Meal Prep 3.7.16 with Lemon Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry

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Happy March readers! This is one of my favorite months, mainly because my birthday and anniversary fall into this month, which means a lot of fun outings. Unfortunately it means a lot of higher calorie meals ahead. So for me, keeping up my meal prep and nutrition will be key so I can indulge on those special nights without too much guilt. I’m a strong believer in an 80/20 life: 80% clean foods and 20% everything else. 80% healthy, 20% treats and wine. 🙂

So this week you will see some familiar meals (egg cups and the sandwich) because of left overs and frozen foods I’ve prepped. But a new addition is the Lemon Asparagus Stir Fry that I will share below. I found it via Pinterest on a blog called Home Cooking Memories and it’s tasty  and easy to make! But before we jump into that, let’s see what I am eating this week.

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We start with some basic fruit – I’m cleaning out my crispers so no new berries or fresh cut fruit until I eat all that I currently have. I have a ton of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples left and Cuties floating around so I need to eat those up.

Then you will see a rotation of raw almonds and lime chipotle pecans portioned out. A portion of almonds is 1/4 cup and pecans is 2 tablespoons.

Following is my Shakeology. Chocolate and Greenberry are my top two flavors and I use Shakeology as a post-workout meal. I stress MEAL because I use it as a meal replacement. It contains a huge dose of protein, gives me a natural boost of energy, helps my hair, skin and nails and just makes me feel healthier. I’ve lost over 15 pounds using this as a meal replacement with a workout and cleaner eating regimine.

Lastly, you will see baggies of mixed veggies – fresh cut broccoli, organic baby carrots and snap peas are my favorites.

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The second part of my meal prep continues with more fruit. I’m allotted 2 servings a day on my 21 Day Fix plan and they are the highlights of my day. 🙂

Next may look like weird burnt disks, but it’s actually brussels sprouts. I’ve NEVER made them before but I saw them on a manager’s special at the store and figured I would give it a whirl. I roasted them with balsamic and olive oil and they turned out amazing, but the balsamic turns them a bit dark.

Following that is some homemade guacamole. My guacamole is all done to taste or I would share! It’s an avocado with garlic, chipotle hot sauce, pepper, salt, lemon juice and some salsa for an extra kick. I will dip the veggies in this throughout the week for a dose of healthy fat and flavor.

Next to the guac is the left overs of some hummus and homemade salad dressing – 2 TBS each for veggie dipping as well.

The final row is the Lemon Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry. Then a sandwich with veggie protein slices, lettuce and Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese. Next to that is more stir fry and sandwiches between the stir fries are homemade egg cups with mushroom, spinach, red pepper and a little bit of light cheddar cheese.

So that’s what I’m eating this week! Lots of veggies and fruits, high protein lunches and some fun new foods.

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So let’s chat about this delicious Lemon Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry. It takes just 15 minutes to make and it’s 4 delicious servings. Perfect for a family or an avid meal prepper like me!

One of my favorite things about this stir fry is that it has equal amounts of shrimp and asparagus — 1 pound of each. That makes it easy to convert in your head so you know that you are getting 4 oz of veggies and 4 oz of protein with each serving.

I made a few substitutions based on what was in my cupboard and to make it pescatarian which I have noted in the ingredients listing below.

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Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and each stalk cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (to make it easier use Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Lemon Sauce
  • ⅔ cup chicken stock – I used vegetable stock to make it pescatarian
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch – I don’t have cornstarch so I used potato flakes as a thickener
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (if you don’t have lemons or patience, just add an extra splash of lemon juice.)

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Instructions
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all of the lemon sauce ingredients and set aside.

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  • In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan in a single layer and cook for about 3 minutes, turning them over to cook both sides. Season shrimp with ¼ teaspoon salt. Shrimp should be beginning to pink on both sides and be opaque, but just slightly undercooked. Remove from frying pan and place shrimp on a plate.

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  • In same frying pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, bright green, and just barely beginning to brown. Season asparagus with ¼ teaspoon salt (or more if needed). Add ginger and garlic and stir to combine with asparagus. Cook for another 30-45 seconds or so.

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  • Pour in lemon sauce mixture into frying pan with asparagus. Add shrimp back into pan and combine sauce with asparagus and shrimp. Simmer for about a minute or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!

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Optional: add to the top of brown rice or quinoa for a heartier meal

If you are a meal prepper, divide into 4 portions for lunches. I made two cups of brown rice to go with it, 1/2 a cup in each container and it was a filling, light lunch.

