The past month has been a whirlwind! I went on a fabulous vacation to the beautiful island of Curacao and the day after I returned it was back to West Chester to start clinicals. Now school has started and I have been busier than ever, but I love it! I wanted to pop in to share a couple of recipes, one I promised before, and another that is a new favorite of mine! First, let's start with my Sauteed Vegetable Portobello Mushroom.  This recipe is clean and followed the clean eating challenge I completed a month ago.

Sauteed Vegetable Portobello Mushroom: (Serves 1)
1 large porotbello mushroom cap
2 tbls. oats (may need more depending on how large your cap is)
1 tbls. italian seasoning
1 egg
1/2 cup spinach
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup onion

1. Take the oats and seasonings and pulse them in a food processor to a nice bread crumb texture.
2. Whisk the egg in a separate dish
3. Dip the mushroom head into the egg and then dip into the oat mixture.
4. Place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
5. In the mean time halve the cherry tomatoes and dice the onion
6. Saute the vegetables
7. When the mushroom is done flip the cap over to place the vegetables into the mushroom
8. Broil the mushroom for a few minutes until the vegetables are browned
*could also add some cheese to this step

I served it with a side of fresh homemade guacamole and oven roasted sweet potatoes!

Salmon Ricotta Quesadilla:
1 can of salmon
1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/3 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup spinach
2 tbls. diced onions
1/4 cup zucchini
1 whole wheat wrap

1. In on pain sautee all the veggies with a dash of olive oil- I'd suggest adding the spinach last because it doesn't take long to wilt spinach
2. In another pan warm the wrap
3. Spread the Ricotta cheese on one half of the quesadilla
4. Add the salmon to the Ricotta cheese- don't forget to drain the salmon
5. Once the vegetables are done add them to the quesadilla
6. Flip the one side over so you have a half circle wrap
7. Let warm a little while longer in the pan
8. Quarter and enjoy!!

I served it with a pear. This meal doesn't take more than 15 minutes to prep either.

For those of you that don't know, I am now living in a house at school so meal preparation is all on me! My new adventure in healthy eating is finding quick, simple, healthy meals! I invite you on this new journey with me as another school year approaches us. If you have any recipe ideas or meals you'd like made healthier and simpler, please comment below and I will gladly take on the challenge!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!!

Care to Share
What is your favorite quesadilla recipe?
 
 
This past week has been challenging, but I am learning a lot and really enjoying the experience. To start off the scale has reflected that I lost 5 lbs. this week! How exciting! I know that was the initial weight loss from the change, but I do hope to see a little more of a change on the scale over the next couple of weeks as well. I am not one to look at a scale for validation though. First off, I want muscle which weights more than fat. Secondly, if you feel good and are making the right choices the majority of the time, you don't have anything to be worried about!

The first couple of days was used to start feeling out how I could prepare foods. Oh, and get over the sugar withdrawl! Thank goodness for gum is all I have to say. That saved me from really cheating. From the given list I pretty much already knew what I liked and disliked on the list. Thank goodness I like everything on the list! Oh, except grapefruit! I tried it again to give it another go and I just cannot do it! More power to the people that can.

Being a pescetarian, to be "politically" correct, I knew I could use fish as a protein source. I love fish don't get me wrong, but I definitely will not eat it more than once a day and I do not want it to be my main protein source. I am working on experimenting with more beans and other vegetarian friendly protein sources this coming week. Tonight I successfully created a clean Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushroom! Check the next post for that recipe! Also, I knew I loved peanut butter before this challenge, but I am discovering that I also really like almond butter, and every other fat source on the list we are allowed to eat! Yikes! I am working on controlling those portions more.

Here are some of my highlights of the week...

Breakfast
Blueberry oatmeal with an eggwhite omelet.
Ezekiel bread toast, with an eggwhite scramble with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, onion and avocado and blueberries and kiwi. I also have elected to put some ricotta cheese in my egg scrambles because it is a great protein source!
Eggwhite omelet with mushrooms, strawberries and blueberries and Ezekiel bread toast with avocado and tomato.

Lunch and Dinner
Pan seared tilapia with sauteed spinach with garlic and mashed sweet potatoes.
Tilapia seasoned with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Her, asparagus and brown rice.
My fourth of July dinner...seasoned salmon atop green beans, chopped almonds and brown rice.
Lunch today out with my Mom was a garden salad with grilled salmon. I did not eat the bread thing.
Tonight's dinner was a stuffed Portobello Mushroom with baked sweet potatoes and homemade guacamole. Yes I can eat the guacamole all by itself!

