ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

ETC: Week 39

Hi friends!

I hope your weeks are going well! We’ve had a great week so far as we continue to await the arrival of our little princess.

Our favorite part of the city 🤗


During our 39th week we didn’t have much going on, and it was amazing! The weekend weather was absolutely beautiful so we went on several super long walks. Walking is supposed to help induce labor, but I’m not sure it works for those of us who ran (marathons) during our entire pregnancy. Usually, the walks are just a way to stay sane and get out of the house. Also, it’s a fun way to explore the city as just Te & Leah, before we have a minion tagging along with us 🙂

We walked down to Lincoln Square in search of some raspberry leaf tea. The tea is supposed to help with labor (shorten it and make it less painful) we found it so, we’ll see if that’s true! We stopped in several little shops and had a really wonderful day! 

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, and that was amazing. All week, I was wondering “is today going to be the day?”, “will I go in to active labor on the rush hour train home?”, “when will this baby come out?”. All week, she stayed in her cozy apartment, aka my belly. 

Thursday, we went to eat and it ended in quite a scare. I ended up having a full blown panic attack due to a strange feeling I got in my lips after eating. It was very scary but after I spoke with the midwives and Te helped talk me down, I was able to relax and get some rest. It was definitely a wake up call that even though I’m pretty relaxed about the transition ahead, there’s a lot going ‘behind the scenes’ and even a small uncertainty can trigger a big reaction. Thankfully, I have a great teammate in my corner to help me work through it all. ❤

Friday, after work, Te pointed out that it was the last time we’d be driving home together (I’ll be working from home until maternity leave starts). It was a tough realization because not just our after work routines, but literally, our whole lives are going to change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited to start the “family” chapter, but it’s kind of sad knowing that the “Te and Leah only” chapter is coming to a close. It also made me sad realizing all of the times I would get sassy towards Te on the way home for no big reason. So, I cried. 🙂 haha 

After pulling it together, we decided to go out to dinner again because there are only so many more days of just us, plus I wanted to end our twosome date nights on a good note instead of the panic attack feelings of the night before. We went to a delicious burger place in the city and afterwards, we got deep dish cookies. Seriously. They were amazing! It was such a wonderful night and I have never felt so in love with my husband, who very soon, I will have to share with another little lady. 

Even though Te and I will have completely new schedules and routines and worries and frustrations, I am so confident in our partnership that I’m not worried about figuring it out. He’s such a wonderful partner in every way and I couldn’t be more excited to start this journey with him!

I am getting so excited to meet this little girl! I hope she comes soon! This Saturday, we hit 40 weeks and still no baby. Stay tuned for next week’s update. Hopefully we have a bumpdate + a baby update from our 40th week!

Until next time..

ETC: Week 37

Hi friends,

I hope everyone’s week is going well!

This week, was a milestone week as we have now technically reached *full term*! I cannot believe we are so close to meeting our little girl! In an effort to keep my weekly post promise as we wind down, here is my week 37 update!

One of many amazing flamingo walls in Chicago to match my pink shirt and the safari/jungle theme of Naomi’s room. This flamingo wall is in Humboldt park. 


Unfortunately, this week I was SICK! On Monday’s I always have my weekly check ups at the doctor. Well, last Monday, I woke up and went to the gym just like every other Monday. When I got there I stood on the elliptical and just thought to myself “nope.” Something was off. I walked on the treadmill for about 40 minutes then got ready for the day.

I was going through my normal Monday job tasks and I just felt terrible; nauseous, FREEZING but my body was warm, tired, just completely not myself. I made it through the day (barely) and met Te after work to head to the appointment.

Once we got to the doctor, I told them I felt awful and they checked my temperature. Sure enough, 100.5 – low grade fever. Due to my fever, the baby’s heart rate was elevated so we had to stay in the office for 30 minutes while they hooked me up to a non-stress test monitor and checked to see if over the span of time, Naomi’s heart rate went down. 30 minutes later, it did not. We were sent down to labor and delivery so I could get some IV fluids in me and be continuously monitored for a longer period of time to make sure baby was ok. 

4 hours, 3 tubes of blood drawn, 2 bags of IV fluid and one other miscellaneous test, I was re-hydrated, Naomi’s heart rate went down and we were stable enough to be discharged. Woof. It was 11 pm and Te and I were both exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, but we were super thankful that both baby and I were doing better.