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**Let’s connect!

http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscles

IG: @coachmirandam

Twitter: @Miranda_tm

Message me on FB or here to be added to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group where you will learn how to meal plan and prep like a pro! :)**

 

 

Meal Prep Monday with Honey Pecan Salmon Recipe- 1.18.16

Happy MLK Jr. Day readers! Today I got to run a ton of errands, workout, etc. but it put me slightly behind on my blogging so this will be a little later than usual.

This week I tried some new things, particularly a recipe from the “Fixate” cookbook. The “Fixate” book is all 21 Day Fix approved recipes and most are pretty delicious! I’m also bringing back an old favorite- honey pecan salmon. Yuuummm!

I also started the 21 Day Fix workout program and meal plan this week–I’m excited to try the program I’ve seen people lose up to 17 pounds on in just three weeks! It’s an awesome circuit training system with 30 minute workouts, simple nutrition and color-coded portion control containers. Learn more here: http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCP21D160?referringRepId=850546

So let’s get on with it…here is what I’m eating this week.

meal prep 1.18 edamame

The first row starts off with some Shakeology and moves into the Fixate Edamame Salad with Asian Dressing (also from the “Fixate” book).  The salad has edamame, napa cabbage, carrots, red pepper, cilantro, avocado and black sesame seeds in it. Topped off with the dressing, it’s a pretty fantastic meal and 21 Day Fix approved!

meal prep 1.18 second row soup and falafel

Moving on, the second row features an organic broccoli cheese soup, a small portion of honey pecan salmon, falafel I got at Trader Joes (we will see how they taste!) and raspberries. This row also begins and ends with Shakeology as I drink it daily to get all my vitamins and nutrients in.

final two rows meal prep 1.18

The third row begins with a halved grapefruit, roasted root veggies (parsnips, carrots, sweet potato and red potato in olive oil with garlic and pepper), a Sandwich Thin and Laughing Cow cheese wedge to go with the smoked salmon, fruit and Shakeology.

And the last row is Shakeology, fruit, veggies with hummus, celery with Laughing Cow Cheese and more materials for the salmon sandwich.

Here are two side views of the Shakeology I plan to drink. I have chocolate (my fav), Greenberry (second fav!), vanilla, vegan chocolate and strawberry. I like to have the packets for the variety. It gives me a natural boost of energy, helps my hair, skin and nails and just makes me feel healthier. Plus it helps me lose weight when I replace a meal with it.

 

Now onto the recipe this week. Honey Pecan Salmon was something my husband and I made for a special meal in a few years back. It is simple, tasty and not too bad for you–really the least healthy thing is bread crumbs!

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So to start you will need:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 TBS Dijon or honey mustard
  • 1.5 TBS butter, melted
  • 1.5 TBS honey
  • 4 TBS bread crumbs
  • 4 TBS crushed pecans
  • 2 TBS parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

honey pecan salmon dressing

In a small bowl, mix mustard, butter and honey

honey pecan salmond breading

In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, parsley and pecans

Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper

dressed honey pecan salmon

Brush the mustard-honey mixture on one side of salmon. Then cover with bread crumbs. Place face-down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the mustard-honey mixture on the other side of the salmon and top with remaining bread crumbs.

ready to bake honey pecan salmon

Bake for 10-12 minutes per inch of thickest part of fillet or until it flakes.

finished honey pecan salmon

Pair with some healthy sides, maybe some wine and enjoy!

**Interested in daily motivation, health tips and recipes? Connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/MotivationandMuscle. Message me to be added to a free, 5-day healthy eating challenge group where you will learn how to meal plan and prep like a pro! :)**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unbiased PiYo and Shakeology Review – Week 1

PiYo I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with one. I am not being compensated for this review. My goal is to provide real information about my experience with this program. I will be checking in weekly and posting my results at the bottom of each entry.

Well, I finally took the plunge! After a few months of encouragement from a Beachbody coach, I decided to purchase a Challenge package that included Shakeology and PiYo. Why?

* I noticed my clothes were getting tighter and it was bumming me out

* I love Pilates and have always wondered about this program

* I want to tone up and gain strength

* It was on sale with purchase of Shakeology

I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor who teaches Pilates, so I am not new to fitness. I am skeptical of  many “As Seen on TV” workouts as they usually promise fast results but don’t give you the correct resources for maintaining them. Many often are paired with crash dieting.  Before purchasing the PiYo package I scoured the internet for reviews on the program, researched the meal plan and Shakeology ingredients, asked Beachbody lots of questions and watched snippets of the program online.

