Easy, Healthy Bean and Spinach Soup

Just because it’s 95 degrees outside doesn’t mean I can’t sit in the air conditioning and eat soup. It is September, after all. It’s about time to start pretending that it’s FALL! (Next stop…. pumpkin everything).

So this afternoon I threw this recipe for bean and spinach soup into the crock pot and then went about my day. Because I rarely eat a vegetarian meal, I also added a pound of cooked lean ground beef. It was a good choice.

ImageAnd good thing it was delicious, because I think there are enough leftovers for dinner every work night next week, and then some afternoon snacks when I feel like I just haven’t had enough of it.

I’ve been really into mug cakes the past few weeks, so I spend 3/4 of my spare time hunting down healthy, or at least reasonably healthy, recipes nowadays. You can check out my collection so far on my Pinterest page. Tonight I made this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (with unsweetened applesauce substituted for the oil), and it’s taking a lot not to go back and make another… kind of defeats the purpose of single-serving mug cakes.

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Be real, you pick around the nuts for the M&M’s.

Disclaimer: I’m not encouraging this. Maybe you don’t buy trail mix. But we all have that friend/family member (GRANDMA) that always has some out. Which you eat all of. Again… mostly the M&M’s.

Happy still-the-weekend time!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

 

Just a Little Time

Happy hump day! Ah, Wednesday. Not quite the Friday feeling, but definitely better than a Monday feeling. I chose to spend mine visiting my boyfriend for the day. He needed a little cheering up, and what better way than to bring offerings of food and adventure? We went to see The Lone Ranger this morning. That movie was a lot of fun! I really liked it. Like a Pirates of the Caribbean adventure on land.

We’ll be heading to the beach in a bit, but I’m passing the time right now getting in some small exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, and planks. There are just some days you can’t devote an hour to a full workout, but you can still squeeze in ten (or even five!) minutes a couple times a day and get results. Whether it be waiting for your toast to pop, shower water to get warm, microwave to finish (You put food in for one minute? Do one minute of high knees and butt kicks!), or your friend to come pick you up, see what you can squeeze into your day. Every little hit helps.

Remember me saying I was going out to lunch with my friends? The fried shrimp was tempting, but I ended up getting tilapia fish tacos with coconut rice and black beans. So yummy.
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So your lesson for today: every little bit counts. Don’t make excuses, you DO have time.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge June 29th & 30th

A happiest of happy Fridays to you! Did you have a nice week? What was the best thing that happened? What did you do for someone else? What was the best food you ate this week?

Your weekend challenge this week is to get in 300 reps of abs both Saturday and Sunday. I know that sounds like a lot, but you could do that in 20 minutes, or split it up for 150 reps before breakfast and bed. Change up your exercises to keep it interesting. (Each second of a plank counts for 1 rep- i.e. 1 minutes=60 reps.

I’m thinking about doing a month-long “subject”- maybe a “Challenge Month”. I’ve thought of a few different ones, like an Ab Exercise a Day, A Healthy Recipe a Day, Inspiration a Day, etc. Thoughts? What would you like to see? Usually contributors (you) are more creative than inventors (me), so get thinking!

This week was avocado week. I bought a bag at Sam’s (You know how they come. Packs of a million, aka five). On Wednesday night I made a turkey burger with an egg (sunny side up!), tomato, and avocado. Last night I had stuffed avocado with tuna and tomato. Tonight I had turkey meatballs with chopped up tomato and avocado (okay I was running out of time and ingredients) and brown rice. Tomorrow I’m either making flatbread or pizza with regular pizza toppings and… you guessed it… avocado! I hope I’m not all avocado’ed out by the time they’re gone, but they sure are good for you and summery.

Mom, Dad, my boyfriend, my brother’s girlfriend, and some family friends will all be here for the 4th of July. Can’t wait! Happy 4th of July to all of you, and may the fireworks be all you dreamed they would be (and the food, can’t forget the food!.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge June 22nd and 23rd

Hi! I made it! Did you? It’s time for another weekend challenge. Time flies when… life happens?

This Saturday and Sunday let’s try some cardio and abs. Three times each day, try this little routine:

50 jumping jacks
25 crunches
25 bicycles
10 burpees
15 push-ups
50 mountain climbers
1 minutes plank

It will only take you a few minutes, and will get your heart nice and pumped up in exchange for your time. Hooray for heart pumping!

