This weekend was a little bit backwards from how my weekends normally go – mostly because of the weather. Saturday started off cloudy and rainy, and I had to go into work for a few hours in the morning, so I decided to get all my weekly chores out of the way right off the bat.
After work, I headed straight to the gym to get in one more workout for the week. Being at the Y on a Saturday morning between 9 and 11 is really not fun to me because of how crowded it gets, but luckily by the time I was finishing up, it was clearing out.
Despite the crowds, I do love Saturday workouts because they often mean I can spend as long as I want in the gym. I can move slower, spend more time on things I want to work on, and practically get as much in as I feel like with nothing pressing to rush off to. That’s definitely how it went this weekend, and it was good to spend some extra time stretching and working on some new moves that I’ve been trying to master.
Here’s what my Saturday workout looked like:
- Warm-up + stretch
- Back squats:
- 12 @ 95#; 10 @ 105#; 8 @ 135#; 5 @ 155#
- 5×3: 185#; 155#; 135#; 105#; 95#
- 15×3 @ 35#:
- Shoulder press
- Upright rows
- Front squats: 5×5 @ 95#
- 1 Snatch + 5 Overhead squats x10 @ 55#
- Squat cleans: 5×5 @ 553
- Sumo deadlift high pulls: 5×5 @ 55#
- RDLs: 5×5 @ 55#
- Snatch drills
After my long workout, I headed home to clean my apartment and do my laundry, stopping for lunch in between. I wanted Mexican, so I cooked up chicken and peppers in a pan on the stove with chili powder and cumin, and had some chips and salsa on the side.
The rest of the day was spent shopping for new workout pants (found a pair at TJ Maxx) and running errands. And while I was out… all I was thinking about was pizza. I haven’t had pizza in quite a while, so I was thinking about stopping to pick one up, when the idea hit me: cauliflower crust pizza. I’d been wanting to try it out for a while, and with some time to kill and a craving for pizza, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It came out absolutely wonderful too, so I’ll definitely be sharing the recipe later this week.
I woke up early on Sunday and started the day off with a big batch of extra-green spinach banana pancakes with syrup, berries, and bacon. I’m not quite sure what went wrong this time, but they all stuck to the pan and it was rather devastating. Luckily they were still delicious (even if they weren’t that pretty), but I think it might be time to buy a new, non-burnt pan…
After breakfast, I hurried off to meet up with a couple friends to hike Mt. Monadnock. It was the absolute perfect day for a hike – sunny and warm but not brutally hot.
Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea as we did because the parking lot was packed, but luckily the trail didn’t feel crowded at all. We took a trail I’d never done before, which seemed far less-traveled than the main one, and we only passed by a few other groups the entire time.
The clear skies made for picturesque views all around, and I took it all in from the top. I’m severely directionally-challenged, but on a clear day, they say you can see Boston from the summit.
How lucky am I to live in such a beautiful place?! (The correct answer would be: pretty dang lucky.) I absolutely love it here.
Once we made it back to the base, I headed home and spent a couple hours out lounging by the pool at my apartment. It wasn’t quite warm enough for me to want to take a dip, but it was nice to get a little sun.
And the last stop of the day was the kitchen for some meal prep. Since I did groceries on Friday, my fridge is absolutely filled to the brim with food… Chicken, steak, eggs, fruits, and veggies galore!
This week, I decided to take the easy route and make one batch of meatloaf filling and turn it into two different types of meals. Sometimes I make a meatloaf that lasts me practically an entire week, but I’m so sick of it after a few days that I’m shoving it in just to keep from wasting it.
To avoid that, I combined a pound of ground turkey, two plum tomatoes, one green pepper, one egg, about 1/4 cup of almond flour, and a couple tablespoons of tomato paste (ingredients: tomatoes), to make the base. Then, I put half of it into a loaf pan and topped it with bacon, and made half of it into meatballs. I baked both in the oven, cooked up some green beans to go with the meatloaf, and peppers to go with the meatballs (I’ll probably add fresh spinach when I actually eat them), and voila – two very different meals.
I don’t usually add tomato paste to my meatloaf, but I tried it out for dinner last night, and I think it was a great choice. I had it leftover from Saturday’s pizza, and it definitely gave the meatloaf an extra kick and made it nice and moist.
I also had quite a few bananas laying around, so I made a batch of banana bread muffins using three bananas, six eggs, about 1/3 cup (maybe?) of almond flour, a big tablespoon of coconut flower, a pinch of baking soda and baking powder, four teaspoons of coconut oil, and a crapload of cinnamon. (I’m so precise, I know.) Since the loaf pan was occupied with the meatloaf, I used my individual brownie pan, and they came out wonderful. It made six pretty large muffins, which would be perfect for either breakfast or dessert!
So between working and spending too much time at the gym and shopping and cooking and hiking and napping by the pool… this weekend certainly flew by. Sometimes though – like in this case – that’s the sign of a really good weekend, so you won’t hear me complaining. We’ve only got so many summer weekends to enjoy, and I think I’m off to a good start!
What did you meal prep for this week?
What did you do this weekend?
Do you like hiking?
