Health & Fitness Grade = A.

Yesterday was a surprisingly health-focused day, and, with the exception of my workout and Zumba, the extra emphasis on health was not even planned. If I could hand out a letter grade for being “health-focused” for the entire day, I’d give myself an A. Normally, I’m a B student on the “health-focused” grade scale. I was able to balance health and fitness in several different ways: 1.) I stayed focused on healthy eating at every meal and snack time; 2.) I explored the new Lexington farmers market at the University of Kentucky; 3.) I pushed myself in the weight room with a tough lower body/leg workout; 4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba; and 5.) I “attended” an informative Twitter chat about Soy Protein, which was organized by FitFluential and Solae. Let’s break these activities down:

Salsa Lime Tofu. So delicious!

1.) My overall food and nutrition intake was on par and I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I had an omelet for breakfast, oatmeal for a midmorning snack, Salsa Lime Tofu with veggies & strawberry banana Chobani for lunch, a Green Monster protein smoothie for dinner, blueberries and a piece of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious and nutritious, just the way I like it.

Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus.

2.) I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus. While I love the grocery, I really enjoy shopping for locally grown produce. I mingled with the very people who grew the food before my eyes. I love asking the vendors questions about their produce and I’m always amazed by the new knowledge I take away each time I go. I stopped by a vendor offering samples of strawberries and they were divine! They were juicy and delicious down to the very last bite. I wanted to buy a carton, but they were all sold out. (I would have bought the rest of these samples if there wasn’t a line for them already!) Hopefully strawberries will be at the market next time.

Free pedometers were being handed out to the employees in attendance, so I gladly accepted. It’s nothing fancy, but I’ll where it at work to keep track of my steps taken throughout the work day. I’ll test it out and see what number I’ll get today. While I try to stand a lot at my desk, I don’t do too much walking. This just might be a wake up call for me to get moving even more.

3.) Yesterday’s strength training was focused on my lower body. And boy, did I workout my lower half. Having a weekly training plan has helped me concentrate on getting more out of each and every gym sessions. When I came to my final set, I thought about giving up. But winners never quit, and the pain only makes you stronger. So I pushed myself and I didn’t regret it. Today I’m feeling that good kind of soreness you get after you’ve put in a good workout.

Workout Proof. Don’t mess with these “guns”.

4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba once again. After reviewing my thoughts, I’ve found that letting loose with my coworkers and simply moving my body after a long day of work – even if it’s not pushing me physically – helps make me feel better about my over all wellness. I didn’t realize that I had previously placed a pressure on myself to get a good workout in every time I had previously attended a Zumba class. I would always feel stressed because I couldn’t figure out how to get more out of it.  By switching my focus now on the enjoyment of the activity, I’m more in the spirit to dance off stress that has built up throughout the week. I simply feel better going to that group class now without feeling the pressure of a workout.

5.) The soy protein Twitter chat organized by FitFluential and Solae was informative and left me wanting to know more. Since I’ve  been upping my workout routine, higher protein intake is a necessity for me. I always use whey protein in my smoothies, but I’ve recently started limiting the amount of dairy I take in. Personally, I’ve found that limiting dairy  improves the way I feel. Soy protein is fairly new to me and I want to learn more. I had a few questions answered during the chat, but I also came up with more questions that I’d like to research before ditching whey completely. The two things I learned from the Twitter chat are: 1.) Whey is a “fast” protein because it’s rapidly absorbed; Soy protein is“intermediate” & casein “slow”, taking several hours for the body to absorb, and 2.) Soy Protein contains more glutamine & arginine than whey protein or casein. I still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed the little knowledge I did gain.

Have you entered my giveaway going on now from SlimKicker? There’s still some time left! SlimKicker wants to give one of my readers a 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Imagine all of the healthy, easy to prepare recipes where you can use this, like my Mexican Salsa Chicken recipe. There’s still time to enter to giveaway! Read all about how you can win, here.