Tomorrow is the last Lil’s practice of the season! Afterwards I’m driving to see my boyfriend’s new place and meet his roommates/friends. It’s always nice to put faces to names you keep hearing over and over… and over. Hopefully it’s not as rainy as the weatherman is predicting. Good thing the weekend challenge can be an inside activity 😉

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

“And inside…. MUFFINS!”

If anyone can tell me what movie that title quote is from I’ll give you something for free. I’m not sure what, but I’m open to suggestions. Just because it’s a great movie. Mom, you don’t count, but I’ll give you a hug anyways.

Tonight I’m talkin’ bout muffins. I found this recipe online. I really like it because it’s just big enough to give me an extra boost in the morning before I work out, but light enough that I don’t really have to wait for it to digest. Lots of healthy muffin recipes call for them lately, but I like that bananas aren’t an ingredient. Once I ate a banana before a 5k race and it… let’s say… came up the same way… about 100 yards from the finish line. Good news is I felt like a new women and sprinted to the end. Okay news is I know not to eat bananas before I work out. Bad news is I had to find out that way. Each muffin is around 100 calories, depending on what you put in the recipe. I’ve made these the way the recipe calls for with blueberries, but I’ve also made raisin, and blueberry and dark chocolate chip. Strawberry and raisin is in the oven right now!

The thing I changed in this recipe was to use Ultragrain flour instead of white (which I do with just about everything now). I also noticed that there are two different temperatures it says to cook on in the directions. I’ve used 400 degrees successfully each time, for about 21 minutes (but every oven is different, so watch the time!).

First, make a giant mess on the counter

First, make a giant mess on the counter

Mix the dry ingredients without letting the flour puff up in your eyes

Mix the dry ingredients without letting the flour puff up in your eyes

Put muffins in the oven. Caution: HOT

Put muffins in the oven. Caution: HOT

Sorry I got caught up and didn’t take pictures of all the steps.

In other news, I’m back into making these things called barefoot sandals. I love them and try to sell them when I can as well. I just made the awesome 4th of July one below last week . It’s so sparkly it reminds me of fireworks. I love all sparkly things. And not just because I’m blonde. You get that thought out of your head right now.

Fourth of July Barefoot Sandal. You can find some others I've made on my pinterest. I don't have an Etsy account, but if you'd like one, email or comment and we'll figure it out from there :)

Fourth of July Barefoot Sandal. You can find some others I’ve made on my pinterest. I don’t have an Etsy account, but if you’d like one, email or comment and we’ll figure it out from there 🙂

Well, they’re done! The condo smells delicious and they look even better. The recipe makes about 12, and I usually just freeze them and pull one out in the morning, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and EAT IT.

Mmmmm Close-ups make everything look more delicious. But actually these look delicious from far away, too.

Mmmmm Close-ups make everything look more delicious. But actually these look delicious from far away, too.

What’s your pre-workout snack?

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge June 15th & 16th

Either you guys need to start sending me reminders  or I need to stop having guests come visit for a while. This is too late to be posting a weekend challenge!

How did your food journal go? How long did you keep it up? Did you see anything different from what you thought you were doing? Change any habits?

You have two challenges this weekend. Your first is to complete 200 reps of abs both today (Saturday) and tomorrow. Spice it up and do some different exercises. Leg raises, full crunch, planks, side exercises, bicycles, kayakers, etc… Check out my previous posts for ab ideas, or go to the ever-reliable Google machine for even more options.

Your second challenge is to make a new, healthy recipe this weekend. Lunch, dinner, snack, whatever it is. Check out my Pinterest page here for some ideas, or try the one you ripped out of that magazine a couple months ago and have yet to try.

Headed to the pool to enjoy the sunshine today! Get outside and do some form of the same. I’m hoping to get a real post up here this week now that everything is finally settling down.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

 

Weekend Challenge May 18th and 19th… Almost

Excuse my tardiness! It almost doesn’t count as a weekend challenge when I post something on Sunday. GOSH, silly me. Between my roommate going out of town, a Skype session, and addictive jewelry making, I forgot about you! Please don’t be mad.

So today, and maybe yesterday, your challenge is/was just to be active. Do something outside, do everything outside. Go for a walk or run, go canoeing, go to the beach, plant new flowers and veggies in the garden, anything. I hope you could do this yesterday without me asking you to, but today I’m telling you to instead.