Luckily, my fever did not follow me throughout the week but I did battle a virus all week long. I finally felt better on Saturday. Luckily my hubby took great care of me all week and allowed me to rest and recover.

Being sick was my first real scary moment as a parent. There was nothing I could do but rest and recover as this virus passed through my system. It was awful. I’m so thankful God protected me and Naomi through it all. Ever since, she’s been moving around like crazy in preparation for her big debut (very soon, I hope!). It’s so bizarre that Te and I never EVER get sick (knock on wood) but of course this year we both got hit. It was definitely tough but again, I’m so thankful we all pulled through! 

Looking ahead to week 38, I’m very excited! We are so close and with each day that passes, we are getting ready to celebrate the birthday of our first human baby (because, Pumbaa is our first baby.. 😻). I’m so READY – we both are. Hopefully next week, I will have a more positive update for you all, sans any illnesses. I may even have a baby announcement! Stay tuned friends!

Until next time..

ETC: Another New Year

Hi friends,

The time has come, yet again, to ring in another new year. I hope everyone had a safe and cheerful new year’s celebration. Today, as they say, is page 1 of the 365-page novel we call, “2017”.

Before I set new goals, I am going to take a moment to reflect on the goals I set for myself in 2016. I created resolutions that represented each category of my blog: Explore, Thank, Create, as well as a few additional. Let’s take a look at what I accomplished and what got pushed to the side.

2016 Resolutions: Explore
1. Explore 20 new things (cities, states, restaurants, fitness classes, recipes, etc).
This goal was definitely accomplished. I traveled to Grand Rapids, NYC and Palm Springs, joined NRC run club, started practicing ‘Yoga with Adriene‘, went to several new restaurants for brunch and dinner around the city. I visited the Field Museum in Chicago and rode the CTA Holiday Train, both for the first time. Also, I tried lots of new recipes ranging from no added sugar to tasty new desserts. This past year was definitely one of exploration and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the new experiences I created.

2016 Resolutions: Thank
1. Continue serving at church as needed & attending small groups when offered
Although there was a short break I took from church, once I went back, I jumped in full force. I joined a serving team and a small group right away. I’m happy for the supportive community who welcomed me back.
2. Read my Bible

Eek. I did not do good on this. I did try to keep up with my daily verse on the Bible app but I must get more disciplined in reading the word of the Lord regularly.

2016 Resolutions: Create
1. Continue posting 1 or more blog posts per week
I took several long breaks from my blog this year with a few ‘catch up’ posts.
2. DIY as much wedding stuff as possible to save some dinero🙂
Well, we DEFINITELY DIY’d our wedding. After quickly changing our plans from an October 2016 wedding to a February 2016 wedding, we didn’t have time for many expensive decisions anyway 🙂 . I was able to borrow a dress from an amazing friend, created invites online and made TONS of decor at home. We saved a ton of money and had the wedding of our dreams just 4 short months after our engagement. Best. Decision. Ever.

2016 Resolutions: Wellness
1. Run 15 or more miles each week
On average, this happened for the majority of the year. AND, I completed the Chicago marathon. 🙂
2. Practice yoga 2 times per week
On average, this did not happen. I definitely found an awesome yoga channel I can tune in to at home, but I was not disciplined in my practice.
3. Become Personal Trainer Certified
This one is still pending. I’m trying to figure out if this is truly the route I want to take. More to come on that. 🙂
4. Be less stressed out/anxious – Trust God more
Eek. I have not been the best at this. It’s a process and I’m still working on it.

2016 Resolutions: Community
1. Have a friend date once per month
This happened! I even started a monthly lunch club with some of my best gals. 
2. Get married to my best friend in front of some of our closest friends & family
Check! And I couldn’t be happier 🙂

2016 Resolutions: Follow Up
1. Practice Spanish 3 times per week for 1 hour each
Well, this did not happen. I need to get more disciplined with this because I really want to teach Naomi Spanish. Mama’s workin’ on it!
2. Read 10 books (2 of which in Spanish)
Ah, reading. Well, I read my small group book, I read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ and I read a LOT of articles. As far as book, I haven’t been reading much. I’ll need to rework this goal.

