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.

Image

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 πŸ™‚

FS&JJ

Β 

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“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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

FS&JJ

Weekend Challenge June 15th & 16th

Either you guys need to start sending me remindersΒ  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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

FS&JJ

Magical Kale Smoothie and a Kick-Butt Interval Workout

Today I am sick and I don’t know why. My tummy hurts! Being sick means cinnamon toast and other foods that are all, unfortunately, the same color. My lovely brother took care of me and brought me an “Island Smoothie” from Tropical Smoothie a little bit ago. Two things happened. First, it hit the spot. I couldn’t drink the whole thing, but what I did drink was deee-licious. Second, it reminded me of the homemade smoothie I’ve been making lately. Here’s the recipe:

Banana Kale Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 branch/leaf/whatever that thing is called of kale
5-8 slices of frozen peaches
1 small container vanilla Light & Fit yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup of milk (depending on how thick you like it, and how much liquid your blender needs to mix it)

Toss everything into the blender and blend until smooth. You don’t want kale leaves floating around in your drink (or maybe you do?)

This recipe makes a lot, definitely enough to serve 2 people, but I don’t usually have anyone to share with and end up drinking it all myself. No complaints here! Yummy! It looks green and tastes like banana. Get a serving of veggies and the only evidence is the color.

Because I wasn’t feeling well today I missed my workout (better than throwing up on the machines I always say) but I’ve been thinking of what to share with you to make up for it, because if I can’t workout someone’s got to do it for me!

This can be done walking or running, inside on the treadmill or outside in the sunshine. You can walk the “recovery” stage and jog/run the more intense parts, or run the whole thing. I’ve read in more than one place that doing a 20-25 minute interval workout can have the same benefits as a longer 40-45 minute constant cardio workout (although both should still be utilized). Interval workouts are also nice when you’re a little short on time. Try this one next time you want to spice up your cardio session:

Interval Cardio Workout
5-10 minute warmup
1. High-intensity pace for 90 seconds
2. Sprint for 30 seconds
3. Recovery Pace for 120 seconds
Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as you can or have time for. Each set is a total of 4 minutes. Give yourself a slight cool-down at the end.

So maybe your sprint is the fastest walk you can do, or your sprint is a jog and your high-intensity pace is the fastest walk you can do. Or maybe you’re intense and you’re going to run the whole thing. Maybe it will be harder than you thought and you can set a goal for yourself to not walk through any of it. Maybe you’ll have to start with only 3 or 4 sets, but want to work your way up to 7 or 8 sets. Or maybe you woke up late and need a good cardio workout in a shorter amount of time than your long run (look into Tabata for a solution also).

Whichever way you decide to do it, be thankful that paying attention to the minutes help time fly by. Before you know it, your workout will be done!

Have you tried running/walking/working out to something other than music? Pick up an audiobook for your iPod of that book you’ve been meaning to read but just can’t find the time for, or try a podcast. Check out the library for some good books on tape you can load onto your iPod. I’ve found audiobooks and podcasts to really help pass the time, especially when I wan’t in the mood to workout in the first place.

Good Things πŸ™‚

FS&JJ

Easy Peasy Salmon Squeezey… and Asparagus

I’m always in such a time crunch to get my dinner ready to bring for work (I close most nights). Enter sauteed salmon and asparagus. SO easy, and takes less than ten minutes!

First of all, let me say it makes me so happy that it’s asparagus season. All you have to do is cut about an inch off the ends, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, and toss 5-6 asparagus around until coated (adjust accordingly for more people). Sprinkle with seasoning, like Old Bay, and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until asparagus are a bit soft, like you can dent it if you press a spatula into it.

Grab another frying pan. Rub a seasoning (I love anything by McCormick Grill Mates, found in the spice and seasoning section) over both sides of a piece of thawed salmon (I buy prepackaged salmon, but fresh salmon will work just as well). Set salmon in the frying pan and turn onto medium heat. Pour low-sodium soy sauce (maybe two to three tablespoons, but i just eyeball it and give it enough to cook in) over the salmon and let it cook about 5-7 minutes. Flip over, add more soy sauce if necessary, and cook another 5-ish minutes.

I know these directions are slightly vague, but I usually eyeball most things I cook. Just saute the salmon until, if cut in the middle, it is a light pink color and flakes a bit. It’s quite easy, and very tasty and healthy. Yum yum!

Everyone have a great Friday! Try something that’s active, whether it be a whole exercise routine or just a new exercise, or a walk to the mailbox or high-fiving a new friend or telling a funny joke to everyone at work. YOU can make it a good Friday!

Good Things πŸ™‚

FS&JJ

IT’S PI DAY EVERYBODY

March 14th=3/14=3.14. You know what that means? Only that you get to look forward to a pi-themed workout and healthy pi(e) for dessert. Let’s get cracking.

The workout today will provide a good mixture of cardio and strength training. There are two workouts. One for those of you who don’t have access to weights at the gym, and one for those of you who do. Do each exercise for one minute. There will be 3 minutes of cardio (3 exercises), a 1-minute rest, and 4 minutes of strength training. Here are your options:

At Home: No Weights

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps

1: REST

4: Lunges
Push-ups
Squats (touch the floor with your fingers every time you squat down!)
Diamond Push-ups
REPEAT 3-5 TIMES

With Weight

3: Jumping Jacks
Mountain Climbers
Squat Jumps

1: REST

4: Lunge with Bicep Curl
Curtsey with V-Raise
Squat with Shoulder Press
Squat Pulse holding weight straight out in front of you
REPEAT 3-5 TIMES
*3 minutes of cardio can also be substituted at a fast pace on an elliptical/treadmill/bike etc.

And what would Pi Day be without super delicious yummy almost-homemade pie? My pick (the same one I made last year) is Easy Peanut Butter Pie. My love of peanut butter may sway my vote a bit when choosing this over a fruit pie, but I can’t resist! You’re all invited over to have a piece of mine when I come home from work tomorrow night. First come, first serve!

So happy Pi Day to all, and may you find the perfect way to celebrate!

Good Things πŸ™‚

FS&JJ