Marvelous In My Monday…numero tres!

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Hello Loves!

Already Monday. And I had such a good weekend, I did not want it to end. This is my third MIMM so let’s get to it!

Thank you Katie @ Healthy Diva Eats for hosting!

Saturday night was so much fun. Nick and I hung out with another couple (Hi Mel & Darin!) and went to a fun restaurant called BarTaco in Port Chester, NY. After some drinks and some eats, we headed back to Stamford to continue the party. Ohhhh alcohol you get me every time.

Words just can’t even describe and I will leave it at that:

{FOOD DEVOURED! Taco’s, guacamole, tamales’ (my fav), corn on the cob, spiced cucumbers.. I mean you get the picture}

Oh why do I think I am so cool? Night always starts out nice in pictures, and then they progressively just get worse at the night goes on, ha. Fun times, though! It made for a some-what rough Sunday…not gonna lie!

I STILL made it a productive Sunday though so that I could be sure to have Monday off to a good start! 

  • First up was yummy Chobani protein pancakes. Very similar to the recipe I made a few weeks ago posted here. I added blueberries to the mix and used 1 cup of everything: egg whites, oats, and plain 0% Chobani; then mixed with some vanilla extract and some stevia & cinnamon. These were probably my best yet!!

Next time I definitely want to spice things up and use a FLAVORED 2% Chobani… I shock myself, I know! Ha.

  • I ventured off to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to stock up for the week. But who am I kidding, I will be back at the grocery store at least 2 more times by the weekend.

I spread everything out once I got home so I could take a pic for the blog. More almond milk, greek yogurt, frozen vegetables, cereal, sweet potato’s, basil, unsweetened coconut, pumpkin, trader joe’s high fiber granola bars, peanut powder stuff (not PB2, I got the one WF sells), chicken breasts, nutritional yeast, nunaturals stevia (so pumped about this!), and I am sure there are other things I am missing, but felt like i needed to name a few 🙂

Grocery trips totally set me up for the week and help me to stick to clean eating. I just truly feel my best when I eat well. It’s amazing how I feel like i can tackle just about anything that comes my way in the week, because I am fueling myself properly. Planning and shopping are all worth it!

  • One new product to note that I bought yesterday at WF is this guy:

I really didn’t like this. I had to add a ton of cereal, stevia, and cinnamon to get this down. Of course I had to eat the whole thing because I didn’t want it to go to waste. I will not be buying again…boo. I wanted to want to like it.  Live and learn.

  • I made an awesome salad for lunch yesterday with the left over arugula box, ha. I felt so creative (and I really do lack creativity, hence why by day I am an Accountant).  I used my leftover blackbean burger from Friday night and basically just threw a million different things together.

Arugula, blackbean burger, green peppers, salsa, sugar snap peas, red pepper hummus, and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Ohhh Arugula, how I love you. 

This post may be short but all the above things on a pretty hung over Sunday helped me stay on track and be sure to make this a GREAT week!

Question of the day – What is one thing you are looking forward to this week? I’ll go first: ZUMBA classes and my new routines that I am so pumped about 🙂 Saturday was such a success with the new ones! 

Weekend Ramblings

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Well hello there, Blog Readers! 

Happy Weekend! What is everyone up to?

I just taught not one, but two Zumba classes on this hot and humid Saturday morning. I subbed for a good friend Alejandra – as she is living it up at the Zumba® Convention – at the Darien YMCA.

It was really cool to see a new crowd. This class takes place in a gym with no mirrors, and I stood on a platform as I faced the class. Very new experience for me and it was a blast!

Second class was my usual at the Stamford LA Fitness. Everyone loved my new routines! Eva=happy girl this morning. Snapped a few pics of my Stamford class:

Thanks everyone for all the energy today! I had a blast!!

Some highlights from the week:

  • My friends at Chobani sent me a FREE case, all because they read my blog! How freakin’ awesome is that!! I got a box of assorted flavors – and I admit, I really am only a 0% plain kind-of-girl because I don’t like to eat added sugar AND I like to add in my own fix-in’s, but I tried the 2% strawberry banana and this was just so decadent. I loved it. The 2% was just so much creamier, too. This will definitely be added in to my daily meals every now and again. {I just like to watch sugar, that’s all…but everything in moderation, peeps}

 

Up close & personal with my 2% strawberry banana chobani, mixed with a packet of plain instant oatmeal and some yummy TJ’s crunchy unsalted PB. This was a perfect pre-Zumba snack for Thursday.

  • I had a HUGE surprise at my Thursday 5:45 pm Zumba Class… NICHOLAS worked out at LA Fitness at the same time, and he came into my class for the last few songs.   He has never seen me teach before!! I have always wanted him to at least just SEE my class, and finally it happened 🙂 He even tried to do the last few songs, and he was so cute. I couldn’t look at him as I was teaching because I’d start laughing..ha! Regardless, it totally made my night. {Un}fortunately, I did not snap any pictures, and I am sure he is very happy about that!
  • I had a half day at work yesterday and came home and made an awesome salad. I used arugula, basil, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomato’s, Dr. Praegers California Burger, 1 laughing cow chipotle cheese wedge, and salsa & Sriracha for dressing. It-was-so-good. I am getting so sick of chicken sometimes, so I love switching it up with some veggie burgers, ya know what I mean.

  • I tried the Black Bean Burger recipe from Sarah Smiles yesterday, and I need to figure out how to keep them all TOGETHER. They might have crumbled, oops. I also mixed things up a bit from her recipe (no sweet potato):

Ingredients: (Makes about 6 burgers)

– 1 can of Low Sodium Black Beans

– 1.5 cups of cooked Quinoa

– About 3 TBSP of egg whites

– A few spoonfuls of minced garlic

– 3 TBSP of red pepper hummus

– Lots of Mrs. Dash “Fiesta Lime” seasoning

– A few dashes of Chives

Directions:

Honestly, all I did was throw all the above ingredients into a mixing bowl. I then threw it into the {crappy} Magic Bullet to blend it all up into a smoother consistency.

