deconstructed stuffed zucchini

Does this count as a new recipe? I think it should.

I know I just posted a recipe for stuffed zucchini boats a few weeks ago, but I was inspired by the overflowing of stuffing that prevailed over the zucchini shells. And well, zoodles are popular and I have to keep up with the times, you know?

Zoodle the zucchini.

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Cook the sausage first. Add the zoodles, black beans, corn, and red pepper.

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Mix in the marinara sauce. Plate it. Voila!

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Served with a side of rice and unseen spinach.

Wait…that was so much easier and faster than waiting for the oven to bake this dish to goodness.

Always learning around here, we are.

I’ve Just Been Collecting Food Pics

Hi! I’ve been a bad blogging lady lately and I have no excuses. I’m back with a vengeance and a ton of pictures of food as my trojan horse back into your hearts.

Let’s start with this smoothie I threw together before work one day when I was hungry but didn’t feel up to eating (a rarity for certain). This bad boy includes ice, half a banana, spinach, strawberries, a scoop of chocolate peanut butter, greek yogurt, and a mixture of milk and water. Note to self: smoothies look far nicer in glasses than in the blender you mix it in.

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A protein-powered waffle smothered in peanut butter and jelly and plated prettily with chopped banana.

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My most frequently eaten breakfasts as of the past few months: a scrambled egg and egg whites with cheese, toast, and a medley of fruit.

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This morning’s egg and egg-white omelette with cheese and ham, a blueberry english muffin, and fruit.

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Moving onto lunches, we’ll start with a packed salad and turkey burger. When it came to eating, I think I enjoyed the salad separate from the turkey burger I stuffed in a small whole wheat pita with hummus.

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Leftover turkey burger with a side of veggie-filled pasta salad I made a huge batch of for lunches. Recipe to come tomorrow!

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A chopped salad with grilled chicken. The colors speak for themselves.

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I’ve got one picture of dinner to share. Whoops. Turkey burger, salad, and fresh corn.

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A few pictures to prove I’ve still been getting my sweat on. Side planking.

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Post-run glamour shot. It’s been H-O-T.

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A picture to prove that not all fit bodies are the same (in response to the super model who tried to body shame another woman at a gym of all places).

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Keep it real, folks! I’ve got a recipe and some big news to share coming up this week.

Spiralizing Queen

If it’s a vegetable, I will spiralize it. So maybe I’m a little late to the vegetable noodle game, but my mom and I have embraced the madness and our lives are forever changed. I mean, maybe zucchini noodles just seem more fun than the simply chopped zucchini coins, but the taste seems to have been upped too. It could be scientific, might not be. You can either challenge me, or just spiralize it up too!

Monday means meal prep day, especially considering that Tuesday is a long one, and I got to cooking (and spiralizing) up a storm to make sure I fit in all my nutrients. First up, zucchini! I lo-ove zucchini. There’s an insane amount of zucchinis in my fridge and they will all be eaten within the week.

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It’s a beautiful thing! Side note: I started watching How I Met Your Mother in full and so far, it’s been an excellent life choice.

Next, we find the startling creature: the sweet potato.

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I tossed each separately into pans with garlic and olive oil.

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That’s all the zucchini needed, but I did a little more for the sweet potato and created a recipe I am excited to share with you all in the near future! *I can’t give away too much in just one post!

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Final creations of meals are to come, but the options are endless!

Now onto the weekend: After work on Saturday, I met up with my friend Alison to get lunch and then headed to the gym with my sister and brother-in-law to fit in a butt kicking workout. We just ran through a quick total body strength circuit before I hopped on the treadmill for an interval run. Almost fell off trying to watch the Red Sox on the TV screen to the right of me, but I kept my stride!

Sunday included a double-header softball games that led to one of my fears coming true! I play catcher, but since this is a slow-pitch league, there is no equipment, and I took one off the head! It all seemed to happen so fast and I didn’t have time to protect myself, but thankfully, the bruise is covered by my hairline and I don’t think I was concussed. It was scary and I was in a bit of shock as I walked off the field. The wooziness a little later was more from the tequila I enjoyed with lunch than any side effects of my injury, probably.

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And yeah, of course, I had to snapchat this moment. I was a wounded warrior!

The rest of the day was spent being productive, doing laundry and writing up all the workouts for my clients for the week. I also did a fair bit of writing, which felt so good! Now onto Monday and figuring out what to concoct with all those veggies!

Tacos and Weights

Before I prove to you that I make the best tacos you could ever imagine, I also want to inform you as to why you should be lifting heavy. Not only would it take added supplements, an insane diet, and hours in the gym for a woman to get “bulky,” but muscles need to be exerted in order to grow and the best way to do that is to lift heavier. For awhile, I’d been focusing on endurance lifting, but it wasn’t pushing me enough to my limits. I realized I needed to put more effort into lifting heavier on the compound movements, like squat presses, deadlifts, and so on. It works!

