Flank Steak and Caprese Salad: Meal Planning Win

22 Jul

Good Morning!

I’ve seem to develop some sort of summertime cold.  Don’t you just hate those?  Is it allergies?  An actual cold?  A sinus infection?  Who knows?!  I seem to always make it through the winter without getting a cold, but come summertime it always hits me.

I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home yesterday as Bailey’s battle wound (hornet, read yesterday’s post) had not really shown improvement and I wanted to be able to monitor it and talk to the vet about what to do.  Brian calls me the ‘helicopter mom’, which is fine.  When a giant – liquid-filled mass forms on my babygirl, I’m going to be worried!  Plus, this is the first time this has happened and I just want to make sure we were doing the right thing.  FYI, if your dog ever has an allergic reaction to a bee or hornet sting, benedryl and ice will do the trick.

Speaking of Bailey… this weekend Brian and I received something truly awesome from my sister’s boyfriend.

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A gorgeous painting!  A while back, I asked if he would consider painting a picture of her and when he agreed he made sure to keep it a surprise the whole time.

Well, we couldn’t be happier with the picture he chose and wasted no time hanging it in our living room.  Love that face.

Last night, among a bunch of different errands, I managed to find my way to the grocery store to stock up for this week.

Meal Plan

Monday: Flank Steak and Caprese Salad

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Hash with Friend Eggs

Wednesday: Turkey Wraps with Salad

Thursday:  Bourbon Glazed Chicken and Quinoa

Friday: Wing It

Saturday: Company Picnic/Leftovers

Sunday: Spaghetti Arrabiata

Into my shopping cart went:

  • Tomatoes (3)
  • Sweet Potatoes (2 medium)
  • Bell Pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Jalapenos (3)
  • Corn (2)
  • Peaches (2)
  • Chicken Breast (1 lb.)
  • Flank Steak (1 lb.)
  • Turkey Deli Meant (1/2 lb.)
  • Greek Yogurt (4 individual sized)
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Organic Eggs
  • Chicken Stock
  • Frozen Pizza
  • Hibiscus Lemonade
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (Boxed variety)
  • Frozen Fruit

Grand Total: $80.49 – Anything under $100 is a win in our household!  Meal planning is the best.

The rest of the evening was spent cooking this delicious summer meal.

Meat

Meat 2

Meat 3

(If you’ve never cooked flank steak before: Season your steak with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set your grill to medium high and grill each side for 5 minutes for medium rare.  LET THE MEAT REST for 10 minutes before slicing up portions against the grain and voila!)

Playing ‘Heads Up’!  Note to self: Brian does not get song references.

And watching cute dog videos.

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It was an awesome night!

Summer Fun

21 Jul

Hello!  Hello!

What a crazy/fun summer weekend we just had.

There were birthday celebrations with tacos and STRONG margaritas.

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Family before picture:

family

Family after picture:

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:)

There were picnics by the lake:

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and hornet stung faces (my baby!)

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There was lots of walking, and running, and skipping, and hopping.

Brial shower attending.

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and of course… lots of eating.

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That’s what summer weekends are made of.

Burgers & Beer 5k

16 Jul

There is a 5k for just about anything these days… obstacles, food, holiday’s, costumes, etc.  The ones I tend to be drawn to are ones that involve good food and good beer at the end :)

A while ago, my coworkers and I decided to sign up for the Burgers & Beer 5k by Solider Field because we knew it would be warm in July and we figured it would be a good ‘happy hour’ experience.

When I sign up for low mileage races and know that a lot of eating and drinking will occur afterwards, I try eat a really healthy breakfast and lunch so that I don’t ruin the whole day ‘health wise.’  On Monday, I had a Quest bar for breakfast with a juicy peach and sushi and seaweed salad for lunch.

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Light, yet filling and full of protein and carbs.

At 5:30 p.m., we headed over to the race.  It was a PERFECT night for a run – warm but with a nice cool breeze.

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When we got to the start area, we took our time checking our gear and checking out the free swag that was there.  One thing I loved about this race was that the event was well organized and also very low key.  I think there were only a total of 600 or so runners that actually ran the race.  One thing thing that kind of sucked, but was hard to avoid was the fact that it was run on the Lakeshore Path.  The Lakeshore Path is a beautiful and flat path to run, but it is open to the public.  There were lots of bikers and other runners weaving in and out of the race which made it pretty congested for the first mile.

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Once it thinned out a bit, we really hit our stride.

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… and the views, well they were unbeatable.

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(Special ‘thanks’ to Tracy for her awesome photography skills!)

As an avid runner, I really enjoy 5k’s.  They aren’t long enough for my body or mind to start hurting, but they are long enough to fit in a good workout.  If 5k’s aren’t easy for you, I encourage you to keep at it and sign up for some!  There are a lot of inexpensive races that you can sign up for that go towards a good cause.  The Burgers and Beer 5k donated a portion of their proceeds to the Special Olympics and there were a lot of Special Olympians there to cheer us on!  It was a really awesome sight to see :)

Once we finished, we headed directly to the Burger tent to grab a Billy Goat burger.  I actually never had a Billy Goat burger before (a Chicago staple) and I have to say they were pretty good! The patty is super thin, so if you ever go to the real place, be sure to order a double!