I then coated a frying pan with coconut oil and made “burger formations” out of the mix  and cooked for a few minutes on each side.

Side note: I don’t know if I didn’t use enough oil or what, but this made the entire apartment a big smoke fest. I had to break out fans & open the windows to clear the smoke. HA. I obviously did something wrong. 2nd time’s the charm?

I have to say I really did enjoy them. Nick, not so much. But I LIKED them. I will definitely be making these again and freezing them 🙂

I made a plate of sautéed spinach in some more coconut oil and some veggies on the side. I had a very satisfying dinner.

  • Last but not least, I had a nice Friday night which ended with lots of Trader Joe’s 94% fat free popcorn mixed with 100 calorie bags of kettle corn….and some RED WINE 🙂 Yes, I love wine & drink it often, oops?

Okay friends, this smelly Zumba girl needs to get in the shower and get this day started after two intense classes. HASTA LUEGO!

Question of the day – Let’s keep things positive. What great things have happened to you this week? Or what are you grateful for this week?

Family Love

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Happy Thursday, Everyone!

Before I get into some meal, nutrition, oh and what the heck, Zumba stuff, I wanted to bring up my some of my fam.

Last night I spent some time with my lovely sisters, Jodi & Brandy. Because of our busy lives, I don’t see them too often, even though we live within 10 miles of each other.  They are 11 and 9 years older than me, respectively, and they also have kids, which means I am an Auntie 🙂 (and also why their lives are so busy!) I first became an Aunt at the age of 14, which feels so weird because I thought I was so cool back then. Now to see my nieces and nephew reaching that age, I see how young they really are! Ohhh hindsight, you are always 20/20, ya jerk.

At Jodi’s Bachelorette party last year in Newport, RI. Order from left: Jodi, Brandy, and me 🙂

As I mentioned in my Liebstar Award post, I am adopted, so therefore my siblings are not blood related to myself.  Jodi’s daughter, my niece, Gigi (who is 12 years old), said “Aunt Eva, I know you are not blood related, but you and my mommy look so much alike!” Totally warms my heart. I love hearing that….thank you, Gigi! I guess when you grow up with a family, you start to look like one another, no matter if the DNA matches or not. Agree?

Anyway – Jodi had us over to her place for a nice pasta dinner and I brought a salad – OF COURSE. I needed somethingEva-Friendly” I could fill up on 😉  Jodi made some plain white pasta (I’m sure you are all shocked that I ate it) with Rao’s sauce – which is the best spaghetti sauce, IMO.

{Sometimes it is OKAY to have simple carbohydrates such as WHITE PASTA. I mean, really. I do not label foods as good or bad, so this makes it much less desirable to over-eat on.  In the past, I would have tried to avoid this at all costs, and then ended up stuffing my face to the point of no return because it was so forbidden. You always tend to want what you can’t have. Give up the labeling and simultaneously, you give up the urges to over-do it. Kinda cool, right?}

Annette at FitnessPerks has a great article on this – check it out.

Brandy made some garlic bread – I did not snap pictures because I think my nephew Logan devoured it all before I could even get to it. {he’s training for Freshman Football so he is a bottomless-carbohydrate-pit}

Here is a little photo collage of last night’s eats:

I just discovered PicMonkey.com and I love their site for editing. Another addiction…oops.

My plate…mostly salad…duhhh! I may have had 2 more helpings of salad. What can I say? Adding in more veggies crowds out the other stuff.

The two new dressings I found wandering the dressing aisle at Stop N Shop!! Brazwell’s and Maple Grove Farms. Brazwell’s is a reuseable carafe – how nice of them! ha. Both had very impressive stats as the Basil Lime was 15 calories per two tablespoons, and the Balsamic was 40 calories per two tablespoons. The sodium content was also low, too, which I liked! {I am not a salt fan – my mother never cooked with it growing up so I don’t have a taste for it} They are both win-wins in my book.


Oh yeah, who can forget the wine? Me and Jodi love us some wine, that’s no secret. She loves her “red neck wine glasses” as she calls them, too. {lol} They are just mason jars with the wine glass stem part attached. Different!

So night was a success. I was not in a pasta coma when I left, and I enjoyed spending time with my two sisters and their kids. See – taking off the labels makes for random nights out that much better, and eating to oblivion {at least for me by non-labeling} is a thing of the past.

Just for fun:

Wanna know a cool story about my sister Jodi and her now-husband Phil? Jodi and Phil first dated when she was 16 years old and he was 18. He was her first love. They ended up breaking up and going separate ways for TWENTY years, where he was married and has two children, and my sister was engaged and had a child (obviously they broke it off).  Then Jodi and Phil reconnected in 2009 via Facebook…oh thank you FB…and the rest is pretty much history. This is Jodi’s first marriage and whatdoyouknow – she ended up marrying her first love from High School, Phil! I LOVE IT!

So for all you people out there who think you just won’t ever find the right person…KNOCK IT OFF. My sister waited till she was 38 to get married for the FIRST TIME, and she freakin’ married her first boyfriend from when she was 16 – I STILL can’t believe it sometimes. Jodi refused to settle, and she tells everyone it was absolutely worth the wait. She for so long thought she would be single forever, but that couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth, as she is obviously happily married. Her story was even a good reminder to me that ‘life really has a funny way of working out’, and things happen when you least expect them. This all goes hand-in-hand with my post on how I truly believe God has a plan for us all.

