Healthier Beef and Broccoli

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I LOVE all types of Asian foods–takeout, sushi, egg rolls, pad Thai: it’s all amazing to me!  When I saw this recipe for a healthy version of beef and broccoli, I was PUMPED.  I’m always looking for healthier versions of unhealthy foods I love.

Right off the bat, I knew this recipe would be really simple to modify if I wanted to.  I’m honestly not the biggest fan of cooked broccoli and my boys don’t love it either, so I knew that if I were going to make this and have a shot at it being successful with the whole family that I needed to substitute a different veggie.  I opted for coleslaw mix and it worked really well!  I used 4 cups of slaw mix and since cabbage cooks down and shrinks, it didn’t make 4 full servings like the recipe says.  Next time I’ll add in some more slaw mix so there are 4 full servings after cooking.

Another really simple modification you can make is the protein: not everyone loves steak (I’m usually one of them!).  It can be really chewy and dry if you overcook it, especially when cut into pieces.  You can make this with chicken, shrimp, ground turkey, or any other protein you like.  As long as you’ve got the sauce, it will be good!

You can also add some brown rice to add a little more volume to your meal or to add some carbs if you wanted to eat this as a lunch.  Carbs are your friend for lunch to give you energy to get through the rest of the day!

Enjoy!

Healthier Beef and Broccoli (from Ilana Muhlstein)

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp. water, divided use

2 Tbsp. corn starch, divided use

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1 lb. raw top sirloin beef, trimmed of fat and sliced into ½-inch thick pieces

1 tsp. coconut oil

4 cups broccoli florets

2 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped OR 1/2 tsp ground ginger

 

Combine soy sauce, 4 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. corn starch, and honey in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a large bowl; mix well. Add beef. Toss gently to coat.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. 

Add beef; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from skillet, keep warm.

Add broccoli, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes. Place broccoli mixture in beef bowl.

Add soy sauce mixture to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, or until thickened.

Return beef and broccoli mixture to skillet; cook, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well mixed and heated through.  Serve immediately.

Clean Eating Spicy Mexican Taco Meat

I’ve made several different versions of taco meat, and this one is currently my favorite–it’s easy, it’s spicy, and it’s so filling.  It was one of my favorite meals last week during the final week of my program!

The original recipe calls for one chopped chipotle pepper and 1 tbsp of adobo sauce, but I didn’t have enough for all the recipes I made, so I opted for 2 tbsp of sauce and no pepper.  I like spicy foods so I loved this, but if you don’t love spice, you could leave out the chipotle/adobo sauce and maybe add in some chopped red pepper instead.

Enjoy!

Mexican Taco Meat (slightly adapted from Fixate)

1 tsp oil (olive or coconut)

1 chopped onion

1 chopped jalapeno

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 cup tomato sauce (no salt or sugar added if you can find it)

2 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo (or 1 tbsp sauce and 1 chopped pepper)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

.Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl. Set aside.

Add turkey to the same skillet; cook over medium heat until lightly seared, stirring frequently to break up turkey, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until turkey is no longer pink.

Add onion mixture, tomato sauce, chipotle chili, and adobo sauce. Season with chili powder, oregano, and salt. Mix well. Reduce heat to mediumlow; gently boil, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until most liquid evaporates.

1 serving=1 1/4 cup  (1/2 green, 1 red, 1 tsp)

Even Simpler Healthy Breakfast

I’ve posted about simple egg breakfasts before, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything this simple!  This takes less than 5 minutes for me to make, from start to finish–no prep work, no chopping, or anything!

I’ve been eating a lot of protein+veggie meals with this 80-day program, and this has been one of my go-to meals.  It’s cheap, it’s easy, and I can make it even when my kiddo is home with me.  Win on all counts!

For this recipe, I *highly* recommend using unrefined coconut oil.  This program is the first time I’ve ever eaten unrefined coconut oil simply because there was some that was cheap, so I went for it.  I was afraid to add a coconut flavor to my food, but it really doesn’t add a coconut flavor as much as it adds flavor, if that makes sense.  I don’t like bitter cooked greens, so a little bit of sweetness from the coconut oil makes it taste amazing.  Sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt and garlic powder on there and it’s SO GOOD.

Enjoy!

Super Simple Breakfast

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup baby spinach (a couple of handfuls, really)

1 tsp unrefined coconut oil

Salt and pepper (or other spices) to taste

 

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Melt the coconut oil in the skillet.  Add the spinach and stir for about 1 min, until spinach wilts and darkens a bit. Add the salt and spices.  Stir to mix.  Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until completely cooked.  Transfer to a bowl and voila!  You’re done.

I’ve eaten this alone, on a piece of Ezekiel toast, over some leftover roasted sweet potato, and in a corn tortilla.  Every option is great!