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

I’m curious to see what today holds. This evening after work, I’m hoping to attend a “skirt! After Work” party for a grand opening of House, an interior design and housewares store in Lexington. They’re having a grand opening sale and Saul Good, one of my FAVORITE Lexington eateries is catering. Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you incorporate soy protein into your daily diet? If so, how?
If not, how do you make sure you get enough protein into your daily diet?

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Grocery Love.

I absolutely love to grocery shop. Honest. There is no sarcasm in that statement. Is that strange? I find myself looking forward to the trip to grocery every single week. I only shop for one (me), but I plan this trip each week, browsing weekly sale ads, gathering coupons, and reading up on new recipes that might inspire a new grocery store purchase. I enjoy the budgeting aspect because it’s something I can control and I feel accomplished knowing that I’ve picked out healthy items while staying in my budget.

Grocery shopping is a game. I think about it in these terms: how can I get the best value for my dollar? I define value as: 1.) quality- is the food nutritious and healthy? 2.) taste- will I enjoy the food without wasting any portion? and, 3.) price: is the food within my budget?

Another aspect that makes shopping enjoyable is using the application for my phone called Fooducate. Have you ever heard of it? To use Fooducate, you open the application on your smart phone and scan the bar code on the package. (Or you can enter it manually and search the term.) Then, Fooducate grades the food choice giving it a score (A through D-); it also points out positives and negatives about the item. For example, it will tell you if a controversial/artificial additive is found in the food or if it’s high in sodium/sugar etc. It also points out good nutrients. One of my favorite features of Fooducate is that it offers healthy/healthier alternatives to the item you’ve scanned. Many times this allows me to purchase food that is a grade level better. It’s a helpful tool and eye opening for sure. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday’s grocery shopping trip was fun. I had several coupons to use on things I was already planning to buy. (Side note & budget tip: when using coupons, be careful not to clip coupons for things you wouldn’t normally buy. Even though you think you’re saving money, you’re actually spending money that you didn’t intend to in the first place. This is why a list is important. Write down a list and stick to it!) Here’s a shot of the week’s worth of food I purchased yesterday, and remember, it complements things I already have in my pantry, fridge and freezer:

Just a few highlights:

  • Coupons: I used coupons that basically gave me 4 protein bars for $1.00. I had a coupon for Nasoya Tofu that made it less expensive than the generic brand.
  • Bananas: The HUGE bunch of bananas was only $1.22. I’ve never bought so many bananas. Good thing I simply freeze them and use them in smoothies. I’m set for SEVERAL weeks.
  • Quinoa: One of my food goals was to cook with Quinoa. I finally am going to give it a try. I bought a bag of organic quinoa from the bulk food section of the grocery store which saved me about $2.00 for the same amount in the prepackaged section.

This food after coupons was a grand TOTAL OF$22.00

I should note that I did make an additional “grocery” purchase on the way home from Kroger that I am not including in this budget. I purchased a new whey protein powder to try. Mom and Dad had previously given me a gift card, and I used that to purchase the protein powder. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!!) So, technically this didn’t come out of my personal finances. I’m curious to try this flavor that combines my two favorite food items: Chocolate Peanut Butter. Yum.

*If I would have included this in my grocery total, the combined total would have been $36.88.

After putting everything away yesterday, I had a delicious, protein packed lunch that included a tuna salad (a quick version of this recipe) on a bed of organic spinach and a side of vanilla greek yogurt with blueberries. Lunch also included an exceptionally jar of water.

While doing my Sunday chores of laundry, cleaning and planning out my week ahead, I prepped my lunches for the work week ahead. I’ve been in a tofu mood lately, so I made my Salsa Lime Tofu recipe.

Well, it’s time to start my Monday. It’s looking like a busy week. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite brand of protein powder and what’s your favorite flavor?
What does your week look like? Busy? 

Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie.