Brandy, Jodi, and me – what a great day September 17, 2011!

And once again, by the time this post is set to publish, I will be off teaching Zumba! I admit, my playlist needs a face lift. I need to make it a priority this weekend to add in a few new songs. Hold me to it, CLASS!!

Question of the night: Any crazy fate stories to share?  Do you label foods as good or bad? Share your tips!

Happy Hump Day & WIAW Summer Style!

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Hey Everyone!! Half-way through the week 🙂

I am actually writing this on Tuesday night, after TWO intense Zumba classes, so bear with me, as the writing skillzzz may slack. Just sayin’.

Classes were awesome tonight….thanks, ladies and gentlemen!

I decided that since my meals really haven’t changed much since last week, I am going to post some of my favorite things I am eating right now, so I dunno let’s call them “summer staples”, and how about an awesome coconut chicken recipe I concocted Monday night? Okay.

Thank you to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting!

First and foremost, I am obsessed with the lovely Trader Joe’s Oat Bran. I put it in a tupperware container with a 1/3 cup measuring spoon, since that is the serving size. This just makes it so much easier. And us health freaks can never have too much tupperware, yeah?

TJ’s oat bran makes the BEST Overnight Oats!

The next two items just go without saying. I HAVE TO HAVE them both every-single-day. If I don’t have both of these on any given day, something is wrong with me…watch out for weird Eva that day, ha. The Big Guy 0% Chobani and my beloved Unsweetened Original Almond Milk:

Next up: Unsweetened Cocnonut. 4 whole tablespoons only has 70 calories. Saaa-weeeet. See below (at the end) for the awesome coconut coated chicken I made Monday Night.

Favorite Favorite Kashi Granola Bar. At only 140 calories and several grams of protein & fiber, this is a very satisfying little bar.

2 spices I am loving and cannot go a day without..EVER. I put red pepper in EVERYTHING that is non-breakfast-y. Cinnamon is a staple when it comes to morning protein shakes, cereal, oatmeal, oatbran, overnight oats, etc.

Steamed Veggies in a bag are the greatest invention ever. I do eat an entire bag at one sitting, FYI. I can easily put the vegetables away & tend to eat a ridiculous amount when I cook meals at home 🙂 hey, it works…

Ok, more carbs..sorry, but we all know I eat a lot of these to sustain my zumba cardio work-outs. But I love this cereal and reminds me of when I was little…KIX!!

My Keurig – I love to make coffee on the weekend. This machine is awesome. However, I do think I am going to buy a regular coffee pot, as well, so it is more cost-effective on weekends and use what’s left to make iced coffee. Thoughts?

Before I get into the chicken I made Monday, Nick got a huge box of some awesome ice packs, called Therapearl from a friend that he knows in the company (THANK YOU if you are reading this!!) We have so many I don’t even know what to do with them, ha. But can I just say these are GREAT!! It has been awesome using them on my poor thumb.

Recipe time! So the chicken I made on Monday really is so easy and I am so not creative, but since this blog documents a lot of what I eat and what food creations I come up with, I am going to share. So don’t judge how simple it really is! 😉

Simple Coconut Crusted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • About 3/4 of a lb of thin sliced chicken breasts
  • A bowl of unsweetened coconut (I didn’t measure, just poured some into a bowl)
  • A bowl of egg whites – approx. 1/2 cup (in separate bowl)
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • whatever-you-want-for-a-salad

Directions:

  1. Place your raw chicken breasts in the egg whites and then roll into coconut shreddings
  2. Put about a tablespoon of coconut oil into a frying pan
  3. Place the coconut-coated chicken into the pan
  4. Sprinkle lots of garlic and black pepper onto them
  5. I am not sure how long to cook on each side as again, I suck at timing, but after 5 minutes or so, I flipped them..then flipped again. So maybe 10-12 minutes total?
  6. Then put over veggies or salad with as many veggies as you can stand in it 🙂

This came out so good! It was so simple, but the coconut added such a good flavor to the chicken. Will definitely be making this again!

Final Product:

Arugula & spinach salad with fresh basil leaves, cucumbers, tomato’s, mushrooms, blueberries, crushed red pepper, and some Trader Joe’s fat-free balsamic vinaigrette. I will definitely be making again and perfecting the coconut chicken even further, and as always, I am sure I will post about it 😉

OKAY so this was probably really boring to read. But this is real life and the things I am loving lately.

Question of the day – What are YOUR foods you just can’t go without on any given day?

Another Marvelous Monday…& lots of cooking these days!

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Oh, hey, friends!

Thank you to Katie @ Healthy Diva Eats for hosting MIMM!

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was fantastic up until Saturday night around midnight when Nick and I got home from an awesome BBQ at my co-workers house, I slammed my thumb in his car door. And get this, I had to OPEN THE DOOR back up to get my thumb out. I am in a ridiculous amount of pain but trying to make it through. Typing is actually really challening. My thumb has officially turned purple and it is twice the size of my other thumb. I also can’t bend it. OWWWWWWWWWWW.

Moving on. The BBQ was so much fun. Thank you, Kristen! They had awesome food – a huge fruit tray (totally forgot to take a picture), pulled pork, a hot dog bar, pasta salads, veggie trays, and so many desserts. I am sure you can guess what I ate 🙂 Lots of fruit, veggies, and some pulled pork, but then way too many beers, oops?! Who can forget the ice luge, too… shots, anyone? Don’t mind if I do!

So, today might not be the most Marvelous Monday for me, but I am going to keep a positive attitude and focus on the good things – 2 recipe’s I tried Friday night, great time with friends, awesome shopping trips this past weekend, and even better things to look forward to in the upcoming weeks.