WOW! I was ambitious last year 🙂 There were many goals I accomplished and some that fell by the way side. This year, I have to be realistic in my goal setting because I will soon be a mommy and it will no longer be all about me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on my personal goals for the coming year. Naomi needs a role model 🙂 Here are my 2017 Resolutions:

2017 Resolutions:

  1. Practice Yoga 2 times per week.
  2. Run a total of 365 miles over the course of the year.
  3. Read [at least] 10 pages of a book every day.
  4. Post a blog update [at least] twice per month.
  5. Keep a jar of memories; Each week Te and I write on a slip of paper the highs and lows of the week. Next NYE we will read each note.
  6. Remind myself every day that I am doing the best that I can; speaking positive reinforcements to myself instead of always telling myself I could/should be doing more/better.

I definitely cut down on the list of resolutions this year. I tried to focus in on some of those that I let slip last year, and added those which I can keep up with, despite becoming increasingly busy [and tired] new mommy.

How do you hold yourself accountable to your resolutions? One of my friends creates a ‘dream board’ each year. Her dream board is a visual representation of her goals for the year. I think this is a great way to remind yourself of your goals and stay focused on your plans. This year, I probably won’t create a dream board, although it’s a fabulous idea, but I do plan to write these down in my phone and on paper at my desk, as well as at home, so I am forced to remind myself of these goals each and every day.

So, what are your goals for 2017? I’d love to hear about your 2016 reflections, as well as your goals for the upcoming year. Leave it in the comments below!

Happy New Year!! May God bless you and your families this year.

Until next time..

ETC: A 4 Week Nutrition Journey – Part 3

Hi friends! I hope your weeks have been going well! It’s finally feeling like summertime in Chicago with the sunshine, warm temperatures and the return of a classic summertime staple in the grocery stores, Watermelon!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last followed up on our nutrition journey. How has your journey been going? I hope some of the tips I’ve given have helped save you money and time when it comes to feeding your family. I’d love to hear your success stories (or any questions you might have) in the comments below!

Today, we are going to talk kitchen fundamentals. This post is for those of you truly do not like to cook. If you do not enjoy cooking, it can be due to many things; you might not be great at it, you might not know where to start or you might just think it’s too complicated. No matter what stage of disliking cooking you’re in, have no fear! With a few simple tips, you can get started cooking in no time!

Let’s set the playing field before we get in to it. No one is born a great cook. Everyone has to learn how to cook and in that process, burn something 7 times, but still try an 8th time. I cook often and I believe that I cook pretty well. However, I did not grow up in a kitchen or in a family where we cooked together every night, allowing me to learn cooking skills. Nope. In fact, I pretty much taught myself to cook through the power of google, food magazines and the food network. So let my story be your example if you feel like you’ll never learn to cook. If you have a desire to provide healthy meals to your family by cooking meals, you definitely can do exactly that!

To make cooking something you enjoy, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Have you ever found a recipe online that sounds delicious but when you go look in your pantry, none of the ingredients are to be found? Here are a few items I suggest you stock in your kitchen that will allow you to make a wide variety of recipes:

Essential Tools:

  • Knives: you’ll want a good set of kitchen knives so your cutting and chopping will be quick and easy. You can get a decent chef knife at almost any store. Heck, go to Target! There are plenty of options that range from $17.99 up to $59.99. Just get yourself a few good knives.
  • Cutting board: I would recommend at least 2 cutting boards, one for meat and one for veggies and fruit. Again, these can be found at Target. I use both wood and plastic, wood for meat, plastic for veggies and fruits, but you can choose your preference.
  • Pots and pans: I bought myself the Rachael Ray 15 piece set on Black Friday about a year ago for $89.99 and so far it’s been pretty great. Since we have a few months to go until Black Friday, I would suggest you get at least one pan and at least one large pot. This will give you options to cook meats and saute veggies in the pan as well as boil eggs and veggies in the pot. You can find pots and pans anywhere! Here’s a link to Target’s Rachael Ray Porcelain 12 piece set.
  • Mixing Bowls: You’ll want bowls to mix things in, whether it’s fruit salad or brownies, get yourself a big bowl.
  • Kitchen Utensil Set: Bed, Bath and Beyond has a 7-piece Kitchen Utensil Set for $8. You’ll need these things, go splurge.
    • While you’re there, a non essential, but very handy gadget to have is a Garlic Press. I used to chop garlic piece by piece, but since getting my garlic press, my quality of life has improved.