Following a Program Strictly vs. Finding Balance

Several people have asked me why I’m being “so intense” about this 80-day program I’ve been doing (by the way, I only have 5 days left!).  That’s kind of a loaded question because when someone asks me that, it’s probably a thinly-veiled way to say, “Hey, weirdo–you’re being super crazy.  Cut it out and be normal.”

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And that is totally fine to feel that way.  I felt that way about health and fitness for a long time–don’t be so intense!  Be more balanced.  But you know what else I felt during those times in my life, when my health view was much more “balanced”?  I felt uncomfortable.  I felt bloated.  I felt pain with acid reflux.  I felt guilty for everything I ate, even if it was healthy.  I felt shame that my clothes were tight.  I felt disappointed that I wasn’t more disciplined and wasn’t treating myself better.

It’s pretty important to me to NOT feel that way.  For me, I needed to have a period of time where I was strict about my food and my fitness because spending time being relaxed about it didn’t make me feel good.  And that’s the bottom line for me.  It’s not really about the fact that I was overweight and put on 20 lbs.  It’s not really about the fact that I was eating emotionally to deal with my anxiety and depression.  It’s not about some idea of “fit” that I wanted to fit into.  It all comes down to the fact that I just didn’t feel good, and I wanted to feel awesome.  Period.

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This 80-day program has made me feel AMAZING.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.  I feel strong, confident, capable, energized, fit, lighter, motivated, inspired, and fueled.  I feel awesome, which is exactly what I wanted–and it’s because I’ve been following this fantastic meal plan and doing every single workout every single day.

Now, will I repeat this program and do it as strictly as I am right now?  Nope.  Here’s why:  right now, during this first round of the program for me, I’m in a test group, which means that I volunteered to do the program exactly as written to see what results I can get by actually following the program.  Yup, I volunteered.  Here’s why: I wanted to see what my results would be if I actually followed the program.  #duh  I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of years doing programs and rocking out the fitness, but not at all following the nutrition.  I wanted to challenge myself, build my discipline, and prove to myself and everyone else that I COULD DO IT.  And I’m just a few days away from accomplish that challenge, and I’m so proud I could cry.  Actually, I have cried a few times.  It’s a big deal for me!

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Does that mean that I think everyone should strictly follow a plan all of the time?  Nope.  I *do* think there is something very important for your confidence and mental strength in following a meal plan/program to see what that program can really do for you, and to show yourself that you are capable, but it’s really unrealistic to think that we can all be 100% on it with nutrition every day forever and ever amen.  That’s not life!  Sometimes we need to have those periods of time where we are more disciplined and we do need to strictly follow a plan–and there are other times where we are strong enough in our discipline to be more “balanced.”

And that’s what my next round of this 80-day program will be about!  Yup, I’m doing it again!  Once I get back from Mexico, I’m starting it all over again.  But this time, I won’t be in a test group and I won’t be following the meal plan as strictly as I have been; this round will be all about me finding what works for me–how often I can indulge without going off the rails.  What I can indulge in without giving myself crazy sugar cravings.  What I really *want* to indulge in and what I don’t miss as far as unhealthy foods.  What I need to stay away from because it gets me off track.  And I’m really excited to experiment with it! Keeping this feeling of awesome going is my goal.

Have you been stuck in a place of “balance” that really is just making you feel bad?  Maybe sticking to a plan will help you, too.  Comment or email me at wweaver0@gmail.com to chat about joining my next group!

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Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce

I love eggplant, I love fried foods, and I love Greek food.  This recipe is the perfect combination for me, and it’s completely on my meal plan!  It has the crisp and crunch of a fried eggplant, but it’s not completely horrible for me.

The Tzatziki sauce had so much flavor!  I loved the kick from the garlic, and I ended up using a lot of the sauce for a chicken quinoa bowl as a kind of dressing.  I’ll be using this sauce for several protein options to add some flavor without compromising on my goals.

I will say that I had a horrible time finding whole wheat panko.  I went to 4 different stores and NO ONE had it except Wal-Mart.  I looked at Kroger, Target, and Trader Joe’s before I tried Wal-Mart, so it was pretty frustrating for me.  Learn from my mistakes and just go to Wal-Mart first!

I highly recommend this.  It took a while to make it, but then it was ready for the whole week.  It lost some of the crunch as it sat in the fridge, but I think it would help to reheat on the stovetop instead of the microwave.  Either way, it tastes great and is good for you!

Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

For the eggplant fries:

1¼ cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ tsp. ground smoked paprika

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

¾ tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into 40 ½-inch-thick fries (about 1¼ lbs.)

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425º F. Combine bread crumbs, paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano in large nonstick skillet; cook, over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on a large plate (or shallow pan).

Dip each eggplant fry into flour, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Place on large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fries. Make sure there is a little space between each fry. Discard excess flour, eggs, and bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until eggplant is fork tender and breading is deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper; serve five fries with 3 Tbsp. Tzatziki.