Let’s back track a little shall we? Friday Night I made 2 awesome recipe’s I wanted to document via the blog.

1. Buffalo Chicken adapted from Skinnytaste.com and Cait @ Beyond Bananas

2. Z Bar Recipe adapted from Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

Just to warn you, both made huge messes in the kitchen. However, it was worth it. They came out great, and only in time will I improve my cooking skillz and these 2 now staples will be not only be good, but AWESOME.

For the 4th time last week, I was back at the grocery store. This time just Stop N Shop, which is not my favorite, but it was most likely going to have everything I needed. And since it was Friday after a long day at work, I just wanted to get IN and OUT. Ya feel me?

While shopping, I snacked on a new luna bar I came across: Luna Bar, Protein Cookie Dough flavor. 170 calories & 9 grams of protein or maybe it was 12 grams (ah, I can’t remember exactly). It was just OKAY. Which means, I will not be buying again, ha. I just needed something to hold me over since I still had about an hour of preparation and cooking ahead of me before Nick and I sat down to eat. I guess it did the trick, because I was not hungry while I was cooking. Success? Sure.

My Shopping Cart, because you all care so much, I know! Ingredients speak for themselves…

Once I was home, I started on the Buffalo Chicken immediately. Nick must have asked me 10x within 2 minutes if dinner was ready, FYI…lol.

Baked Buffalo Chicken

Ingredients called for:

  • 1lb thin sliced chicken breasts
  • A few carrot sticks, minced (in my case, I just cut up as small as possible)
  • A few celery sticks, minced (in my case, I just cut up as small as possible)
  • A couple green onion strands, cut up
  • 3 LC cheese wedges
  • 2 T 2% Cottage Cheese (I also used no salt added)
  • 1 T Plain 0% Greek Yogurt…and an extra spoonful, just because
  • 4 T Hot Sauce, Divided (I use Frank’s and Sriracha, because the spicier the better in this house)
  • A few “flackers” (savory kind) I had on hand to use as “bread crumbs” (ground up in the Magic Bullet)

Directions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together the cottage cheese, minced celery & carrots, green onions, LC cheese wedges, and 1 TBSP hot sauces (I honestly didn’t measure the sauce, I just threw some in the mix.. the more, the merrier)
  3. Lay out the chicken breasts and spoon the mixture from step 2 on to the raw chicken. Roll up the chicken.
  4. (not pictured) Roll chicken in the greek yogurt mixed with some hot sauce, coating both sides. *this was tricky. My hands were a mess and sticky. So I took a spool and then spread greek yogurt + hot sauce combo onto the chicken breasts, to coat them as best as I could.
  5. Put the “flacker” bread crumbs on to chicken breasts. I put them in the Magic Bullet to grind them up like bread crumb-type pieces. Again I used a spoon to sprinkle the crumbs over the chicken and tried to get both sides.
  6. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 30 minutes.

Side Note: S&S (Stop & Shop) was lame and didn’t have LC Blue Cheese Wedges. I thought this would be an OK substitute. And it was…. just ok. Next time, BLUE CHEESE for sure.

All said and done:

Buffalo Stuffed Chicken, sweet potato with smart balance butter, and a side arugula salad with balsamic vinegar (of course, I love to eat as many veggies as possible ;)) It was very good and filling, I only ended up eating 1/2 the sweet potato. Well mainly because I wanted room for some “cookies”…which leads me to…

Home Made Z Bar “cookies”

So Danielle’s recipe made these more like Z bars, but I made them circular and smaller, and more like “cookies”. Don’t ask me why I did it that way, it’s just what I felt like doing at the time, ha. I made a few changes – used SF Maple Syrup instead of Agave and added in some slivered almonds and dark chocolate chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cup Quick Oats
  • lots of shakes of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons flax
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons SF Maple Syrup
  • small handful slivered almonds
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the Magic Bullet (or blender) blend up 1 cup of the Oats into flour.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour from step 2, 1/4 cup of raw oats, lots of dashes of cinnamon, baking soda, flax, and a dash of salt.
  4. Put 1/2 cup of raisins into a blender and blend into a paste-like consistency, and add to the bowl of stuff from step 3.
  5. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of raisins, maple syrup, vanilla extract, slivered almonds, and chocolate chips.
  6. Place little circles of “cookies” onto a greased baking sheet (I made 8 cookies out of this mixture), bake for 8-10 minutes.

Verdict: Nick and I loved these! The dark chocolate added such a nice touch. I cannot wait to make these again. I had 2 after dinner on Friday night and was so full. Nick loved them because he said these are a perfect thing to eat before Crossfit Saturday morning. Thanks, Danielle!

Some considerations: I think more cinnamon and maybe even more maple syrup can be added next time, just to give it a bit more sweetness, since I didn’t think they were sweet at all- and this is coming from the girl who doesn’t have a sweet tooth.

I am proud of myself for cooking so much these days! I have to say, it’s really a thanks to you all in the blog world for posting so many great AND HEALTHY recipe’s – I just can’t resist trying to make them myself. This weekend I found myself wanting to cook almost every meal, as opposed to eating out. You see, I LOVE to eat out on the weekends, so for me to say that I’d rather cook is kind of a big deal. Even with my thumb injury I cooked up some protein pancakes Saturday morning! Who am I?

So Marvelous In My Monday at it’s finest, friends. Hope you enjoyed my recipe steals from Cait and Danielle. I’m so original, I know!

Question of the day – Has anyone ever slammed their finger in a door? I can’t be the only one here.. ha ha.

I’ll leave you with an image…

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Liebster Award Post & Happy Friday!