I’m thrilled to share a new smoothie recipe with you. I mixed things up this week, and while it was hard not adding peanut butter to my smoothie, I think I created another fabulous protein smoothie. Here’s the refreshing beauty:

I’ve named this the Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie because the ingredients reminded me of a neapolitan ice cream sandwich. Also, it is a green smoothie because I’ve added spinach. If you can’t get past the color of traditional Green Monster Smoothies, this may be a great introduction to adding greens. This does NOT turn out green. Instead it’s a pretty, light pink color.

Neapolitan Green Protein Smoothie

Ingredients
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup of strawberries (I used fresh, but frozen are perfectly fine)
1/2 cup of light vanilla soy milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1 ounce of fresh organic spinach
2 ounces plain greek yogurt
3 grams of dark chocolate chips (I used 60%)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (for thickening)
6-8 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients and enjoy! I decided to add a dash of cinnamon to the top of my smoothie.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 315, Total Fat: 4.5g, Sat. Fat 1.8g, Cholest. 53.3mg, Sodium 215.1mg, Carb. 32.7g, Fiber 6.5g, Sugars 17.6g, Protein 36.5g.
 

I hope you give this smoothie a try. It’s a delicious treat/post workout/replacement meal.  I’m off to start my work day. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Do you have a favorite protein smoothie recipe? Please do share!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Smoothies & Dinner Parties.

It’s Saturday! Time to sit back, relax and sleep in…except I don’t sleep in. I’m an early bird even when I don’t have to be. I don’t have plans until 10:30AM and yet I’ve been up since 6AM. I was hoping to open the windows and watch the sunrise, but Lexington is having thunder and lightning storms right now– which to me is equally amazing as a sunrise. I read a little bit from The Daily Fix, and finally decided to get out of bed around 7AM. I had one meal on my mind for breakfast…a green protein smoothie!

I jumped out of bed and started gathering the ingredients to make my refreshing green smoothie, perfect for a warm morning like today. BUT I discovered I was completely out of my MOST favorite peanut butter in the world, Krema Peanut Butter! I thought I had another jar of this in my pantry, but now I’ve learned this will be the very first thing to pick up when I go to the grocery. So, what to do? Last time I was grocery shopping, I picked up a packet of Justin’s Nut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut to be exact.

It seems everyone in the health & food blogger world raves about this all of the time, so I decided to give it a go. I added half of a packet to the blender and was curious to find out how this would change the overall flavor. I definitely could tell a difference, and it added a good, flavorful variety to my green smoothie. It tasted a bit “nuttier” than when I use Krema peanut butter, but I think I’ll have to try it again to know which I prefer. I liked the added chocolate flavor, too. But the thing I really like about Krema is that the peanut butter has only one ingredient: peanuts. This little packet had a few more ingredients on the list:

Organic or not, Justin’s still has added sugar and salt. I measured out the rest of my ingredients using my favorite kitchen tool, my scale, and blended away. With the exception of the peanut butter, I used this recipe for my refreshing green protein smoothie this morning. I poured this into my recycled salsa jar and enjoyed this at my dining room table and sipped on it as I watched the rain through my window.

Today is a bittersweet. I’m meeting one of my best friends for brunch at 10:30AM, kind of an early lunch for me since I will have been up for a while. She’s moving away tomorrow to begin a new chapter of her life. I’m thrilled to see how her dreams are becoming a reality, but I’m a little sad for me because I selfishly want her to stay. She is an exceptional friend, knows me better than I know myself. I’m blessed to even simply know her. So, we decided to have a final coffee date before she heads out-of-town.

Tonight, I’m hosting a little dinner party for some fairly new friends. And while I haven’t known them long, I feel like I’ve known them forever. They’re a very special couple that I love being around. Every time I’m with them I’m both inspired and challenged to become a better person. I know they enjoy chicken and I have some chicken in the freezer that I can’t seem to use up because I know I’m not going to eat much of it. Because it’s Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d make a little Salsa Chicken in the crock pot and throw in some black beans and other veggies. I’m feeling a bit inspired by this Gooseberry Patch recipe, sans the tortillas.