Snacks

My go to pre-CrossFit snack is a rice cake with peanut butter! I try to use as little peanut butter, usually a 1/2 tbls.
Cucumber and tomato with garlic powder.

I think that's enough for today! Hopefully I will check in a couple of more times this week! Stay tuned for that Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushroom recipe!

Care to Share
Is anyone else participating in this challenge?!
 
 
Day 2 was easier and harder all at the same time. My sweet tooth was really trying to get me to cater to it yesterday. Especially at work! I work at a frozen yogurt shop and part of my job includes filling toppings and I get a free yogurt with every shift. Needless to say that alone will be testing my will power! I did not however succumb to the temptation. I just ate my packed snack during my break instead and I was full, in the good sense of the word. Here is what I had to eat yesterday...

For breakfast I had the blueberry oatmeal with 2 hard boiled eggwhites, and 1 with its yolk.
For lunch I had a stir fry. It did have carrots in it which are not on the grocery list, but honestly I am not sure why they aren't. Got to keep those eyes healthy! I also had a side of almonds with it.
For diner it was fish seasoned with basil and lemon, then broccoli, onions and mushrooms seasoned with fresh garlic.
At work I packed myself a snack of cucumber and tomato seasoned with garlic powder. This was quite refreshing and kept me full.

Care to Share
What's your favorite seasoning for fish?

 
 
The first day of my 30 day challenge is under my belt! I am not going to lie, I tend to be a bored eater. One of the reasons I wanted to take on this challenge is to listen to my body and learn to eat when I am hungry, not bored. Not only that, but learn to fuel my body properly. Food is meat for fuel, and too much I use it to find pleasure.

Today I am going grocery shopping which will hopefully allow me to have more snacks on hand. I am realizing I may need to have more than three meals a day, or have more prepped snacks on hand. This is going to be a great learning process and I will share everything I gain from this experience with you all!

Pre-CrossFit I had a rice cake with only 1/2 tbls. peanut butter- I have a feeling this is going to become my favorite snack!
Post CrossFit breakfast was blueberry oatmeal and a plain eggwhite omelet
Lunch was an egg over a bed of spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, onions and cucumber. The yolk served as the dressing for the salad which was perfect.
Dinner was really good! I seasoned my tilapia with onion powder, paprika and freshly minced garlic. I sauteed the spinach with garlic and served my sweet potato with cinnamon!
Is anyone else ready to take on the challenge with me?!

Care to Share

 
 
These two recipes are not part of my 30 day challenge, but I made them last week and had to share! First up is a guacamole recipe that I just kind of threw together because we had a bunch of avocados sitting around the house. There is no excuse to waste a bunch of beautiful, yummy avocados! The measurements on this are estimated because I kind of just threw it together. Guacamole is great because you don't really need an exact recipe, just the right ingredients.This also was made just for me so I didn't want to make too big of a batch.

Guacamole
2 avocados
1/2 large tomato
1/4 cup (heaping) red onion
1 tbls. fresh cilantro
1 tbls. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
 
Use these measurements as a starting point and adjust to how you like it! Chop everything up and combine!

Next up are oven roasted zucchini and yellow squash. Zucchini and squash I believe are vegetables designed to be cooked. For me they just don't cut it raw. For dinner the other night my mom and I had some BBQ salmon for dinner, so I decided to throw together some veggies for a side.

Oven Roasted Zucchini and Squash
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cut up the zucchini and squash to even thicknesses. Then spread them out on a cookie sheet. Cover the vegetables in olive oil and season. Then top with Parmesan cheese and set in the oven for 25 minutes at 350.


Care to Share
What are your favorite vegetable side dishes?
 
 
I have a proposition for you all. Tomorrow, Monday July 1st, I am embarking on a 30 day challenge. In a little over a month my family and myself are leaving for a fabulous vacation to Curacao! I am so exnamcited for some sun and sand! With that, I wouldn't mind shedding a few pounds, to help me feel a little more confident on the beaches in my bathing suit.