5 eggplant fries is 1 green and a 1/2 yellow.

Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

1 cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)

1 clove garlic

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ cup coarsely chopped seeded cucumber (approx. 1⁄3 medium)

2 tsp. fresh dill

2 tsp. fresh mint leaves

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Keep cold in an airtight container.

Tzatziki Sauce: 3 tbsp is FREE (no containers!)  3/4 cup is 1/2 red container.

Why It Took Me So Long To Get Back on Track

Did you catch my latest Facebook Live??  I have been thinking a lot about how off track I got in 2017 with my health, and why it took me until January 2018 to get my crap together.  I’d love for you to check out this piece of my story and let me know what you think!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwhitney.weaver.33%2Fvideos%2F10100127839187553%2F&width=500&show_text=false&appId=196525457082240&height=281

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s my other favorite cookie recipe!  This has been my JAM on Refeed Days–I have been eating one of these at 5 AM before my workout.  It’s awesome!

My cookies look very different than other people who have made them–I am sure I messed up the recipe somehow, but even if I didn’t and it was just a weird fluke, they still taste awesome (honestly, I think I may have accidentally used almond flour instead of coconut flour).  My cookies spread out more than they puffed up, so they are a little thin and kind of flimsy.  But it’s a chocolate cookie, so I kinda don’t care.  If it tastes good, I’m okay with it.

Just like last week’s cookie, I’m only eating one or two per Refeed Day, so the batch went into the freezer.  I take the cookie out the night before and thaw it in the fridge, then microwave for 10 seconds right before I eat it.  It’s a very moist cookie, so be sure you have a napkin around!

Double Chocolate Cookies (from Fixate)

¼ cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil, melted

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup canned lite coconut milk

1⁄3 cup coconut flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup dark chocolate chips, 70% cacao (or more)

 

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly coat baking sheet with spray. Set aside.

Combine oil, applesauce, maple syrup, and coconut milk in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside. Combine flours and cocoa powder in a small bowl; mix well.

Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture; mix until well blended. Add chocolate chips; mix until blended.

Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm.

 

1 cookie is 1 yellow container.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Refeed Day is the best.  I get to eat more, and I get to eat cookies.  This week and next I’ll be sharing my two favorite healthier cookie recipes with you all!  Please note that these aren’t HEALTHY cookies–they are simply better options!

The first is this gluten-free cookie.  Now, listen–this dough will not look like cookie dough.  It will be crumbly and you will think that you’ve messed up the recipe somehow.  IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE CRUMBLY!  I promise it will be okay.  They may not look pretty, but they will taste good!

I actually ended up adding a couple of tablespoons of water to my dough to make it a little easier to form–when I tried to put the first tbsp of dough onto the cookie sheet, it literally crumbled in my hands.  Oops.  I got the hang of it though.

The cookies won’t rise or spread much, so don’t worry about packing your dough too much as you shape the dough into the tbsp-sized balls.  Again, they will taste good, so who cares what they look like!

I have been eating one or two cookies at a time per Refeed Day, so I put my cooked cookies in the freezer in a freezer gallon bag.  I’ve been taking one out the night before I plan on eating them and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds right before I eat it.  It gets warm and yummy!

If you keep them on your countertop, eat them quickly because they only last for three days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Fixate)

¼ cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil, solid

½ cup coconut sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking soda, gluten-free

¼ tsp. baking powder, gluten-free

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

¼ cup dark chocolate chips, 70% cacao or higher

Preheat oven to 325º F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer; beat until well mixed. Add egg yolk and extract; mix well. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.

Add oil mixture to flour mixture; mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll into Tbsp.-sized balls and place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

 

1 cookie is 1 yellow container and 1/2 tsp.

80 Day Obsession Phase 2 Results!

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I cannot say enough how much I am LOVING this program!

I was so intimidated and scared to death before it started, but the longer we get into the process, the more I am loving it.  The workouts are tough, sure, but I am DOING THEM!  I am feeling stronger literally week by week, and sometimes day by day.  I am pushing myself more than I ever have before, and I’m being successful, which I honestly didn’t believe could happen.  I am sticking to the nutrition plan better and longer than I have EVER stuck to a plan before–I’m on day 57 of the nutrition and going strong!

For some reason that I really can’t explain, this program has been the easiest for me to stick to, even though it’s longer and more intense than anything I’ve ever done before.  It’s not EASY to stick to at all–I have cravings, and I have days where I really don’t want to work out.  But it has been easIER than past programs I’ve done.  I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, but haven’t been able to come up with a clear answer.  Maybe it’s the fact that I committed to a test group, meaning I committed to my company that I would follow the program exactly, instead of just doing it on my own.  Maybe it’s because I’m using the preworkout, so once I drink that, it’s accountability to actually do the workout–I’m not wasting that good stuff!  Maybe it’s because the nutrition plan is so structured and spelled out for me–it takes a lot of guesswork out for me and makes it simpler for me to make my meal plan for the week.  Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve consistently meal planned for more than 3 weeks in a row.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually doing meal prep on Sundays instead of trying to fix every meal every day.  Maybe it was because I was in the right place mentally to make a change.  I honestly don’t know, but whatever it is, this program brought it out in me and I love it!