This “flexitarian” will make sure there’s a salad or steamed vegetables to enjoy. I’m still a little unsure about what to make for dessert, but that will come together. I’ll let you know what I’m inspired to make later.

I hope you’re all in for a great day ahead. Anyone watching the Derby?

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What’s your favorite peanut butter / nut butter brand?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Lex Eats | The Corner Cafe

You know I love smoothies. I have one nearly everyday.

There’s this little cafe in Lexington, Kentucky that opened about a year and half ago called The Corner Cafe (and yes, it’s literally on a corner). I pass it nearly every evening on my drive home from work and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. Numerous times I’ve been stopped at a red light outside of the cafe, and I’ve read through their advertised menu: smoothies, lattes and wraps. I finally gave it a go and pulled into their parking lot on the corner yesterday afternoon. If you frequent my blog, you know I love making protein packed smoothies. I consider mine pretty great, so I was taking a risk trying someone else’s creation…

And WOW! I was thoroughly and pleasantly impressed with this little cafe. Immediately walking in the front door, you will notice there’s something different about this place. It’s not your typical Jamba Juice or Tropical Smoothie pretending to be healthy yet offering menu items loaded with added syrups and sugar or only traces of actual fruit. No, it’s not that at all and I am relieved by the difference. Instead, The Corner Cafe promotes health from its core. The decor is a composed of a cool slate grey and black color palate, seemingly minimalistic. While the menu has several options that include smoothies, lattes and wraps, the true speciality is the smoothie selection. Rich Vaux, the owner, suggested that I try the #12 (Banana Raspberry Blueberry Smoothie). It’s much different from the typical green smoothie I make at home.

The #12: Banana, Raspberry, Blueberry Smoothie. Ingredients: Banana, Raspberry, Blueberry, Whey Protein Powder and Multi Vitamin Supplement

Friends, let me tell you that this smoothie was delicious. It wasn’t overly sweet. As a person interested in nutrition, I appreciate that there was no added sugar or syrups. What truly sets this place apart from all of the “trendy” smoothie joints is The Corner Cafe’s attention to  health and nutrition. My monster of a smoothie (24 ounces) was packed with 24 grams of protein and was only 290 calories. With all of the smoothies choices on the menu, customers have the option of adding in a supplement like weight loss, fiber, energy or vitamin. I chose the multi vitamin.

This #12 was very filling. Usually I get the “munchies” in the afternoon, but this smoothie stayed with me all evening long. And while I didn’t choose the energy supplement, this meal replacement gave me quite an energy boost, too. If I ever need a boost to get me through a slump in my work day, I’ll remember The Corner Cafe.

I enjoyed talking with Rich, the owner of The Corner Cafe, about health and nutrition. Though he claimed not to be an expert, his personal study and interest in health matters provided for great conversation and he offered helpful insight on overall fitness. Thinking about stopping in? The cafe offers free wi-fi, so feel free to bring a laptop and stay for a while. (I think I may write some future blog posts from this place.) Another cafe perk includes a frequent reward card where, if you buy 7 smoothies you get the 8th one for free. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, look for The Corner Cafe’s special deals. When I stopped by yesterday, The Corner Cafe tweeted a limited time smoothie deal of $3.99 for any smoothie, regularly $5.39. Additionally, if you appreciate mixed media artwork, pieces by Keith Linton of Louisville, Kentucky are on display and available for purchase. You have to stop in to The Corner Cafe if only just to see this unique artwork.

One down, six more to go until my Free Smoothie!