On Instagram I follow a personal trainer named Massy. You can follow her @mankofit on Instagram. She recently posted about a challenge which is essentially cutting all the crap and eating clean. On top of that she wants you to train mean too! Here is the grocery list for the challenge:
The challenge is to follow this grocery list and this grocery list only! When I first saw this, I was like heck no can I do this! But I know I can, and you all can, do anything we truly set our minds to. She started her challenge today, but I am going grocery shopping tomorrow so I will start my challenge tomorrow. Here goes nothing! You can't make changes without challenging yourself right?! Who's with me?! Your support system is here! We've got this! I hope to share my meals with you all and hope that you will share some clean eats with me as well! Good luck all!
 
 
One of the greatest things about faith, fitness and food is that there is always room to grow! A little over a month has past since I have come home from school.  Over the past month and a half I feel that I have been growing a lot. I have had a yearning to grow as well. Where I am in my life right now is leading to a lot of growing. My life really is centered around faith, fitness and food. I am so blessed to have so many passions. It is especially cool when your journeys in each aspect reflect each other. Right now I am finding I am growing in so many aspects of my life, including these three. Luckily with faith, fitness and food, there is a never ending abundance of knowledge that is out there for the taking!

Faithful Flourish:
This summer I am participating in an online Bible study. Once a week I "meet" online with two other students from the Newman Center and our priest to discuss that week's topic. We have a reading we must complete before the discussion. I grew up going to public school, which I loved, but was not privy to all the lessons about the Bible and our faith that Catholic school students were. Recently, I have felt a tug on my heart to deepen my relationship with God. More specifically I feel that relationship needs to be developed through reading the scripture. Last night in our meeting we discussed how delving into His word will help us grow in understanding and faith. A fellow student has been feeling the same tug, to dive deeper into the Bible. My priest shared a website called Sacred Space which discusses the readings and gospel of the day. Right after our discussion I went on their website and found that the first reading was the same passage as one our readings for the week. Talk about timing! I took that as I sign furthering my desire to dig into the Bible. With that, I am aiming to start growing my faith by reading the daily reading, gospel and referencing this website to learn more.

Fighting for Fitness:
I told you last week when I talked about CrossFit about how I really wanted to push myself physically this summer. This goal is definitely being met everyday I go to class and take on the WOD (workout of the day). I continue to impress myself with all I can do, and how I can see myself growing.I am really enjoying taking on workouts I never thought I would be able to do. At class I learn something new everyday whether its about a new workout, CrossFit, health or even myself.

Feasible Food:
Of course one of my favorite parts about being home is having access to a kitchen. So far I have been having a great time experimenting in the kitchen. At home I am fortunate enough to be able to buy organically and locally. Unfortunately, when I get back to school I will be shopping on my own and doing all of my meals on my own, which is both scary and exciting! I am currently trying out different recipes that I think I could easily make and afford to make. Once I get to school I know it is going to be a whole different story, but preparing myself a little for this new venture won't hurt right?!


Care to Share:
What are your favorite healthy and affordable meals?
 
 
Smoothies are one of my favorite summer foods! After CrossFit a nice protein filled smoothie really hits the spot.

I have recently become kind of obsessed with frozen bananas. If you blend them up they take the consistency of ice cream, making the smoothies thick. Honestly I am not a big fan of just eating a banana, I don't like the taste sometimes, but this smoothie masks the taste.  Today I did a little experimenting with frozen bananas and all the berries we had in our fridge to come up with a pretty great combo that resulted in one huge, tasty smoothie!

Banana Berry Protein Smoothie
1 large frozen banana
3/4 cup strawberries
1/2 cup black raspberries
1 6 oz. Chobani Raspberry Greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder of your choice
Almond milk (enough to get everything going)


This smoothie was so big I couldn't put the lid to my tumbler on right away! Please give this smoothie a try and let me know how you like it! My tip for smoothie making is using frozen fruits. You definitely need the banana frozen for this smoothie, but the other fruits do not have to be frozen.

Enjoy this smoothie and this beautiful summer day!

Care to Share:
What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

 
 
I finally did it! I took the plunge to start CrossFit! My only regret about starting it, is that I didn't start it right when I got home for the summer. My friend Jess, who has made some amazing changes in her life to become more healthy and fit, had been trying to get me to go to this gym since last summer. The gym I go to was not a CrossFit gym last summer, but turned CrossFit some time after the summer. Jess was able to hook me up with a free three-day pass to try out the gym. Needless to say I feel in love and haven't left since!