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We also got to choose between a 312 or Goose Island Pale ale which really hit the spot.

The Rainbow Cone people where there as well (another Chicago staple), which was a first for me again.  A night of firsts!

Overall, I would recommend this race to anyone who is looking to have a good time and fit in a workout at the same time.  It’s not the best race for those who are trying to accomplish a PR due to the congestion on the Lakeshore Path.

What fun 5k have you participated in recently?

 

Liebster Award

15 Jul

Hi friends!

Genevieve, over at Broke Girl Fitness, nominated me for a Liebster award!  This award is given from bloggers to bloggers that have smaller followers to help promote their blog and get their names out there!

Liebster

Once you are nominated, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Answer the 10 Liebster questions give to you by the blogger who nominated you
  • Select 10 blogs with a small following to nominate for the award
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees
  • Link back to your nominator
  • Inform each of your nominees of your nomination

Simple as that!  Thanks, Genevieve for the nomination.  Be sure to check out her awesome fitness tips over at Broke Girl Fitness and see the answers to her questions below!

 

1.  You are going to be stranded on a deserted island for a year and you are allowed to bring 3 pieces of exercise equipment.  What would you bring?

  • Yoga mat – To stay off the hot sand and use as a possible flotation device to get off the island.  Do they float?  Oh and to practice yoga, of course :)
  • FitBit – To see if being by an ocean really does improve sleep.  And to track all my awesome steps since I’m stranded on an island
  • Soccer Ball – I would have plenty of time to practice my sweet moves and also so I could have a friend. WILSON!!!!!!!!!!

2.  What is your summer cocktail?

watermelon

3.  What time did you get up this morning?

  • 5:30 a.m. – yaawwwnnn.

4.  Where would you retire?

  • Tough question.  Since I plan on being rich one day, I want to have multiple homes.  But I believe my home base will be in Hilton Head Island, SC.  It’s one of my favorite places in the world and I would eat fresh shrimp daily.

5.  Sweet or salty?

  •  Salty.

6.  What was your dream career growing up?

  • I wanted to be a professional soccer player just like Mia Hamm

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7.  What is your dream job now?

  • Retirement?  KIDDING. … wait, am I?

8.  What is your favorite sport to watch vs. play?

  • Favorite sport to watch: Football – DAAAAAA BEARS.
  • Favorite sport to play: Soccer obv. – See question 6.  Tennis is a close runner up.

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9.  If you could invite three people, living or dead over for a party, who would they be?

  • Brian – awwww, I know.  Whata lush I am!  But really, the kid knows how to drink and is very conversational.  I’m the awkward one in this relationship, so he needs to be there.
  • Kaley Cuoco – She is funny and shares my passion for dog rescues and pitbulls.  We would have so much to talk about!
  • Mindy Kaling – I like to surround myself with people who are just as awkward as me. – Yes, I realize Brian would be the only man at this party, but I don’t think he would complain ;)

10.  If someone’s underwear was showing, would you tell them?

  • I guess it depends on the context of the situation.  I want to say yes, but I can definitely think of some instances I wouldn’t.  ie: If I walked by a drunk kid in Wrigleyville passed out on the grass or if it was a little child whose parents might think it was super creepy if I said something, etc.

That’s it folks!  Here are my nominations:

  1. StateEats by Katharine
  2. Sweet Endeavors by Erica
  3. Miles for Thought by Ani
  4. The Sideache by Kari
  5. Forage & Bloom by Meg
  6. Shh… Fit Happens by Sarah
  7. The Trendy Trainer by Caroline
  8. The Hungry Running Girl by Janae
  9. Windy City Running Girl by Natalia
  10. A Trail Runner’s Blog by Scott

My Liebster Questions:

  1. If you could visit any place in the world where would it be?
  2. Are you a cat or dog person? Or just not a pet person?
  3. What is your daily breakfast routine?
  4. What is your favorite go-to summer recipe?
  5. Where do you go or what do you to do relax and de-stress?
  6. What workout fad have you been itching to try?
  7. What was your favorite television show as a child?
  8. If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
  9. Where/what is your favorite restaurant?
  10. What’s your favorite tech gadget?

Watermelon Gin Fizz

14 Jul

Another great summer weekend has passed.

Friday after work, Brian and I headed over to our friend Pete’s house for dinner prepared by the lovely Diane. Pete recently moved into a new condo, so we were very eager to check the place out and spend the evening relaxing on his new outdoor patio. Upon arrival, we were greeted with the most delicious drinks… Watermelon Gin Fizz’s.

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These babies were dangerous! Perfectly refreshing on a warm summer night, but not too sweet where I would wake up the next morning with a hefty hangover.

The whole evening itself was wonderful. There where homemade cheese nips, grilled tequila lime shrimp, avocado and arugula salad, marinated flank steak, southwest quinoa and key lime pie!

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Amazing.

We took our time nibbling our way through the courses and enjoying each other’s company. The next morning I decide that I MUST try and recreate the drink and turns out I was pretty successful in doing so!