Final Thoughts: The Corner Cafe is NOT your typical fad “diet” smoothie joint. The owner genuinely cares about promoting and providing healthy options for his customers. If you’re looking for an over the top, extra sweet, “fruity” drink, this isn’t the place for you. BUT, if you’re looking for a healthy, delicious and nutritious, good for your body meal replacement/recovery drink that’s made with REAL fruit, no added sugar or syrups, is very filling and is local, try The Corner Cafe. You don’t know what you’re missing, but I do. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

While other options are offered on the menu, from wraps to lattes, a smoothie is a must try at this location.

The Corner Cafe is located at 384 S. Mill Street #125, Lexington, KY. They are open Monday & Wednesday 8:30AM – 8PM, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 8:30AM to 6PM, and Saturday 11AM to 4PM. Find them on Twitter @The_Corner_Cafe or on Facebook.

Wishing you the best. katie

*A special “thank you” to Rich Vaux for allowing me to come review The Corner Cafe. It truly was a pleasure and the smoothie provided was the best I’ve tasted in Lexington. Wishing you lots of success in all you do and I’ll stop in again soon.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Have you tried The Corner Cafe? Leave your review in our comment section.

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Refreshing Smoothie and Healthy Munchies.

So. Good. Period.

I have a new, refreshing Green Protein Smoothie to share with you. It’s not too sweet, not too mild. It’s simply a perfect balance. The flavors blend very well together, nothing overpowering, and the drink provides a refreshing energy boost.

Ingredients:
1/2 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
2oz of Fage, 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2C Vanilla Soy Milk
1T Krema Peanut Butter (You can use any kind of Peanut Butter you prefer, but my favorite is Krema. No salt, no sugar, just straight up creamy peanuts!)
1C Organic Spinach
1/2 Frozen Banana
1/4T Xanthan Gum (Used for thickening. I use Bob’s Red Mill which I found at Kroger.)
3g  Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips, 60% (Why not enjoy tiny bits of dark chocolate in the mix? Plus, this only equals 4 chocolate chips when measured on the kitchen scale.)

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 327, Total Fat: 12.7g, Sat. Fat 1.9g, Cholest. 25mg, Sodium 152.6mg, Carb. 27.6g, Fiber 5.8g, Sugars 14g, Protein 29.5g.

This smoothie is so refreshing and I am confident you will enjoy it. I tried so hard to scrape out every last taste in the my jar/glass! For additional protein packed smoothie recipes, visit my Recipe page.

Last night I was feeling a bit munchy, but I wanted to eat healthy. Days I work out harder make me really focused on making the right choices. I think this “being focused” mentality is created because I know I worked hard to maintain and progress my overall fitness and I don’t want to waste the effort I exerted.

I was looking for high protein, lower calorie snacks. Something that would satisfy me for the evening. I also wanted something crunchy, but not carb loaded. So I had a dilemma. I had to get creative.

While watching American Idol, I decided on 1 container of vanilla greek yogurt (Kroger brand) topped with 1/4C of bran flakes with just a dash of cinnamon. This gave me about 15 grams of protein and about the same carbs. I’ll take that all for under 135 calories.

I have a busy day ahead trying to wrap up some last-minute details for a work event happening this Saturday. So, I’m running out the door as soon as I finish my energy boosting breakfast, coffee included of course! Here’s a look at what I’m currently chowing down on for breakfast. I was going to add in some fresh basil, but I thought I’d let my plant mature for a few more days.

My morning 3 Egg White Omelet, loaded with veggies, spinach and tuna.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What are your favorite high protein or healthy late night snacks?
Who are you cheering on for American Idol? 

Sweet Basil & A Healthy Tuna Salad.

Before I get into today’s thoughts, let me share with you what I’m thoroughly enjoying for breakfast right now:

This is a real winner on a chilly morning like today.

Breakfast includes Maple Brown Sugar & Pecan Oatmeal with Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cinnamon (an excellent pantry staple item), Vanilla Greek yogurt with a dash of Cinnamon, and amazingly smooth Chocolate Truffle Coffee.