Here are my results from participating in the full program (workout schedule, meal plan, support group and daily Shakeology) for the first week. This review will be the longest to explain what the plan requires in each category, so subsequent weeks will be shorter!

The Workouts:

Included with all the packages is a comprehensive 2-month calendar of what workout to do on each day. Each week includes one day of rest, which is smart and essential for muscle recovery. Workouts are typically 20-35 minutes in length and include a fast-paced, brief warm up that transitions into the main workout with stretching between. There is very little in terms of a “cool down.” If you are someone who requires a longer warm up or cool down, I would suggest stretching before and after the DVD. The daily routines focus on rotating parts of the body – upper body one day, lower the next to let the muscles recover.

Your first week is spent on DVD one. Day one you will watch “Align” where you learn the fundamentals of each pose, some transitions and the PiYo lingo. If you are familiar with Pilates or Yoga, much of this will be a review. I really like how focused on correct alignment Chalene is, it adds a lot of credibility and safety to a home workout program. As an instructor myself, I really appreciated that. Chalene talks a lot, but her cues are really great so that even in down dog you can just listen and follow her instruction without trying to do contortions to watch the screen. “Align” is not a workout, so don’t expect to be challenged.

“Define: Lower Body” is next, it works your legs, glutes, hamstrings, etc. I liked the exercises in this, but was not very challenged. I think if I was less flexible or new to Pilates, it may have presented a challenge, but I think the goal is to get you accustomed to the movements, flow and correct alignment in each pose.

“Define: Upper Body” follows. I have less upper body strength, so it was nice for me to work on some areas I don’t gravitate towards. The biggest takeaway from this workout for me was the correct way to do tricep push ups. Chalene likes to throw those in between various moves, so expect to see a lot of them. It offered a light challenge to me.

“Sweat” is the last workout on the DVD. It is very fast, works your whole body and is the longest one yet (35 minutes). This is finally when I actually felt like I had accomplished something. The flows are quick and challenging. There are a lot of exercises utilizing your body weight, so you can feel the challenge but also need to be mindful of your alignment in the positions to avoid an achy back. I really enjoyed this one and could feel my muscles the next day, so I know it worked me harder than the others.

Overall: Week one wasn’t as challenging as I would have wanted, however I did work some areas I don’t typically and got a nice sweat on during “Sweat.” If the rest of the DVDs are anything like “Sweat” then I am optimistic I’ll see changes.

The Meal Plan:

caloric baselineYou start off your meal planning by measuring yourself, weighing yourself and figuring out your caloric baseline aka how much you can eat to see results without starving yourself. I’ve included the Caloric Baseline calculator here.

From there, weekly meal planning is key. For my caloric baseline I have to eat 4 servings of protein, 3 servings of veggies, 2 servings of fruit, 2 starches, 1 healthy fat serving (guacamole, light cheeses, etc.), 1 serving of dressings and/or nuts and 2 tablespoons healthy oils and nut butters daily. Shakeology is one of your proteins daily. You are also allowed “free” foods such as vinegar, spices, hot sauce, lemon juice, etc.

I am already someone who eats whole, organic foods as often as possible, but this has really made me realize how important portions are. Since starting this meal plan, I am realizing my idea of portions was way out of wack on some items. The plan teaching me proper portion size is a huge benefit to me for my ongoing health. I am also incorporating more nuts and seeds into my diet than ever before, an unexpected bonus.

Trying to meet these limits daily without a plan is not a good idea. Thankfully, I have done meal planning in the past so I have been carving out time to prep on the Sunday before the week starts. I usually cook up 1-2 options for lunch that incorporate protein and veggies, bag and measure fruits, slice veggies, pour dressings and seeds into small containers, etc. I will be honest, this takes me about 2-3 hours to decide what to eat, make it and portion it out, BUT I don’t have pack my lunch nightly like before. I store it all in a plastic bag so my husband doesn’t eat any and pull the necessary containers each day out and place them in my lunch bag the day before. This has kept me on track the week plus I have been doing this and takes away trying to add up my portions each day. I made a Pinterest board of meal and snack ideas that work with the plan here.

I have also been able to go out to restaurants, I just look at the menu ahead of time and choose light protein and sub out sides for healthy veggies and fruit. It’s actually not that hard if you have a place that offers grilled fish, healthy sandwiches, soups or salads.