Essential Pantry Items:

Now that you’ve got the tools to make you a successful cook, I suggest stocking your pantry with a few items that you’ll need for most recipes. Also, some spices can be used on just about anything, whether it’s Mexican or Italian food, these are the must haves in your pantry.

  • Garlic [Powder/Salt]: I actually keep all three stocked in my pantry! Fresh garlic is great to put with chicken or steaks! Garlic powder is my savior when I don’t feel like using the garlic press. I sparingly use garlic salt because I don’t like to use salt much, but if I do, it works great when I’m sauteing veggies or roasting sweet potato fries.
  • Black Pepper: I love my black pepper grinder. I put tons of black pepper on everything, always freshly cracked. Get yourself a nice grinder and some black peppercorns, your taste buds will thank you!
  • Olive Oil: I don’t use this as much now, because I usually use coconut oil. But olive oil is great to have on hand for a variety of recipes.
  • Coconut Oil: I use this to fry up veggies and meat. I always buy the organic, unrefined coconut oil and am not shy with my scoops.
  • Cinnamon: I think this is an essential because I eat oats a few mornings each week and cinnamon is such a great topper for oats!
  • Chili Powder: Everything is better with a kick! I add chili powder to most of my recipes because I enjoy the spice. It has such a great flavor with a mild kick, I’d recommend having it around!

Once you have your kitchen in order with a few of the above listed essentials, you’re still probably thinking, ‘but I still hate cooking, so how will these help?’

A couple of ways the above lists will help you learn to love cooking are:

  1. You’ll now be prepared. You might not be prepared to make every recipe you find, but you can prepare a lot of basic recipes with the above tools.
  2. You’ll have the opportunity to buy tools that you like. If you don’t like cooking because you are using that old pan from your grandma’s kitchen, toss it out and get a pan in your favorite color. Pick kitchen utensils that you enjoy using and that make your cooking process enjoyable (ex: a good knife) and it will really help change your perspective.

If you’re still skeptical because you fear you’ll burn things or you just don’t know what to do when you get in the kitchen, here are a few beginner tips to get you through:

  1. Do not be afraid of ‘ruining’ something. You might burn it, that is OK. You must not let the fear of messing things up prevent you from trying! This rule is rule #1 because it’s most important. Burn something 7 times, you better try for 8! 🙂
  2. Cook things at a lower temp for a bit longer. A prime example is chicken. Warm up your coconut oil in a pan over low-medium heat, place your chicken in the pan and add some seasoning (pepper, garlic, chili powder) then cover. Allow the chicken to cook slowly on the one side for several minutes, uncover, flip the chicken to the other side and recover. By cooking your chicken on a lower temperature, you’re allowing it to cook thoroughly and retain the juiciness! Also, all of the flavors of your spices will surround the chicken by keeping the lid on it. Give it a whirl!
  3. Find simple recipes. You don’t need to make a masterpiece to eat healthy. If salads are all you can handle, start with salads. Perfect the salad then move on to adding chicken breast or steak. Start simple and once you’ve mastered a few meals, start looking for a new challenge.
  4. Get creative! There are plenty of recipes out there that call for a million ingredients. See if you can tweak them and work with what you have. There are plenty of times I’ll mostly follow a recipe but omit a few ingredients because they are either very small parts of the recipe and I don’t have the ingredient or I’ll only plan to use that ingredient for this one recipe so I don’t see use in buying it. When that happens, use the recipe as inspiration; you don’t need to go out and full bottles/jars of spices for one recipe if you don’t plan to use them again. Try to get creative with what you’ve already got and you might surprise yourself!
  5. Have fun! Cooking should be fun. You might not be ‘the best’ cook, but you can learn to enjoy it. Cooking opens up many doors to being healthy. Once you learn to enjoy cooking, you become in control of what your family eats instead of giving that power to Betty Crocker. You’ll pick the ingredients that fuel your body and your family and that is such a positively powerful thing!

In honor of tradition, I’ve added a delicious recipe below that anyone should enjoy cooking because it’s a Brownie recipe!! You’re thinking ‘What? Aren’t we talking about nutrition here? How are you going to give us a brownie recipe?’ Well my friends, this recipe only calls for 3 ingredients, all of which can be purchased and used in other common recipes. Also, these brownies are quick, healthy and delicious. I hope you enjoy!!