On a side note, the Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie that I enjoyed for yesterday’s breakfast was delicious. It was a bit sweet, but it tasted so much like dessert. It was thick and filling. I couldn’t finish it all. It also kept me full of energy all morning long.

How did you spend your Earth Day 2012?

I had grand plans for a nice picnic in the lawn, with the sunshine on my shoulders and a good book in hand. Didn’t happen. WAY too cold for me. So instead, after church I went to the grocery to restock my fridge for the week. On my way home, stopped by this cute little nursery called Sunshine Growers to pick up a Sweet Basil plant so I can have fresh herbs when I cook. The gentleman there was very nice, helping me pick out just the right plant and offering growing tips.

Do you see all of those UK flags? GO CATS!!!

On my way home, I put the small basil plant in my car’s cup holder next to my coffee cup for safe transportation.

Basil Car Seat

A car seat for my new basil plant. This herb made my car smell amazing.

Reusing a planter I had on hand, I quickly potted my new Sweet Basil plant and it’s now enjoying some sunlight in my sun room.  That’s one way to celebrate Earth Day 2012, right? One thing I love about Basil is that it’s truly a great plant for those of us who have apartments. They don’t need to be outside. Just simply some sunlight and water.

I can't get enough of this beauty.

Last night I played around in the kitchen and came up with a delicious and nutritious Tuna Salad recipe. It was SO good. It made 5 servings so I’ll be having this for lunch throughout the week. How about I share my recipe with you?

Tuna Salad – Makes 5, 4 oz servings

Ingredients:
2 cans of chunk light tuna
1/2 cup Fage 0% PLAIN Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup cucumber slices
1/4 cup Vidalia onion
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all together and refrigerate. Even more flavorful the next day. I added this to a whole wheat pita pocket and topped with 3 slices of Roma tomatoes. The Nutrition Information below is for the Tuna Salad only, per 4oz serving.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 89, Total Fat: 2.6g, Sat. Fat .7, Cholest.92.8mg, Sodium 178.4mg, Carb. 2.3g, Fiber .2g, Sugars 1.6g, Protein 13.9g.

I’m excited to let you know that I  am having a guest post on the blog tomorrow. For all you single ladies out there, he’s really cute and a real gentleman. (I can plug him because I’m his sister.)
Some exciting news, my Green Monster Smoothie was featured on TUiN as a Dinner Idea. Thanks for the feature, TUiN!

Wishing you all the best. Katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
How did you celebrate Earth Day 2012? 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on TwitterPinterest and more.) 

Addressing Dressings & A New Recipe

Yesterday’s post was a popular one. I’ve never had so much traffic to my blog in one day. It’s good to know what interests you, my reader. And thanks for all of the great discussion which I’ll dig into in just a bit. But first, here’s a glimpse at what I’m enjoying for breakfast and it’s a new recipe!

A look inside the blender...what could it be?

I know it’s not pumpkin season, but that didn’t stop my pumpkin pie craving I had this morning. Luckily I had some canned pumpkin in my pantry. To make this Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie you’ll need the following ingredients:

Only a few ingredients needed for this sweet smoothie!

  • 1/3 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/2 c. vanilla soy milk
  • 1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 6-8 ice cubes
Blend together and then top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 271, Total Fat: 3.6g, Sat. Fat 1.2g, Cholest. 50mg, Sodium 125.3mg, Carb. 30.8g, Fiber 7g, Sugars 14.7g, Protein 31.2g.

Let’s discuss yesterday’s post. Someone brought up the point that they couldn’t believe I’d eat salad simply plain. They raised a valid point that some dressings do contain healthy fats and oils our body needs. And yes, I agree completely. I wasn’t avoiding dressing on my salad because I think dressings are bad for you. When I make salads at home, one of my favorite dressings is salsa. It’s a low-calorie dressing alternative (between 10-15 calories per serving), plus the tomatoes, onions and peppers add a nice, nutritious flavor to the salad. The reason I skipped the dressing at the buffet was because I had no idea what ingredients were in the dressings offered. There seemed to be a cream based and a vinaigrette based dressing.