One thing to point out, 3 times a week you are allowed to swap a starch for a 4 oz glass of wine, chocolate, etc. I love wine. Love it. So this has been a bummer. But I have been able to share a small glass with friends and then just drink water the rest of the time to avoid being a social recluse.

Overall: The meal plan is very balanced and easy to maintain with some preparation. I don’t have to avoid going to restaurants or social outings, which is a huge plus. I really miss chocolate and enjoying more than a few sips of wine though.

Shakeology:

shakeology ingrediantsBefore starting the plan, it was near impossible to find a Shakeology review from anyone BUT a Beachbody coach. It was hella annoying to start reading and find out, “oh this person actually sells it…” So here is my one week experience using it daily as a non coach.

Shakeology is the part I was most skeptical about due to it’s high price tag. Many Beachbody affiliates claim “Oh it’s cheaper than a breakfast at McDonald’s”…that’s true, but as someone who eats a Chobani for breakfast daily for a few years, my budget for breakfast is like $1. Shakeology works out to be about $4/serving if you buy it at the non-club or non-coach price. That’s pretty steep, but I justified it by getting a package.

The ingredient list is above, it IS filled with a lot of GMO-free items, protein and tons of vitamins. I am ditching my regular vitamins for the next two months so I don’t OD, so Shakeology is “saving” me money on that I guess. It is incorporating a lot of super foods, so I appreciate that as well.

The taste is far better than most meal replacement shakes. No, it doesn’t taste like a milkshake, but it’s the second closest thing I’ve found that does (Muscle Milk is first, but it’s just FILLED with sugar so I don’t use it). I mix mine in my Nutribullet with water and ice. Some days I will add a little PB2 (powdered peanut butter) or mint extract for a flavor kick. I worry I will get bored with it, so I went to handy dandy Pinterest and made a pin board of recipes. You can find it here.

Overall: Drinking Shakeology once a day has been easier than expected and knocks out one of the four proteins I need daily. I’m a pescatarian (fish, dairy, etc. but no meat) so it is a nice way to get my nutrients and tastes like a treat. Is it worth the high cost? I’m not sure yet.

Coach and Challenge Group:

Prior to starting the PiYo Challenge, I had done a few free challenge groups with my Beachbody online. I reconnected with a high school acquaintances who is a Beachbody coach a few months ago and she started inviting me to them. They were mostly 5 day clean eating challenges following a similar meal plan to the above or squat challenges. All she asked for was everyone to check in daily and often offered a fun prize to the person who posted the most. It helped me work with portions, meal planning and made me accountable for my workouts. I met some neat women, shared recipes and felt healthier.

A coach and a challenge group are free with your Challenge pack and I would highly recommend them. They answer questions, such as earlier this week I asked “Is A1 Steak Sauce considered a fruit or free food since it is mostly vinegar and raisins?” You receive encouragement. Other people’s posts can give you new food ideas. And, for me knowing I have to check in daily makes me continue on and say “no” to sleeping in or eating the free candy at work.

Overall: Challenge groups have been a beneficial part of the program, as has my coach. I consider this a big success of Beachbody as you always have someone dedicated to you that you can check in and ask questions.

…and the big ending here…

WEEK ONE RESULTS:

5.2 lbs. down

Non-Scale Victory (NSV): Increased energy and self confidence

 

 

Why Blog? Why ABCs?

Hello and welcome to my first foray into personal online writing since Live Journal. Yeah…it’s been forever.

A quick breakdown of me:

I’m a happy, healthy and crafty woman based out of Michigan. I’m married and have two fur babies. I work in an office by day and teach Pilates at night. I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor who is passionate about fitness and nutrition. I also perform frequently in professional theater and dance. I am very social and enjoy planning creative outings for when I go out with my friends or my husband, so I will be sharing date ideas and experiences here. I try to leave the country at least once every year or so and travel, so I hope to post about my exciting adventures as well. And I’ve been a DIY-er my whole life, so expect lots of tutorials and crazy attempts at Pinterest projects.

Why blog?

My friends have been encouraging me to blog for awhile now. People often come to me for travel, recipe, crafting or wellness advice and it seems like I have something to share. My goal is to use this space to share craft tutorials, recipes, workouts and unbiased product and fitness reviews.

Why ABCs?

It was a challenge to come up with a title that covered all my passions.

Adventure – travel, creative dates, new experiences

Balance – wellness, fitness and recipes

Craft – DIY projects, home improvement, etc.

The ABCs came the closest and had a fun acronym. 🙂

I plan to post to this page once a week or more and include a balance of the above. Please subscribe or check back frequently for more fun.