I initially lost ten pounds, but for a few weeks the scale hasn’t budged, and yet, my clothes are fitting better, I’m feeling trimmer and a whole lot stronger.

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It’s very serious business, as you can see from my expression, but I think it adds to the idea that the scale is only one way of checking in on yourself, and it’s not even the best way. We know how we feel, whether we’ve had a good week or bad, if those clothes are loose, tight, or just right. We tend to focus on the flaws and not the positives, but when you start working out, doing something that purely benefits only yourself in the best way possible, you’ll start to notice the strengths. You’ll want to push yourself, treat yourself right (indulgences included!), and you won’t need the scale to tell you whether or not you like yourself that day. Strength training doesn’t only offer physical benefits and for that, I couldn’t recommend it to you more!

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The other day marked four years since I graduated college, which seems insane, but that also means I have maintained my 100 pound weight loss these past four years. People always ask how I did it, the weight loss and the maintenance, and it’s a question I ask myself all the time.

It certainly helps that I love working out- not every day, but even then, when I have to push myself to go, I always feel better- as it helps with my anxiety and has become a part of my every day living. Exercise is so important and can be healing in so many ways, especially strength training (seriously, lift those weights!), but it’s only a fraction of the entire picture of healthy living. Number one, you have to be positive. So often, I hear my clients remark negatively on their bodies and themselves and it makes me sad because no matter what, you need to love yourself. You also have to be mindful, when you’re eating, exercising, working, spending time with family and friends, watching your favorite movie or shows, going for a walk, everything that you do because it’s life and life is precious and fleeting- something that I’ve learned the true reality of these past few months.

And then there’s food, this strange thing that we put into our mouths to fuel us. In our society, and in most societies, food is not simply fuel. It’s part of celebrations, outings, and daily living. Food is meant to, and should be, enjoyed. For people who struggle with their weight, on either side, it’s become the enemy. I am not afraid of food. I love eating and I don’t shy away from it. I just have higher expectations for it. We all have our favorites that should be eaten and enjoyed, in moderation. Many people tell me that moderation is the problem, that they can’t stop at one serving and so they’re better off depriving themselves. This is when positivity and mindfulness kick in. Know what you’re eating, enjoy it while eating, and be satisfied when you’re done. There is a learning curve, but it’s worth it. Trust yourself and your trust in food will grow.

That leads us to those tacos.

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They start with warmed corn tortillas, a sprinkling of cheese, sliced zucchini and red bell peppers, fresh grilled chicken, a dollop of sour cream and guacamole, and chopped jalapeños. I enjoyed these immensely with a side of sautéed spinach for a hit of greens and felt so full and satisfied when I finished. This is good eating, fresh food, all the right nutrients, and a little splurging. We don’t always have time to put creations like this together, but there are simple ways of choosing the right foods and putting them together to cook something great.

Put some time and effort into yourself and the things you enjoy because so often, life is about these simple things.

Quinoa Three Ways

At least Monday’s bringing some sunshine! It was a dreary weekend after a dreary kind of week weather-wise. Friday night included some curling up on the couch time watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, which was disappointing. Saturday was a full-work day that was followed up by a long run on the treadmill, not friendly for these hips, and more time curled up on the couch watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, even more disappointing. I was up early again on Sunday for a softball game, followed by Mother’s Day celebrations. I ended Sunday with a massive load of laundry, which always feels so productive, while watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, far more satisfying!

This morning, we jumped right into some food prep for the week! I haven’t made quinoa in forever, so I decided to get a little fanciful. Quinoa three ways!

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First up’s quinoa with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta!

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Next we find quinoa with cilantro and lime, a little knock-off from Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice.

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Finally, we have caprece quinoa with fresh tomato, mozzarella, and balsamic vinagerette! I’ll enjoy this one for dinner tonight as it won’t last as long as the others in the fridge.

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To go along with my delicious quinoa concoctions, I made a batch of Tasty’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, which are amazing!

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Fret not, I didn’t forget my greens! This zucchini and spinach dish (mixed with a little garlic and olive oil) will have to be replenished a few times over to meet my needs for the week, but it’s a start!

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I’ve got meals to keep me fueled and workouts planned to keep me strong. Starting off on the right foot!

I would be remiss not to flash a picture of my breakfast this morning. This time, I went with the peanut butter Kodiak Cake waffle mix, and I was not disappointed. And look at those berries! (Butter is difficult to spread).

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