Without seeing the ingredient list myself, I wasn’t sure how much sodium, fat and sugar might be in it. I knew I wanted to save my calories for foods I though would be worth it, so I decided to skip the dressing this time. I know that not everyone enjoys plain field greens, but I’m the odd women out and actually do enjoy the flavor of the greens and vegetables in their natural state. I hope that helps clarify that decision from my point of view.

Today is Earth Day.  I know it’s not much, but to celebrate this day, I’m planning on picnicking. I think it’ll be just a picnic for one today. I love the idea of picnics. I can’t believe I’ve never had a picnic date before. It’s on list of things to do. More specifically, “Take a midnight picnic with the one I love” is written on my bucket list. I sound like such a romantic. A girl can dream…

I’m off to church and then to the grocery to restock my fridge for a week’s worth of healthy meals.

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite salad dressing or dressing alternative?
How are you celebrating Earth Day? (For inspiration, here’s a list of ideas.)
What are some things on your bucket list?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! Leave a reply here or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information on following me on TwitterPinterest and more.) 

Healthy Fridge | One Week, One Person.

I was glad to arrive home yesterday evening after a long, but absolutely fantastic weekend. After a full day at the office and a much-needed trip to the grocery (remember this empty fridge?), I basically got a total body workout in from the multiple trips unloading my groceries and luggage from my car up and down the flights of stairs. I was pretty wiped out. No matter how relaxing my weekends away are, the driving can get to you because you pack so much driving in a short amount of time.

There was so much to catch up on when I got home, so I knew I needed a protein, energy packed dinner. I bet you can’t guess what I had for dinner. Here’s a clue: it was green, it was delicious and it was gone in 60 seconds. My Green Monster Smoothie!

After downing the smoothie, I did a very deep cleaning of my fridge before restocking with the groceries I purchased. I don’t like to overstock the fridge. When I grocery shop, I generally stick to the perimeter of the store where I find fresh produce. By not shopping the inner aisles, I am avoiding the all too tempting cookie and baking aisles. The only times I venture away from the edge of the grocery is when I need to purchase my stock  items like oatmeal, tuna and frozen vegetables.

As I talked about in yesterday’s post, I go visit the grocery once a week, usually on Sunday’s except when I travel. This helps me focus on healthy choices for each week ahead. Plus, I stick to a pretty tight grocery budget and sticking to staple items keeps me from spending frivolously on things that I don’t need and things that I know aren’t healthy.

Here’s a peek inside what my typical fridge looks like. You may think it’s still a little bare, but since I just have to make meals for simply one, aka me, this is plenty.

You’ll notice:

  • I LOVE eggs. I really do have an omelet almost every. single. day. There are vegetables for my omelet like Roma tomatoes, Vidalia onions, organic spinach, tuna
  • Greek Yogurt. I can’t say enough about it. I have several different varieties in fridge this week. I’ve decided to figure out my favorite brand/flavor and review them for you. Stay tuned…
  • Krema Creamy Peanut Butter. Seriously, this is my favorite peanut butter out there. (I am not getting paid or was given anything to say that.) I particularly like this peanut butter because of its nutrition facts: the only ingredient is peanuts. There is no added salt, sugar or hydrogenated oils. This is the peanut butter I use in my smoothies.
  • I keep some fresh fruit to add in my oatmeal, enjoy in fresh salads, or try in smoothies.
  • A random Subway sandwich. I’m definitely a stay at home and cook your own food kind of girl, but I am impressed with Subway’s choices. Have you read any of the Eat This, Not That books? They always rate Subway as an “A” restaurant. I took advantage of Subway’s  April BOGO promotion yesterday when traveling back. I’m always one for a delicious, nutritious meal. This one is basically a 6 inch Veggie Delight, no cheese/dressings, and with added an egg white patty for protein. It’s on wheat bread.
  • What you can’t see: In my crisper drawer, you’ll find a BIG bunch of kale and A couple bunches of organic spinach.