3 Ingredient Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 3 Overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut butter – I used creamy sunflower butter)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (the more cocoa powder you use, the richer the brownies will be)

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend until banana chunks are mostly smooth, like brownie batter
  • Pour batter into a greased 8×8 cake pan and back for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow your brownies to cool completely before cutting.
  • I topped my brownies with powdered sugar (a very small sprinkle) but additional toppings could include nut butter (as a frosting) nuts or dried fruit!

img_8158img_8160-1IMG_1249

I hope today’s tips will help you appreciate cooking! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I am looking forward to next week, the last week of our journey, where we get into more detail about how to make food tasty!

Lastly, if you have it in your hearts and your wallets, I’m still on my journey training for the Chicago Marathon and fundraising $1,000 for Girls on the Run as I go! Here is my fundraising link. I would love if you could donate today! http://bit.ly/25PECj1

Stay well this week my friends!

Until next time..

Create: A seafood recipe

Hi friends! I hope you all had a great weekend and the beginning half of the week is treating you well! This past weekend was a much slower weekend than I am used to having, and I loved it! We started our ‘slow’ weekend on Friday night by staying home and making dinner. I didn’t have a particular recipe in mind, but I had a lot of options to work with and I knew I wanted something healthy.

Do you ever have a boat load of left over ingredients that you don’t know what to do with? At that point are you the “I think I’ll just throw these out and start fresh.” or the “Let’s see what I can whip up with these!” type? Personally, I love making up new recipes, so that’s exactly what I did.

I don’t have a name for this recipe, but let’s just refer to is as the Shrimp & Vegetable Sautee. I started off roasting 1 sweet potato in the oven. Te kindly cut the sweet potato into wedges for me, then I added a bit of extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper and salt, mixed it all around and spread it out on the pan. I cooked the wedges at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes were roasting I put some coconut oil in a pan and sauteed brussel sprouts and edamame with fresh garlic & cracked black pepper. Simultaneously, I started cooking shrimp, topped it with Italian seasoning and lemon.

When everything was said and done, I mixed the sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and edamame together and portioned in a bowl for each of us to eat. Then I added some Parmesan cheese & squeeze of lemon. I topped the veggies with the shrimp and a bit more Parmesan cheese (because, cheese is amazing) and that was dinner!

All in all, it took about 40 minutes (the sweet potatoes took the longest), it was healthy, and it paired great with the sparkling wine we had in the fridge 🙂

shrimp

Recipe for Shrimp & Vegetable Dinner

Since the wedding, my eating habits have been extremely questionable. I’ve been enjoying too many treats and just eating more than my body needs. My body has been craving the fruits and veggies I was once fueling it with. This recipe was a delicious way to stay on track as we started off the weekend!

Have you ever made a delicious meal on accident? What was it? I’d love for you to leave it in the comments below! Recipe sharing is the best 🙂

Check out the recipe here: (sorry, since this was ad hoc, I do not have exact measurements!)

INGREDIENTS (Makes 2-3 bowls):

  • 1 large sweet potato (cut in to wedges)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 bag of frozen edamame
  • 1 full bag of frozen shrimp
  • extra virgin olive oil (approx 1-2 tsp)
  • coconut oil (approx 2 tsp)
  • Parmesan cheese (approx 1/4 cup)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • Italian seasoning (approx 1-2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut your sweet potato into wedges, place on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1-2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil onto the sweet potato wedges, then sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and a dash of salt. Mix the ingredients around on the pan until each wedge is coated with EVOO, salt and pepper then spread the pieces out so they are not touching. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. **At 20 minutes, shuffle the pieces around, they should be getting brown on one side so flip them or give the pan a good shake around **
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat your coconut oil in a pan and add the frozen brussel sprouts and edamame. Add black pepper and let the veggies sautee for 5-10 minutes, while stirring every few minutes. Once done, cover and set aside.
  4. Heat up a small scoop (1/2 tsp) of coconut oil in a separate pan and add your frozen shrimp. Let them cook a few minutes without adding any seasoning. Drain the excess water/juice after a few moments.
  5. Put the shrimp back on the hot pan and add 1/2 tsp olive oil to the pan, sprinkle your Italian seasoning and squeeze 1/2 lemon onto the shrimp, continuously stirring the shrimp. Cover for 3-5 minutes. Once shrimp are done, cover and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, mix your sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and edamame together and squeeze 1/4 of the remaining half of your lemon onto the warm veggies. Portion them evenly into a bowl. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.Layer the warm shrimp on top of the veggies and add more Parmesan cheese & your last 1/4 of lemon juice. (I also used the left over juices in the shrimp pan and poured them over the dish, giving it a little extra sauce)
  7. Enjoy a healthy meal with a glass of white wine and your best friend (or package up the rest for a quick lunch the next day!)