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Hi-ya Friends!  Happy Friday!!

I am taking this “Friday Ramblings” post as an opportunity to answer the questions from the Liebster Award that Sarah @ Health Craved oh-so-kindly nominated me for. Thank you, Sarah!

Here Are The Rules:

    • Tell us 11 random things about yourself. Answer the questions that the person who tagged you asks. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
    • Tag 11 blogs and link them to your post.
    • Contact them and let them know they have been tagged.

11 things about me:

1. I am adopted. This is a very long story, but my mom and my biological mom (BM) knew each other. My BM asked my now-parents to adopt me, and without hesitation, they said YES. I am very fortunate.

2. I am the youngest of 4 children (I am the only adopted one) and my siblings range from 7-11 years older than me, and I have 4 nieces and one nephew. 2 of them are now in HIGH SCHOOL.. omg I can’t even take it, ha.

My Sisters, Jodi & Brandy

My Brother, Jason

My 4 nieces & 1 nephew: Shawna, Amber, Gigi, Jewel, and Logan; Christmas 2011

3.  I am pretty religious about getting my hair high-lighted every 8 weeks. Love that blonde, ya know? ha.

4. I have never broken a bone.  {watch me jinx this now}

5. In middle school, before I had braces, I had such huge front teeth, the boys made fun of me and called me “Eva the Beeva”.. TERRIBLE, lol! And I was chubby and pimply, not a good combo!

This isn’t me (duh), but this is sorta how I looked, lol.

6. I love to dance and I LOVE to teach Zumba. It has been the biggest passion in my life to date. I guess you all couldn’t tell, huh? I even dressed up as a Zumba Instructor for Halloween last year. So creative, yeah?

Halloween 2011

7. I love my day job as an Accountant. I work in a fascinating shipping industry (think big oil tanker ships in the ocean) & how I met Nick 😉

8. I don’t like cherries. The one fruit I really have no desire for.

9. I may be 28, but Thursday nights are STILL my favorite night to go out

10. I went to college only 20 minutes away from my home town, but still lived on campus for 3 years. I wanted the entire college experience!

11. My grandmother (aka, my Nonie) spoiled me rotten as a kid; I had every color pair of shoes to match every pair of pants I had, and every hair ribbon to match. I was stylin’. I once went to Florida when I was 9 years old to visit my aunt and uncle that lived there for 3 weeks, and I cried because I was leaving Nonie, not my own parents,  ha.  {RIP, nonie}

Questions From Sarah:

1. How did you get into blogging?

I love to eat well and work out, so a lot of my friends told me I should “blog about it”. so I did! I recently hired Zesty Blog Consulting to re-do the entire thing. I am not tech-saavy and I suck at being creative, so this was worth the expense. Stay tuned 🙂

2. What is your favorite way to exercise?

ZUMBA – surprised? I do love to do weights, though, too.

 3. What is your least favorite way to exercise?

Hmm.. running at a steady state. I can do super intense intervals, but I loathe doing the distance/steady-pace thing.

4. Do you prefer sweet or salty food?

Salty. Chips of all kinds. I honestly do not have a sweet tooth.

 5. Would you rather go to the beach or go skiing?

BEACH. And as much as people think I have coordination because I teach Zumba, I really don’t think skiing is my calling. I did it once when I was 13, and I wasn’t terrible, but definitely not good. I was also unbelievably sore the next day.

 6. How do you relax after a long day?

Does alcohol count? Ha. I love a glass of red wine (or white, I don’t discriminate) and TV with Nick.

 7. What is one of your biggest fears?

SNAKES. Omg, I can’t even see a picture of one.

 8. What’s your favorite Olympic sport to watch?

Gymnastics – although I didn’t see much of it this year.

 9. Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled to?

I wish I had something cool to answer for this. I absolutely loved Nantucket last summer. I love the cape! But I really suck at the traveling department

 10. What’s your favorite recipe?

This is hard to answer. I love overnight oats..does that count? Ha. I love any recipe that involves fish.. honey mustard & balsamic glazed salmon is definitely my best recipe to date. (I am basing this solely on Nick’s reaction, FYI :))

 11.  What’s your favorite holiday?

So cliché, but I guess Christmas? I love the Christmas season and love how my Italian mama cooks everything from soup to nuts! And seeing my nieces and nephews still enjoy it, although they are so old now 😦

My 11 Questions For You:

1. Why are you blogging?

2. What is your favorite color?

3. What 3 words best describe you?

4. What do you do in your free time?

5. What is your favorite sport?

6. If you could only pick one work out, what would it be?

7. Dog or cat lover?

8. What food do you absolutely hate?

9. What is your favorite quality in a fitness instructor or personal trainer?

10. Favorite alcohol drink?

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Blogs I Nominate:

1. Laura @ Beanie Bumbles

2. Anne at Love Mint Chocolate Chip

3. Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

4. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige

5. Cait @ Beyond Bananas

6. Katie @ Wish and Whimsy

7. Lisa @ Lisa Lately

8. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

9. Sara @ Sara Smiles

10. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

11. Cait @ Cait Plus Ate

This was a lot of fun to do. Thanks again Sarah!

Nothing else is really going on over here. Save more details for another post 🙂

HAPPY WEEKEND!

Trying New Recipe’s! & Up Coming for C2N

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HOLA AMIGOS! Happy Thursday, which means tonight I teach Zumba AND it is almost the weekend. One more day…one more day. It has been a BUSY week. I am super busy at work and then also a lot of exciting blog stuff with my new design that is taking time. Cannot wait to unleash the new C2N page! Have I said that already?!