What was holding me back?
As you all know I thrive off of a great workout. I enjoy adding variety into my workouts, which is why I had really been having fun training myself, on my own. I have to admit though I had some apprehensions holding me back from trying out CrossFit, for as long as I have. First, I just didn't think I could keep up. I've seen the CrossFit games and different workouts posted all over websites, which quite frankly intimidated me. I basically was psyching myself out. Second, being fit in my own terms is one thing, but I didn't want to bring anyone else down around me, or better yet, embarrass myself. Lastly, the money. When researching CrossFit previously I had started incorporated a lot of their moves into my workouts. If I could do it on my own I wouldn't need to pay right? Especially when I am at school, I don't have the time for a job, which probably means not having the money for the classes. But I really wanted to try out "the real thing".

Why now?
When I got home for the summer, I knew I wanted to try something different, and really take this time to push myself. It's the summer too, so I don't have the excuse of classes and meetings to keep me from making a class time. Excuses keep us from taking on our fears and this summer I have no excuses!

What keeps me going?
One of my favorite things about CrossFit, is having a coach and other CrossFitters to push you to lengths that you never thought you could go. I have missed the team aspect of sports now that I am in college and being apart of this class has given me that team feeling again. I also, am loving the energy it gives me to take on the day! And I feel so much stronger and more confident. Confident in how I look and what I can accomplish in and out of class. Waking up early hasn't proven to be hard because I am excited to get to class. Even though I was nervous the first couple of days, and I still get nervous when I see workouts posted before the class that I don't think I can do, I am more excited to see what I can accomplish. Continually I have surprised myself with all that I have been able to do in the past couple of weeks. There are things that really challenge me like pull-ups and proper technique push-ups, but I know if I continue to go to class pushing myself as hard as I can every class then I will get better. More importantly I find that I want to work to get better rather than running in fear like I used to.

Do I really have the time?
Have I mentioned these classes are less than an hour long?! Talk about maximizing your time! On top of that I am more than energized for the day, putting me on the right foot to tackle whatever the day has planned for me, may it be work, errands or some healthy cooking in the kitchen!

What's next?
I have about a month and a half left at home for the summer. I plan on using everyday here bettering and challenging myself. Hopefully I will continue to learn a lot from the class and be able to implement what I have learned into my workouts when I have to go back to school and have to workout on my own. As I continue to learn throughout the summer I will continue to share with you all.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from my idol Jillian Michaels that keeps me going everyday..."Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!"

Care to share:
Who else does CrossFit?
What are some of your favorite CrossFit workouts?
 
 
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as I am! One of my favorite parts of summer is finally being able to experiment in the kitchen again. It has been a little harder with awkward part time work schedules but I manage to get a new recipe or two in per week. Did I mention I am working at a frozen yogurt shop this summer? Can you say heaven?!

I have a couple of recipes I'd like to share with you today. First I have a Quinoa Vegetable salad! This salad can be served warm right away, or served again cool. I really enjoyed it cooled over the following days.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad
1 cup of dried quinoa
1 orange bell pepper
3 tomatoes of choice
1/4 of a red onion
1 can of rinsed garbanzo beans
1 1/2 cups of corn
2 tbl. olive oil
2 tbl. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. basil

Instructions:
1. Cook 1 cup of quinoa in about 2 cups of water. Let water come to a boil then let sit 15 minutes to set.
2. Meanwhile dice all the vegetables and combine in a bowl.
3. Make dressing combining the olive oil, lemon and basil in a small bowl.
4. Once quinoa is done add to vegetables then add dressing.




This made a huge batch so beware! I loved it though because it has been a perfect snack to bring to work.
I even grilled up some salmon the other night with some of my vegetable quinoa salad it was the perfect dinner before a night of work!

I recently made Chocolate PB Energy Bites from The Lean Green Bean. I am experimenting with different snacks like these so I can hopefully come up with some on my own! Lindsey is the blogger behind The Lean Green Bean and I have fallen in love with her site! So many pictures and she is a true healthy blogger, blogging everyday and living a truly healthy and happy life! Here is her recipe:

1 1/2 cup of oats
2 tbl. chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup craisins
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:
1. Combine all dry ingredients, except chocolate, into a bowl.
2. Melt peanut butter, honey and chocolate together in the microwave until smooth.
3. Pour chocolate peanut butter mixture into dry ingredients.
4. Form into balls. Refrigerate and keep in an air tight container. 


Did I mention I made them along with some dark chocolate covered strawberries! Talk about yummy!
What are your favorite go to make ahead snacks?! If you don't have any yet give these a try and keep experimenting like I am.

Happy experimenting everyone!