Until Next Time..

 

Create: A Meal Prep Plan

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a joyous new year’s celebration. I’m sure many of you made some sort of resolution for the coming year. Many of those resolutions probably include some sort of wellness improvement; workout more, eat healthier, meditate, etc.

How are you approaching the execution of your goals? Did you write down a plan? If not, you should! I’m a firm believer that writing things down makes it easier to own them and follow through on your plans.

A few people have asked me about meal prep recently and assuming some of your resolutions are to eat healthier, I thought I would share some of my meal prep answers, tips and recipes with you!

Meal prep questions:
Q1. Doesn’t it get boring eating the same thing every day?
A1. Not really. Usually for lunches I’ll have the same main dish, but I’ll bring different snacks each day to switch things up.

Q2. Isn’t it expensive?
A2. It doesn’t have to be! I shop at Aldi for the majority of my produce, brown rice and black beans, which saves a lot of money. Also, I plan what I’m having for lunches, then try to use any left over ingredients for dinners.

Q3. What about dinners? What do you make?
A3. I don’t make dinners ahead of time for the week (although I might start) but I do plan what I’m making when I go to the store and I keep that list of meals written in my phone. I try to make some sort of fish at least once per week, a chicken dish and a meatless meal. Sometimes turkey burgers or on occasion, red meat burgers.

Q4. How do you meal prep? How does it work?
A4. Meal prep day for me is Sunday. I usually spend about 2 hours in the kitchen preparing lunches and snacks for the week. I cook the lunches I’ve prepared, I portion out the food by splitting it equally and any recommended guidelines, and I bag up any snacks for the week (trail mix, carrots, etc). During the week, it’s as simple as putting a few snacks + the main dish in the lunchbox and we’re ready to go.

One of my favorite recipes to make is simple, healthy and inexpensive. Also, the ingredients typically make about 8-9 portioned out meals. It is simply brown rice, veggies and meat or tofu as an option.

(Meatless) Rice & Veggies
INGREDIENTS:
– 2 cups rice
– Zucchini (4 small/medium)
– 1-2 bell peppers
– ½ – 1 medium purple onion (or any onion you choose)
– Cayenne
– Cracked black pepper
– Turmeric
– Garlic (or garlic powder if I don’t have fresh garlic)
– Broccoli (optional)
– Tofu, Chicken, any other meat (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
– Cook 2 cups of rice – set aside
– Chop up your favorite veggies and stir fry them in coconut oil. I typically use 4 small/medium zucchini, 1-2 sliced bell peppers, ½-1 purple onion.
– On the veggies I sprinkle cayenne, cracked black pepper, turmeric and garlic (powder)

I don’t have spice measurements because I just do it by look. I can tell you I sprinkle a good amount of cayenne for a good kick and crack a ton of black pepper and just a little bit of turmeric (it stains everything yellow so beware…)

– Sometimes I also cook broccoli which I steam. Since I don’t have a steamer I boil a huge pot of water and put my fresh, chopped broccoli in the boiling water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes I strain the broccoli and then dump it into a large pot of cold water with ice cubes so it stops cooking.

– Add tofu, chicken (I cook 4-5 tenderloins) or go without meat/tofu completely and just add more veggies!

PORTION:
I portion ½ cup of rice into each lunch container (I usually get about 8) and then I’ll divvy out the veggies, starting one scoop at a time to each container, so that they are about even. Any extras I just portion out evenly, same with any meat/tofu.

I typically spend about 2 hours in the kitchen prepping lunches and snacks which sets us up for the entire week. That way, I can come home from work during the week and pack a lunch in under a minute! 🙂

If you have any further questions, I’d love to chat! Leave me a note in the comments.

It might sound scary and cumbersome at first, but it really isn’t too bad. Especially if you want to free up some time during your weeknights!

Follow me @leahbeutler on instagram for additional recipes and recipe inspirations, as well as some kick ass workout motivation 😉

Until next time..