I am forever living at the grocery store, and Wednesday night, which is a night off from teaching Z, is no different. I was really in the mood to try a pumpkin muffin that Kristin at Stuft Mama makes. I only needed egg whites, and of course almond milk because my fridge only had 1 container left (GASP! we all know my fear of running out of my food fav’s), but walked out with a few more things.

Blueberries. Fresh Blueberries. I can’t get enough of them or their price tag! (hidden under the egg whites). Also needed more oatmeal packets since we all saw in Yesterday’s WIAW, I eat a ridiculous amount of it. Whatever, it works. Chobani? Just because. Another fear of running out of Greek Yogurt.

Lil Stop N Shop pick-me-up

For dinner I wanted to use up the left over burger I made on Monday, that I wrote about in Tuesday’s post.  I also remembered I bought some Tempeh from Whole Foods on Sunday, so I wanted to combine them over a salad. SO EASY and totally not mind-blowing, and not even to mention how redundant my salad concoctions are, but this was good!

I took 1/2 of the burger and 1/4 of the tempeh block and sautéed it in coconut oil on medium heat for, I don’t know, 5 minutes? I am so bad at timing things, sorry.

OH and also cut up some cucumbers to snack on while I was cooking. Anyone else do this? Cut up veggies to snack on while cooking? I don’t like cucumbers to go to waste, so when I buy one, I eat the entire cuc in one sitting. Hate when food goes bad!

Dinner….boomtown:

Arugula + Basil + Tomato’s + Cucumbers + Hot Salsa + Balsamic Vinegar & Apple Cider Vinegar + Garlic Powder + Crushed Red Pepper Flakes + Burger & Tempeh

My mouth was on fire & loved every second of this weird-concocted salad 🙂

Now on to “dessert”: Protein Pumpkin Muffin (Microwave) 

I copied Kristin @ Stuft Mama’s recipe almost to a T, except I omitted the protein powder, as I am not trying to increase my protein, and I wanted a dessert-like snack. The kitchen was definitely a mess after measuring all this out with all the different ingredients, ha.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut flour (love bob’s red mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 Truvia Packets (stevia or can also be used)
  • 1/4 unsweetened almond milk (original)
  • 1/4 cup of egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (next time will try the almond extract)
  • Added in 2 spoonful’s of unsweetened shredded coconut (this added such a good flavor!)

Directions:

  • Spray the mug with cooking spray. Although, I mixed all ingredients FIRST into the mug. Total brain fart. I sprayed it after once everything was mixed in, ha. It worked, though – no sticking!
  • Combine all ingredients into mug.
  • Now Kristin said to microwave for 5 minutes but mine started to volcano at like 4 minutes, so I took it out of the microwave and let cool.

So, it looked like a muffin, sort-of. I wasn’t trying to make it perfect. I knew ahead of time I was going to eat it straight out of the cup with a spoon. I added some SF maple syrup and wa-la!  A mushy pumpkin muffin that was SO GOOD. I mean clearly you can see it looks like a straight can of pumpkin in that cup, but I swear some of it was a cake-like consistency. The added unsweetened shredded coconut was key, too. I think next time, to make it more “muffin-ish”, I will have to take it out of the microwave, let it cool for a second, and then re-start the time. Kind of like how you have to do with oatmeal so it doesn’t erupt everywhere. I will definitely be making this again!

That’s all I’ve got….for today.

Upcoming things at C2N that I am excited to share:

  • I am working on the Liebster Award post, too. THANK YOU Sarah @ Healthcraved for nominating me!
  • Guest post between me and Laura @ Beanie Bumbles to debut some time next week. We are writing a post for each other that day 🙂
  • NEW DESIGN, NEW DESIGN, NEW DESIGN! I cannot wait to see the final product of my new C2N page! What I’ve seen so far will not disappoint.

Question for ya’ll: Anyone have microwave muffin recipe’s they love? I want some more ideas!

My Very First WIAW!

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Good day, Friends! Happy Mid-Week Day. I have decided to join in today for my first WIAW. Jenn @ Peas and Crayons is behind this, check out her blog! She rocks 🙂

I couldn’t resist masking that new Master Class picture my header. Kinda cool right? and diffierent? REMINDS ME: a whole new blog design (finally went to self hosting) is near completion. I can’t wait to show all of you. Thank you Zesty Blog Consulting!

  

I really eat so boring, especially on Tuesday’s when I teach two Zumba classes back to back. So this may bore you to tears. I know this month’s is “Summer Staples”, but what I ate yesterday is basically my go-to staples on a Double Z day. Here goes: 

Pre-Breakfast:

A protein shake made with Sun Warrior (my first time with this powder..was pretty good!), a cup of unsweetened almond milk, ice cubes, a little water, cocoa powder, and some Truvia. I liked the Sun Warrior.. I have a feeling it will grow on me more and more. I pretty much drink a shake before work every morning.

Breakfast:

OH EM GEE – my first overnight oats. I am in love. I cannot believe I didn’t try this sooner nor could I believe how much it bulked up over night in the fridge. To be honest, I didn’t think it would get as thick and therefore I wouldn’t be as full off of it, but pleased to say it was super voluminous and I was more full then normal. Success in my book!

In the mix – 1/3 cup oat bran, 6oz container of Chobani plain greek yogurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds, a little almond milk to get it nice and thick, and then in the AM when I got to work, I topped it with lots of TJ’s crunchy PB and some blueberries. So-freakin-good

Lunch:

Now here is the rest of the day where I get boring. A salad with blackened chicken (work-paid-for) and I added some basil, arugula, crushed red pepper, and nutritional yeast. I used a little of the oil dressing from the deli it was bought from – it’s this basil vinaigrette that is so good and just a little adds a lot of flavor & I am obsessed with basil, and some regular balsamic vinegar.

