally through searching and message boards I found that honey up to 4tsps can count as a freebie. Moderation is key to everything right. SO I'm NOT counting it as a grey spoon. Now I just gotta finish out my eight remaining days of Extreme and honey is making it's way back into my diet.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Monday MoA visit

Monday, Kyle worked from home part of the morning then he had the rest off so we were able to get out of the house. Cabin fever is starting to set in and everyone is getting store crazy. 

They changed the exhibit at the mall's satellite children's museum; it is now dinosaurs. We had to check it out after a quick lunch. Kyle and I can't really eat out on our clean eating challenge so we packed some hard boiled eggs (protein), our own dressing, and picked up a clean salad at one of the restaurants. Ever heard of freshii? We hadn't but we were able to get a big salad and the girls got a brown rice bowl. Isaac insisted on a hot dog so he got that from another spot. 

After lunch we made our way into the 'museum'. They still had the ball exhibit in the back, which the kids spent 75% of their time in so it's an obvious hit. I see why they kept it. 

Here's Isaac collecting balls under the tornado bowl:




Wish some encouragement we were able to get the kids to explore the Dino area. Emma became immediately attached to the eggs. 


Mary liked exploring as well. 


She favored the slide 

There was a sensory area for fossil digging. It was cut up tires. 


Back to the ball section for more fun. Isaac really liked this which he called 'tic tac toe' 




Starting to be obvious nap time was nearing: 


Quick photo on our way out. The triceratops is Isaac's favorite dinosaur. 


On our way out of the mall we stopped in Barnes and Nobel to pick up Isaac's first chapter book. At his preschool screening she recommended starting on chapter books. I think he's excited but still likes his picture books. We've been reading a chapter or two a day. 

21 Day Fix Extreme

So we're on day 12 of this clean eating/fitness program and I am really impressed. When we started this challenge my goal wasn't really to lose weight but instead to get back into shape and feel better overall.

Back around Halloween I bought the PiYo program from Beachbody (mixture of pilates and yoga), it was a great start and way to ease back into working out. It's a low impact work out which I wanted for my knee since it has been so long since I've done any activity. I loved it! Kyle did the majority of the workouts with me and he also enjoyed pushing his own flexibility. 

The PiYo program introduced me to shakeology (aka: shakeO). ShakeO is a protein drink packed with dense nutrients. At first I was kind of suspect to all the hype but after trying a few samples from a friend/my coach I experienced what all the hype was about. Kyle typically grabs a protein shake on his way to work in place of breakfast, when he's in a hurry. He even noticed the difference between our old protein powder and ShakeO; he mentioned to me that ShakeO kept him satisfied longer before lunchtime. It's designed to first help clean you out and then let your body work to it's full potential. When we first started drinking it we had major gas, which is normal. But since then we've noticed our digestion really improve and it's a great recovery drink after a workout. Enough about shakeO; I don't want to sound like an infomercial, the product pretty much speaks for it self. 

Back to this current program. The 21 day fix is nutrition plan and fitness schedule in one. I have DVDs with 8 different workouts and they provided cute little containers for managing portion control. Depending on your weight and activity you are given a designated number of each container to eat. And since I am still breastfeeding I am bumped up to the next container level (score!). The containers are color coded per food group which makes this program a breeze. No more counting calories!! (Don't be fooled the containers look small but it is quite a lot of food - purple fruit container not pictured)
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I've done weight watchers in the past, which I love and highly recommend, but as I said I'm not really trying to lose weight but get healthy and toned. I've also done the whole counting down to the last calorie which also worked great as I prepared for my wedding eight years ago, but SO much work!! This allows me to get results I want without as much effort. And I'm only a week and a half in! I'm excited to see the outcome. I'm not gonna lie, meal planning is still a lot of work, but I have more energy, I am in a better mood, and can be a better mom so it's all worth it!! 

When I purchased the program I decided to start with the extreme version. I knew I was going to give it my all so I wanted a 'no BS' kinda program. I'm glad I did because I love the harder work outs! I dragged my feet for a while because I wasn't sure when I was going to find time to workout. But the girls' sleep became more consistent, they still aren't sleeping through the night but they are entertaining themselves in their cribs longer. Mary will usually walk up anytime between 4 and 5, I go down to nurse them back to sleep and then I go back to bed as well; Isaac then gets up at 7:00am. He used to come upstairs and lay in bed with me on the iPad while I caught some more zzzzz's. I figured that is the perfect time. So when I started the 21 days he has become my 'workout buddy' and comes up at 7 and wakes me up to workout, the workouts are only 30 minutes so I am able to tend to the girls before 8. This also gives us an earlier start to our day so I don't feel so rushed getting everyone out the door for preschool drop off. He is quite motivating saying "It's seven zero zero, get up! Get up! Time to workout!" I wouldn't be able to keep at it without him. Especially the last couple of days when I really would just like to lay in bed for another hour. This has been my motto the past week:
"Exercise in the morning before your brain knows what you're doing"

The main differences between the regular and extreme program are advanced workouts and a little stricter eating plan. But it's only 21 days and I really wanted to give it my all if I was going to do it. Honestly our meals haven't changed that much. We've always been pretty healthy eaters it is just completely clean eating now. Simple switches from white pasta/bread to whole wheat, carrots instead of potato chips, and learning to drink my coffee without sugary flavors. I even got some fun seasoning recipes that I've made to give an extra zing.
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We are saving money by not eating out and not buying junk at the grocery store. Since our portions are in check we also aren't eating as much therefore the food we do buy lasts longer. All-in-all it's been a great change. And after these 21 days we plan to continue on the regular fix nutrition with a couple cheat meals here and there. And my daily latte, that will be coming back! (Just without the vanilla syrup) :-)

So what's the catch, why am I writing this blog? Well one because I have a couple other posts I wanted to write but they wouldn't quite make sense without the back story and two if I do decide to share my progress photos you're in the loop as to what I'm doing. And thirdly I decided to sign up to be a coach. I'm not looking to make money, although it is a MLM business, my main reason is because I save money as a coach buying shakeology and other workout programs so in the end it was financially worth it. A perk that could happen is helping to motivate others just as I have been motivated. I don't like being sales-y and I don't plan to recruit people, but I do think it's a wonderful product and something I have already seen a lot of benefit from in the few months I've been exposed to this company.

If you're interested in looking into it more here is my coach link: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/daisyjsimpson

I was not sponsored to write this blog, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
All images are copyright of Daisy Simpson. It is unlawful and illegal to copy, scan, alter or edit the images in any way. This depreciates the photos value as well as my reputation, I take great care in capturing and editing each image and they are each important to me. Thank you for respecting my passion and my copyright.