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This second phase of the program was a “build” phase, so it’s not really designed to give big results as far as weight loss and fat loss.  These workouts were designed to build lean muscle and burn fat, but with more of an emphasis on building the lean muscle.  I still lost weight and inches, and am wearing a smaller size of jeans now, so I still got some awesome results, but definitely not as big of a drop as Phase 1.  Phase 3 is designed to be the shred phase, really focusing on fat loss, so I’m pretty pumped to see my results at the end!

The nutrition for Phase 2 was pretty identical to Phase 1, but added something totally new to my nutrition routine called Refeed Days.  Basically, Refeed Day is a day where I eat more fruit and more carbs than normal, and my carbs are refined flours to up my sugar levels to help my muscles recover better and faster.  I’m still eating my lean protein and veggies and I’m still following my plan, so it’s definitely NOT a free-for-all cheat day that I am normally accustomed to.  And that is fine with me!  I got to eat white flour waffles, some amazing cookies, and a whole banana in my shake–it was the best day.

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I was actually kind of scared of Refeed Day–because my past experience is with cheat days where I stuff my face, I was afraid of having cravings and having the Refeed Day turn into a Refeed Week, and derail me and my progress.  But that didn’t happen!!!  Know why?  BECAUSE I FOLLOWED THE PLAN.  I ate the approved Refeed foods and nothing else, and I went back to the regular meal plan the next day.  It’s pretty simple, y’all.  If you have a good plan and you actually follow it, it’s amazing what can happen!

I did get a little tired by the end of Refeed because of the extra sugar, but overall I felt GREAT.  I didn’t feel sick to my stomach, I didn’t have acid reflux like I was afraid of, and I felt great the next day too!  It really did up my energy and help me push more in my workout the next day, which was the whole point.  I get a Refeed Day every other week until the end of the program now, which is very exciting!  It’s nice to have a little bit of a mental break from focusing on eating what will fuel my body, to feel like I’m cheating just a little, but to still know that I’m 100% on track!

Overall, I am thrilled with Phase 2.  Not just with my Phase 2 results, but with my energy, my confidence, and the boost this entire program has given to my mindset.  I had completely lost that mindset that healthy living is a LIFESTYLE and had fallen into that trap of doing short-term plans, seeing some good results, and then going right back to my old habits.  It was a constant struggle and I struggled a lot with feeling like a failure.  NO MORE.  No freaking more!  I’m done with starting over–I’ve done it more than once, and I’m not planning on doing it again.  This program has done that for me and I’m so grateful–and it’s not even over yet!

I just started my newest accountability group–are you ready to make your transformation a reality?  Comment here or click “contact me” at the top of the page to get details on how to join the community!

Easy Chicken Quinoa Bowls

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This is one of my favorite quick meals!  It is a variation of the typical meal I would bring with me to work when I was still teaching–one bowl, lots of healthy nutrition, and easy to eat!  No heating up is required, which was SO helpful when I was teaching and only had 20 minutes to eat lunch!

This meal is super versatile, too–you can switch out the protein, the veggies, the carb, and even change out the herbs and seasonings to make whatever type of quinoa bowl you want–Asian inspired, a taco bowl, etc.  I stuck with the Greek theme here because I needed olives in my life!

The hardest part of this super simple recipe is prepping all the ingredients, so if you can buy pre-chopped onions, frozen cooked quinoa, and of course pre-pitted olives, that helps so much!  I also used dried parsley because I already had it on hand.  There are several ways you could shortcut this recipe–use a food processor for the veggies, buy lemon juice instead of juicing whole lemons, etc–but I personally enjoy all the prep work so I don’t mind doing it all myself.

The recipe below makes one quinoa bowl, but this is really easy to double or triple and make multiple servings at a time.  I made 5 servings on a Sunday afternoon and ate it for dinner all week!

Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Quinoa Bowl, aka Quinoa Tabouli Bowl (from Fixate)

½ cup cooked quinoa

1⁄3 cup chopped onion (approx. ½ medium onion)

1⁄3 cup chopped tomato (approx. ½ medium tomato)

1⁄3 cup chopped cucumber (approx. ½ medium cucumber)

¾ cup cooked chopped chicken breast, boneless, skinless

1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

10 kalamata olives, pitted and whole or chopped

Combine all the ingredients and toss to combine.  Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Container counts (per bowl): 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green, 1 orange, 1 tsp