Very tasty, and it takes me forever to eat, which I like 🙂

Snack 1:

Even more boring! I have to eat a lot of carbs pre-double-zumba-classes so around 3 or 3:15 I eat approx. 1/2 cup plain oatmeal cooked in water with more PB stirred in (I don’t measure either of these things, so it’s probably even more than that). It is a pretty substantial snack that holds me over until about 5:00. It’s also the easiest thing I can make when having a desk job (I love Accounting! ha ha)

Snack 2: 

Same as snack 1. Yep, the exact same. Maybe even more oatmeal since I have a long night ahead of me, but again I don’t measure, but make sure to get at least 1/2 cup of the oatmeal when it is dry. I have found oatmeal with PB is the only thing that holds me over to get me through 2 hours of Zumba.

This was half-eaten but the time I took a pic, and people stopped walking by my desk at work so I didn’t feel like a total loser taking pics of my food with my iPhone, and I like to eat it out of a cup. So literally, snack 1 and snack 2 were the same exact thing. 

{I was good about water yesterday, too! Turning a new page, friends.}

Dinner:

I NEED CARBS. These double Z days are the days where I eat way more cabs than normal, but it WORKS. Last night was approx. 1 and 1/4 cups corn flakes, 1 cup of wheat puffs {I love to mix cereals together}, 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds, 4 tablespoons (serving size) of unsweetened coconut I just bought on Sunday from Whole Foods, and probably 1.5 to 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (I didn’t measure) all mixed in. I also eat this at 10pm. I am not afraid of carbs, and I am not afraid to eat them at night. I embrace them. I don’t gain weight from eating them.. #sorryimnotsorry.

love-my-carbs, and love my cereal

This picture doesn’t even do this amazingness cereal concoction justice. It is so good and what I look forward to most after teaching Zumba. Puts me right to sleep – food coma, ya know?

So these are my summer staples, at least for a Tuesday. Who am I kidding, this is what I pretty much eat all year round.

Ok I really need to stop playing on my mac and get ready for work! Happy Wednesday, Everyone!!

Question of the day – What are your favorite pre-work out snacks/meals? Anyone work in an office? What do you eat at your desk?

Double Zumba® Tuesday & a burger :)

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HAPPY DOUBLE Z TUESDAY, Ladies & Gents!

Funny post title, huh? I thought so. {not really, just not sure people think of a burger when I post about Zumba}

Do we all know yet how much I love to teach Zumba? Oh, no, you don’t? Let me explain….

Just kidding. That will really have my readers click the X button off their internet browser in .2 seconds. {lol} For those of you new to my blog, you can read about Z here 🙂

Before I even get into tonight’s classes, I got a very nice surprise at work. A Zumba Student of mine, Ryan, used to come to my classes religiously here in CT. He recently moved to California, and he LOVED Zumba. He started his little Zumba addiction with me as his instructor, so he is obviously a little biased, ha (I kid, I kid). After he left he wrote me saying how much he had learned from me; it was pretty touching. He so thoughtfully sent me a gift to thank me for the classes. He so did not have to do that! It totally amazes me that I have inspired someone so much, or for someone to even feel the need to thank me. I love teaching. LOVE. I can’t even believe I get to get paid for something that I love doing. It still baffles me.

Now.. HOW CUTE IS THIS!!

excuse the picture I took at my desk at work, and it’s unedited…you get the point though 🙂

It is a Zumba figurine with my name on her little star platform and all of my songs from my class written on each side of it. On the back of her shirt it says “#1 Zumba Instructor”. He even put the Zumba® logo on her pants! I can’t even believe this. Can you see the details on it? Amazing. THANK YOU RYAN, SO MUCH!

Anyway – tonight was the usual Tuesday. Step N Out Dance Studios (where I charge per member) and LA Fitness (I get paid like a dollar, but it is a huge class at the gym).  I had my usual students…and a great friend Stacey with whom I’ve grown up with joined my class tonight! She is getting her PhD at Duke right now and is home visiting for a week. She also just got licensed to teach Zumba as well; so proud!!

Lil throw back.. pic of me and Stace when I went to visit her in Nashville 2009. Rockin’ the side bangs, ya know. HI STACE!

I finally have some pictures from Friday’s Master Class! Enjoy 🙂

TIME-OF-MY-LIFE

View from the stage… totes my new FB cover photo.. I couldn’t resist!

We sick of Zumba yet?

Now let’s talk about FOOD…BURGERS!!

{Let me just say that it is rare I eat burgers. I like them extra-lean and that is often hard to find with beef, at least at Stop n Shop. I only buy them from either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, since they carry the leanest one’s I’ve found to date.}

Monday night I was so in the mood for the organic burgers I bought from Whole Foods on Sunday. I guess this really is not a recipe, as all I did was throw the burgers on the stove in some coconut oil for like 10 minutes, and then threw them over a salad, but I know some of my Zumba peeps want to know the deets of my meals, so I’ll explain. {They ask, I’ll tell}

Ingredients:

  • One package (4 frozen burgers) of organic beef burgers by Applegate Farms
  • Lettuce of choice: mine was Arugula, Spinach & basil all mixed together
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Lots of crushed red pepper
  • Hot fresh Salsa (left over from Saturday get together)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette or just balsamic vinegar (dressing of choice)

The directions of these baby’s were pretty simple:

1.  Place in a pan over medium heat in a little oil or cooking spray (I used coconut oil AND cooking spray), and cook for 6 minutes on each side.

2. Once they are cooked, add them to your salad mix.

3. I topped mine with lots of salsa, nutritional yeast, and some balsamic vinegar.

I was nice ‘n’ full, (and so was Nick, he ate two of them, ha) but not overly so, which I like. Getting tooooo full is never a good feeling for me. Anyone else? This is probably why I eat so freakin’ often throughout the day, smaller amounts but more frequent, so I don’t feel gross and ‘weighed down’. 