So I have a new recipe for you, but I feel I have to caution you because I’m not sure that everyone will like it as much as I did. I was going for a regular banana bread, but what I ended up with was an overly-moist, banana mush in loaf-form that could probably be considered “bread” only if you think liberally about the term.
So, yeah. Consider that my formal PSA.
But if you’re adventurous with food, like me (I say that with just a tinge of sarcasm because I’m really only “adventurous” with the foods I already know I like, and I’m not sure that counts), you might want to give this one a try. The ingredients are all pretty wholesome, and despite the texture being a little bit mushier than your average banana bread, the taste is still really great. Warm, it almost reminded me of my strawberry chocolate chip baked oatmeal, which is definitely one of my favorites, and cold, it did take on more of that traditional banana bread feel.
I served it up on Memorial Day Monday with a particularly patriotic assortment of fruits, and it made for a seriously delicious breakfast.
- 4 medjool dates, pitted
- 3 bananas (the more ripe, the better)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- Preheat the oven to 350*F.
- Pit the dates and put them in the food processor, blending until they are fully chopped and form a ball.
- Add the peeled bananas, eggs, and yogurt and process until fully blended.
- Add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend fully, then do the same with the dry ingredients.
- Grease a loaf pan with butter or cooking spray (or use a non-stick pan) and pour in the batter.
- Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The outside will get golden brown but the inside will still be pretty moist.
- Let cool and serve (or eat warm!).
I picked up that new grass-fed yogurt at the Co-Op this weekend, so I really wanted to start using it right away, but you might want to forego the yogurt if you’re going to try for a less-moist version. Next time, I might also try using more almond flour, or subbing it out altogether for coconut flour, which absorbs moisture much better and might give it a more bread-like texture.
Like I said, this one’s a little different… but you can’t say I didn’t warn you. I was a little skeptical about how moist it looked at first, but the taste is really delicious, so I don’t have any complaints whatsoever. It may not be exactly like every other banana bread I’ve tried, but hey, it’s good to switch things up every once in a while!
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling a little blah – really tired, and not motivated to workout at all. I think it’s just because I’ve been go-go-going all the time for the past couple of months, and I need a break, but it still sort of gives you an uneasy feeling when you’re not yourself.
Then, the other night, I came across this picture on Instagram:
I don’t remember this quote from the movie, so I could be taking it totally out of context, but still, I believe it. When you’re faced with something, you can either dwell on it, worry about it, and stress over it (like I usually do), or you can choose to look at it from a positive perspective, tackle it head on, and overcome it.
Sure, me feeling a little less-than-energized certainly isn’t the biggest problem going on in the world right now, but it’s still applicable. I could lay in my bed and cry about how lazy I feel, or I can just embrace it, take some time off, rest, relax, and recover. And that’s what I’m going to do!
Attitude change #1: I did make it to the gym yesterday morning, but my neck was killing me, and I really just wasn’t feeling it (again), so I did some heavy 5×5 shoulder presses and a WOD with 5 rounds of 9 cleans, 6 push presses, and 3 overhead squats at 55lbs and called it a day. Normally, I would’ve beat myself up over the fact that it wasn’t as “intense’” as I would’ve liked, but instead, I gave myself a lot of credit for just getting out of bed and moving around a bit.
Attitude change #2: For breakfast, (after going back and forth with the whole should I?/shouldn’t I? debate a million times) I decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a chocolate chip bagel. Normally, I would abstain because of the inevitable stomach ache, and then the whole feeling-bad-because-I-knew-that-would-happen thing… But you know what? I wanted a bagel. So I got a bagel. And I enjoyed every bite of it.
Attitude change #3: Instead of sitting at my desk during lunch, wishing I was at home/in bed/at the beach/anywhere-but-here, I took my food and my book outside to the picnic table. I brought chicken (with crushed red pepper), and brussels sprouts and broccoli (with sundried-tomato and basil spices and olive oil) that I roasted in the oven, plus carrots, figs, and a dark chocolate square, and it was delicious.
I read a bit, and then my friend joined me while we ate – and it’s seriously amazing what a few minutes to yourself, some delicious, nutritious food, a little bit of sunshine, and good company can do for you!
My afternoon snack was a sliced Fuji apple with a handful of fruit and nut candy crunchies… delicious.
Attitude change #4: I had plans to workout with my friend after work, but when the day ended, all I wanted to do was go home and veg. That initially made me feel like a huge slacker, but instead of feeling bad about it, I decided to enjoy it. Free time doesn’t always come about that easily, so why not take advantage of an evening with nothing to do and just… do nothing?
For dinner, I heated up another serving of meatloaf + mashed cauliflower, this time adding green beans to the mix. To cook them, all I did was put them in a bowl with a little water and microwave them for a few minutes… easy peasy!
The rest of the night was spent on the couch… thoroughly relaxing. I caught up on a couple TV shows, read a little of my book, and got to bed early.
This morning, my alarm went off at the usual time… and I promptly turned it off and went back to bed for two more hours. I woke up the second time feeling like a million bucks – and not guilty at all.