Watermelon Gin Fizz

watermelon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed (about 4-5 cups)
  • 8 oz gin
  • 8 tbs. lime juice
  • 1 cup club soda. tonic or ginger ale
  • Lime wedges for garnish

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Directions:

1. Puree the cubed watermelon.

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I was able to do so using my brand new Ninja Blender!  I have been loving this thing and will be posting more recipes while I experiment with it.

2. Pour juice in an ice filled serving glass and top with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 1 tablespoons lime juice and a splash of club soda, tonic or ginger ale

3. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

I’m telling you this is the drink of the summer.  When Diane served this to us, she was fancy and froze about a cup of cubed watermelon to serve as the ‘ice cubes’ instead of using real ice.  How clever!

Workplace Wellness

9 Jul

Good morning, good morning!

I am feeling extra peppy today… want to know why?  Perhaps it’s all these awesome endorphins I have running through my body! Remember the wellness committee I’m a part of at my work, kFit?  Well, we rolled out an awesome new program called the kFit 60 Day Challenge.  This challenge/event, was a year in the making and my coworkers and I are so happy/proud that it has rolled out successfully.

We partnered with a personal trainer to bring our employees a comprehensive wellness challenge that would help exercise both their bodies and their minds.

Each week, we are given a set of workouts to complete either at home, or together after work.  Some people might be a little timid to workout in front of their coworkers, but I think it’s awesome.  As our trainer would say, those who sweat together, stay together!  The trainer also includes weekly blasts with nutritional tips and how to manage stress.

Yesterday after work, I attended one of the fitness classes and we completed this High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

kfit

The numbers at the top are the sequence of reps we had to do, and the names of the interval workouts are below.  For example, we would complete move #1 (downdogs) 15x, move #2 (Geckos) 15x, move #3 (UPA/Bridget) 15x, etc.  Then we would do it all again but with 20 reps, then 25 reps, then 20 again and finish of with 15 reps – NON STOP.  The goal was to finish the entire workout in 30 minutes.

This workout kicked my booty, literally.

After the class, I rushed home because i was STARVING.

On the menu: Turkey Tacos

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Feed me.

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I know I may be a lush about corporate wellness stuff, but I cannot stress how important it is in the workplace.  Every company should advocate wellness whether it is physical or mental.  Changing your lifestyle is your own decision and ultimately no one can change your behavior but yourself.  Employers, however, have a tremendous opportunity to see the value in adopting this change and help to reinforce the healthy behavior.

When I started at kCura over 3 years ago, I was significantly over weight and unhappy.

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(Hilton Head Island, 2010)

Since adopting a healthier lifestyle I find myself more energized to go to work and more productive while I am there.

5(Hilton Head Island, 2014 – 45 lbs. healthier and happier)

Workplace wellness also helps set the tone of a companies culture.  When a workplace create a supportive environment that keeps employees engaged, that in turn helps to motivate employees.

I think a lot of employers are slow to adopt this view because they don’t think it is worth the investment.

What I can tell from the past two weeks is that our employees are excited… and engaged… and motivated.  And our employees are the ultimate investment.

Healthy Chicken Salad with Grilled Zucchini

8 Jul

Man do I have a delicious and nutritious recipe for you!  But first… let’s recap the day.

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to take Monday off a while ago so that I could catch up on some much needed R & R after a crazy busy weekend.  While the day was awesome, I definitely kept busy!

A 4 mile run bright and early to ‘beat the heat’.

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I was lucky because there were still a lot of clouds in the sky that provided much needed shade from the sun.

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A trip to Petco.

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Bailey was so exhausted after that walk, she immediately flopped on the hardwood floor to catch a breather.

And lastly, a grocery run at Trader Joe’s for this weeks meal plan:

Monday: Healthy chicken salad with grilled zucchini

Tuesday: Ground turkey tacos

Wednesday: Out for drinks/apps with a friend

Thursday: Grilled shrimp and salad

Friday: Dinner at Diane’s (Brian’s cousin)

Saturday: Picnic with the fam – brining fresh pico de gallo and a kale salad (Willie Nelson concert at Ravinia)

Sunday: Turkey brats with parmesan zucchini wedges

Which brings me to the awesome recipe I have to share:

Healthy Chicken Salad with Grilled Zucchini

Servings: 4

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb shredded cooked chicken (I used the precooked chicken from TD’s to save on time)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 crisp apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Salt, pepper, dill, garlic powder to taste
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Olive oil spray

Directions:

Super easy, prepare yourself.

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1. Prep your fruit and nuts

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2. Shred the cooked chicken in a large glass bowl

3. Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, spices, and prepped fruits and nuts

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4. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr.

5. While the chicken salad is cooling… prep your indoor or outdoor grill with a little olive oil over medium high heat

6. Slice the zucchini in half horizontally (hot dog style)

7. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper to taste and add to the grill.

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8. Grill both sides for 3-4 minutes each

9. Plate the grilled zucchini and add 1 heaping scoop of cold chicken salad on top

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ENJOY!

This is the perfect recipe for a hot summer day and is loaded with all sorts of good veggies, fruits and protein from the Greek Yogurt.

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