Thoughts: They were just the right size (for me) and at 190 calories or something like that for each one, that isn’t bad at all. 21g of protein, too. Not to even mention, how incredibly delicious they were. I like cooking in coconut oil, by the way – just a little goes a long way. I also liked that I wasn’t overly full after eating it, and I still had room for some chocolate ice cream topped with some Kashi Heart to Heart cereal for dessert 😉 {not pictured}

I hope everyone enjoyed the Zumba pics! Thank you again to Shaira and Costa for allowing me to be apart of their Master Class! I have a feeling you all reading this blog will hear about it for weeks, he he. 

Question of the nightWhat is your favorite burger? and not just a meat one, veggie can be included, too. I wanna know! 

Monday…and Marvelous!

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Wow this weekend went by fast!  How was everyone’s weekend? If you missed my Zumba Master Class recap from Friday and really want to read it (no pressure or anything), go here. I am still on cloud9 from it all.

Like I’ve said, my Marvelous in my Monday always stems from a productive and healthy weekend. Thank you Katie @ Healthy Diva Eats for hosting this, by the way! Check out her blog, it’s awesome.

I had some girlfriends from college over Saturday and stopped at the store to pick up some healthy snacks for us all, and oh yeah, Guinness, my favorite!

When I have people over, I always like to offer some healthy-but-good-snacks. This includes cut up veggies of any kind (carrots, peppers, tomato’s, broccoli, cucumbers, celery) and dips like Hummus, Salsa, and Guacomole. HELLOOOO good fats! Strawberries also made the party plate as you can see from the picture above. With that said, I do like having other decadent treats like turkey pepperoni’s, some kind of sharp cheese, and of course, Tostito’s. Who doesn’t like tortilla chips?! I can assure all of you, that the above snacks were consumed with barely any left-overs. Fun times, people, fun times.

Then yesterday, I passed an awesome new Whole Foods I decided to check out. Seriously, do I just live at the grocery store? Tonight after work I also made another trip to TRADER JOE’s. Anyway, I think I got lost in WF yesterday for 2 hours, no joke. I like to scour every single aisle to find any new product or the latest health crazed food the blogger world is talking about. I ended up constraining myself to only a few things, although this was VERY difficult, not gonna lie. I found a new milk – Rice Milk.  It was really cheap, I think like $1.69, so I picked up a carton because I definitely was not going to lose sleep if I hated it and threw it out. I tried it this morning and it tasted (no joke) like rice pudding. I am a fan! Another awesome food find, friends.

I bought arugula (not surprised are we), usweetened coconut, plain chobani’s, tepmeh, frozen blue berries, Truvia, canned pumpkin, red pepper flakes (SPICY!!), basil, some samples of Egg White Protein, Organic Lean Beef Burgers, and my new love, Rice Milk.

Up close & personal

I also made a delicious veggie burger for lunch on a 100 calorie sandwich thin. Love Dr. Praeger’s California Burgers! This totally hit the spot.

Ingredients:

– One Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger

– Laughing Cow Blue Cheese wedge

– 100 calorie sandwich thin

– Sriracha hot sauce

Directions:

– Toast bread, microwave veg burger for 90 seconds, smear LC cheese on bread, and top with Sriracha.. YUM YUM YUM. Of course, I paired this with a big side of steamed veggies – broccoli, cauliflour, and carrots (not pictured) with even more hot sauce on top. Sriracha is the best-condiment-ever.

I heart you.

So this afternoon I had to run some errands in good old New Canaan (ugh tax collector for my car taxes.. so annoying). Anyway, I needed some vitamins so I stopped at this natural foods store that I totally forgot existed. GUESS WHAT I STUMBLED UPON?! Sun Warrior Protein Powder!! I am so excited they had this. This certainly makes for a Marvelous in My Monday. I cannot wait to try this; I have only heard good things.

I have a feeling I am going to become obsessed.. my wallet, not so much. I snapped this iPhone picture the second I got into my car, ha. 

Today I also have been a champ at drinking water. I had several cups at work today – that is a HUGE improvement. Baby steps… baby steps. I have to work up to 8…. who am I kidding? 4 may be my max, ha ha.

Lastly, I want to share some things I am grateful for as I reflect on the week prior and this weekend:

– My health. I feel the best I have ever felt mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is an important one as my 2 sister’s both have MS (Multiple Sclerosis), and one is dealing with a relapse right now. and is going through monthly chemo treatments – apparently that helps MS. She is totally fine, but it just makes me realize how grateful I should be, and I am. She also has a super positive attitude that is so contagious. Expect a blog post on this soon (yes, I got her permission to share, in case anyone is worried ;))

{image source}

– Nick. One word. We’ll just leave it at that 🙂

My love.

– Shaira & Costa for letting me teach 3 routines at the Zumba Master Class. My 15 min of fame right there! ha.

Shaira and Costa breakin’ it down

– Whole Foods – this is a love/hate. Thank you for carrying such awesome new food finds, but darn you for being so friggin’ expensive.

– This blogging world! I am so grateful for all the blogs I come across and all the stories with in them. It keeps me motivated to keep improving mine and to stay on top of it. Gracias Amigos!

Some other blogs I loved this week: (Thank you Danielle for inspiring this!)

How was everyone’s weekend?

Question of the night –  What are your staples of foods/snacks/drinks for serving guests? Do you always try to keep it on the “healthier side”?

Tomorrow is.. DOUBLE ZUMBA TUESDAY… yeahhhh buddy!