There’s almost nothing you can’t overcome with the right outlook, so if you’re facing challenges right now – whether they’re big or small – I’d encourage you to change your attitude about it too. You will be surprised what just a small shift in perspective can do for you!
Have a great day!
Boy, have I got another great recipe for you today!
A few weeks ago, my coworker brought in this cashew crunch he bought at the store, and I loved it. It was made with nuts… seeds… and lots of sugar. But it did give me an idea to try and make my own, and I’m happy to say that the first attempt was a success!
My wonderful dad saw my post about kitchen gadgets and decided to give me his food processor, which is pretty much exactly like the one I was thinking about buying. (Thanks, Dad!) I put it to the test for this recipe, and it worked like a charm.
I think I’ve demonstrated pretty well by now that I’m not good at measuring out recipes, so I apologize, but I really don’t think you could mess this one up. Basically, I just threw a bunch of stuff together, hoped for the best, and luckily, the results were great.
For the base ingredients, you could really use any of your favorite nuts, fruits, or other trail mix ingredients, but I used a handful each of:
- Raw cashews
- Raw almonds
- Dried apricots
I put each into the food processor (one at a time – I’m still new at this) to chop them up, and then threw all of it back in together once more to get it good and mixed. I used the pulse function so that it was chopped, but not pulverized; you still want to be able to distinguish between the different pieces.
Once everything was all chopped and mixed, I transferred it to a bowl and added a few tablespoons of honey. (I really just squirted it straight into the bowl, but “a few tablespoons” sounds more professional, doesn’t it?) Using a rubber spatula, I mixed it all together until it formed sort of a sticky, sweet mass of goodness.
Then, with the oven preheated to 325*F, I sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread out the mixture. I didn’t press it down or pack it together, but kind of just let it gently fall into place and then spread it out with my hands a bit. If you wanted more of a granola bar type deal, you could probably form it into a bar shape, pressed more tightly together, but I was going more for a broken up, chunky kind of thing.
I baked the mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until it was just starting to brown on the top and edges. (You don’t want to burn it, but if you undercook it, it will just be a melty, sticky mess.)
I let it cool on the cookie sheet for a while, before scooping it off with a spatula into the tupperware container I’m storing it in. It wasn’t quite as crunchy as the cashew crunch (all the sugar helps give it that crunch), but it was certainly sweet, chewy, and delicious – with a slight crunch from the nuts.
And besides that, it’s made with only real, natural, wholesome ingredients… and you can’t really go wrong with that! Of course, I never seem to make the same recipe twice (mostly, again, because I don’t actually measure things) but my head’s already spinning with ideas for other variations. A dark chocolate variety, perhaps?
What would you put into your version?
I’ve had an avocado in my fridge for quite some time now, and I’ve been waiting
patiently for it to ripen so that I could make a very special recipe out of it. I think you probably all know by now about my obsession for chocolate, but I’ve been really trying to get it in check in my pursuit of eating better. That said, I knew I’d have to replace my nightly dark chocolate chip extravaganza with something so that I didn’t end up dying a slow and painful death from chocolate withdrawals, and that’s where I was hoping this recipe would help!
A while back, I’d seen the recipe floating around Pinterest and on Julie’s blog, and it looked totally delicious. Then, when I saw it in my new Practical Paleo cookbook, I knew I finally had to try it. I was a little nervous about the ingredients but hey, if I can learn to love spaghetti made out of squash and spinach smoothies, why not chocolate mousse made with avocado? Just because it sounds weird doesn’t mean it tastes weird!
Last night, I finally pulled the trigger and attempted the recipe. My first problem, which I knew would be a problem going in, was that I don’t own a food processor. I decided to go ahead with it anyway though, using my GNC blender instead. I dug out the flesh of the avocado and into the blender it went – with my fingers crossed.
Along with the avocado went about 4 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, a couple teaspoons of honey, and a splash of water to get it all going. While this is all that’s included in Julie’s recipe, the Practical Paleo also calls for a ripe banana, and I would’ve included it if I’d had one. I think it would add a lot for the texture and sweetness, and I’m looking forward to trying it next time.
After a lot of blending, I ended up with a glorious chocolate masterpiece. It may not look like much, but let me tell you: it was delicious. I’m not a fan of avocados in general, but if you had asked me what this was made out of and I didn’t know, I never would have guessed. I swear.
Aside from the lack of banana, the only other drawback was that the texture wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted it to be super creamy and smooth, and it was left a little chunky, as the blender didn’t quite do as good of a job as a food processor would have. That said, who wants to lend me their food processor so I can try it again? I promise there with be some chocolate avocado mousse in it for you.
I dipped some strawberries and fresh pineapple in it last night, and it was the perfect dessert-like snack. I’m already brainstorming all the other things you could do with this delicious concoction: dip graham crackers in it, top it with almonds, eat it straight out of the bowl with whipped cream and Oreos… Okay, maybe that last one is more of a dream, but it would make a really delicious chocolate cream pie filling.
I’ll be sure to report on a revised ingredients list and a food processor update next time I make it… because there will definitely be a next time!
Have you ever tried this recipe? What do you put in it?
Do you own a food processor and would you recommend buying one?
What weird ingredient combos do you love?