Of course there are other items, but that’s the highlight reel of my typical, healthy fridge.

You may be interested to know that I recently added a “Contact Me” page at top of this website. You can follow me on Twitter where I like to post photos, follow me on Pinterest where I pin health and fitness interests, or you can email me with questions, interests, discussions, ideas, etc. I love to hear from you!

Well, I’ve got to hurry on off of here and work on a little side project I’m working on for The Registry, a lovely bridal registry located in Historic Franklin, Tennessee. Then I’m off to my “real job” at the office.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What are typical items in your fridge? Give me the “highlight reel” of your fridge.

Weekend Pack Warrior

I wish I lived up to that title. But first, let me show you what I’m eating for breakfast:

What? No Morning Omelet, you ask? Since I’m visiting friends, I’m finding my protein intake in a different wat this morning. I’m a huge fan of greek yogurt and I am thankful that my friends always have this on hand for me. Speaking of greek yogurt, do you have a favorite brand? I can’t decide between Fage or Chobani just yet. I use Fage in my smoothies at home but tend to eat Chobani when I’m away. Strange, I know.

The place I’m staying at has one of those really cool Keurig machines, so I’m enjoying a nice hot cup of Cinnamon Roll Coffee. No add-in’s necessary as both the flavor and aroma are amazing enough. While as a guest I enjoy the  ease Keurig machine, the jury’s still out for me if I’d actually enjoy one on my day to day life. There’s just something magical about measuring out and grinding your own beans. But as a guest in a home with someone who own’s a Keurig, I appreciate the ease of being able to get up and make one cup of coffee without having to wait and see if someone else in the house would enjoy a cup, too, and without adding a mess. There are pros and cons to everything!

Anyway, back to what this post is about, a.k.a. “being a weekend pack warrior”. I mentioned in yesterday’s post “” that I travel frequently on the weekends, more this past year than ever before. Still with all of that traveling, I have yet to come close to perfecting my way of packing for trips. But I’m slowly inching my way toward being a mediocre travel packer.

I never want to pack too much because I don’t want to have to carry too much in from the car. I’m a one trip to unload kind of girl. (That carries over to my grocery shopping, too. I HATE making more than one trip so I pile on all of the bags to make it in one trip.)  I always want to be prepared for anything, from the possibility of swimming to the being prepared for a blizzard, to bringing play clothes in case I get dirty, and I always have a Little Black Dress with me. If clothes aren’t crazy enough, hair stuff takes up so much room! I never know if I’ll want to curl my hair one day and straighten it the next. I have long hair so I have to take my hair dryer. It’s simply hard to pack lightly.

Though it’s taking time, I’m slowly gaining some insight on how to pare down and pack more efficient. Here are my tips:

  • For outfits, stick to a simple, neutral color palate. I generally stick to black and white and play up color through my scarves and accessories.
  • Begin packing at least the day before you leave. I lay out my clothes the day before and then pare it down the morning that I leave. This way,  when I go to put it in my luggage I’ve thought through what I’d like to wear and when, and I’ll think to myself “Do I really need this”?
  • Never forget that if you’re travelling and you leave something behind, you’re most likely able to pick up that same thing in another city. Don’t sweat it.
  • Always keep a travel bag stocked and ready to drop in your luggage. It’s simple when you don’t have to unpack shower and bath items.  This saves you time.

Questions of the day:

  1. How do you prep for weekend or other travel? Are you a weekend pack warrior? Perhaps you can teach me a thing or two!
  2. Out of curiosity, which do you prefer: Keurig machine or traditional coffee makers?

Wishing you all the best. katie