I leave for a family vacation to the Grand Canyon on Wednesday. Before that I am hoping to post some two-for-one exercises that work your whole body (for the days when you just don’t have much time, or for those who really don’t like using weights).

Have an awesome rest of the weekend!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge May 11th and 12th

Here’s to the weekend! Time to kick back and relax, whether relaxing means hanging out on the couch or doing something active with every moment of your free time, it’s the not-being-at-work part that really counts. So, how are you spending your weekend?

Hopefully you incorporate this weekend challenge into your Saturday and Sunday morning. When you roll out of bed, whether it be before you wash your face and brush your teeth or while breakfast is cooking, try to get your metabolism awake with this mini total body workout.

50 Jumping Jacks
20 Push Ups
20 Lunges (each side)
30 second Wall Sit
50 Crunches
1 minute plank

This week I made this crock pot macaroni and cheese recipe. However, instead of using two cups of macaroni I substituted half of that with about a cup or cup and a half of cauliflower. I used frozen cauliflower, heated it up a bit so I could tear it into “macaroni-sized” pieces, and dumped it in the crock pot. It was good! Something needs to be added to the recipe to give it a bit more flavor. I used a little ketchup this time, but I’m hoping to find something else to make it taste cheesier. Any suggestions?

Tomorrow is the first Lil’ Kickers (soccer) practice. The soccer portion of Lil’s is my FAVORITE! A friend I’ve known from 4th grade is visiting this week. We’ll hit up the beach and hopefully head to Disney on Sunday. One of my life mottos: When in doubt, DISNEY!

Everyone have an awesome weekend. Spend some time outside. You’ll feel better, I promise.

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge May 4th and 5th

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the weekend holiday you have one and a half challenges. The “one” because you have to and the “half” because it would be cool if you did. So here you go.

One: Try this holiday-inspired exercise. Lay something down on the floor, like a jump rope or long towel, use a tile line in the kitchen, the meeting of the wood floor and carpet, a sidewalk crack etc. Basically, you need something to jump over. Start on one side, and simply hop back and forth from one side of the line to the other. I’m calling this the “Mexican Jumping Bean.” Hop as fast as you can back and forth for 30-60 seconds Saturday and Sunday before every meal and every time you get up from sitting for a long time. Wake up those stiff limbs and that metabolism. Play some spicy music while you do it for extra credit.

Half: Find a healthy Mexican recipe to make once this weekend. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A family favorite or a new experiment. You may find some ideas here, or you can easily google something like “Healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes”.

On an unrelated noted, National Star Wars Day, tomorrow is. Use the force and stay healthy!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ

Beach-Ready Arms

Hi all! Here’s another arm day set to try. I did it this morning and I’m starting to get a little sore already. Must be an acceptable workout.

Finish all exercises in the set, rest, and then repeat a total of 3 times before moving on to the next set. How-to pictures are posted for *ed exercises below the workout.

1st Set
*
Bicep Curl with 90 degree hold  3×10 each arm
*Hammer Curl with 90 degree hold   3×10 each arm
*Wide Bicep Curl with 90 degree hold   3×10 each arm
Lat Pull-Downs 3×20

2nd Set
*
Single-arm tricep kick-backs 3×15 each arm

3rd Set
*L-Raise   3×10
*L-Rotation   3×15

4th Set
Regular Pushups 3×15
Diamond Pushups 3×15

Bicep Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Bicep Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Bicep Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Bicep Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Hammer Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Hammer Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Hammer Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Hammer Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Wide Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Wide Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 1

Wide Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Wide Curl with 90 Degree Hold- Step 2

Tricep Kickback- Step 1 (one arm at a time!)

Tricep Kickback- Step 1 (one arm at a time!)

Tricep Kickback- Step 2 (one arm at a time!)

Tricep Kickback- Step 2 (one arm at a time!)

L-Raise- Step 1

L-Raise- Step 1

L-Raise Step 2

L-Raise Step 2

L-Rotation- Step 1

L-Rotation- Step 1

L-Rotation- Step 2

L-Rotation- Step 2

I used 8lb weights for every exercise that used dumbbells. Use a weight that you really feel but can finish through all sets. The first couple times you do it, you may need to drop down in weight for your third set. That’s fine. Just finish all of the reps!

Let me know how you do!

Good Things 🙂

FS&JJ