Weekend of Food & Fun

It’s been a very nice weekend.  Yesterday, my husband and I spent the afternoon in downtown Knoxville.  First stop, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which amazingly we had not been to in the 6 years we’ve lived here!  It was very cool.  Having grown up playing basketball, it was neat to learn the history of the sport for women.  Did you know they started out playing in skirts and weren’t allowed to dribble, just catch and pass or shoot?  Yikes!  At the end of the tour, there’s an indoor basketball area with separate courts designed to look like it did in that era (1920’s, today, and a kid’s area).  So naturally my husband and I had to play a little game of H-O-R-S-E, and I WON! . . . in heels!  That was definitely a nice end to our tour before heading off to lunch and a movie.

 

Today (Sunday), I have been cooking up a storm!  Sometimes the mood just strikes me, and it usually starts with a trip to the grocery, and then getting inspired by all of the great food I just bought.  So basically I’ve now prepped or cooked almost every meal for this week, which is good because I rarely feel like cooking after a long day at work.  The past week has been a bit of a struggle for me – sugar galore.  It started with girl scout cookies, then a party at work, then a big box of gourmet desserts in our break area… you get the point.  Every day I started out determined to stay on track and most days went off the deep end.  I was pretty good this weekend, especially after my final 12-mile pre-marathon training run.  I probably had a little too much for dinner tonight, but I’m about to go for a long walk and burn it off.

So in my effort to get back on track, here’s my menu for this week, along with recipes and description of the ones in bold font:

Monday

  • (5am) Pre-Workout Snack:  1/2 Banana
  • (7am) Breakfast:  Egg, toast, and fruit
  • (11am) Lunch:  Tropical Salad
  • (3pm) Snack:  Hummus with veggies & crackers
  • (7pm) Dinner: Sweet Potato Soup, cooked cabbage

Tuesday

  • (5am) Pre-Workout Snack:  Fruit & Nut Bar
  • (7am) Breakfast:  Yogurt parfait
  • (11am) Lunch:  Pineapple Chicken Salad sandwich
  • (3pm) Snack:  Hummus with veggies & crackers
  • (7pm) Dinner:  Book Club / veggie wraps

Wednesday

  • (5am) Pre-Workout Snack:  1/2 Banana
  • (7am) Breakfast:  Fruity Waffle Sundae
  • (11am) Lunch:  Tropical Salad
  • (3pm) Snack:  Hummus with veggies & crackers
  • (7pm) Dinner: Sweet Potato Soup, cooked cabbage

Thursday

  • (5am) Pre-Workout Snack:  Fruit & Nut Bar
  • (7am) Breakfast:  Yogurt parfait 
  • (11am) Lunch:  Pineapple Chicken Salad sandwich 
  • (3pm) Snack:  Smart Pop popcorn with carrots
  • (7pm) Dinner: Sweet Potato Soup, cooked cabbage

Fridays are left open for leftovers, or eating out with co-workers / hubby at lunch. 

I have several recipe variations for the Tropical Salad.  I’m not a huge salad fan, but I do like ones with fruit, nuts, and fruity dressing.  Today I decided to try one that includes mixed greens, sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, unsweetened coconut, almonds, and a homemade dressing mixed from 1 T coconut oil (melted), 1/4 cup strawberry yogurt, and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (2 total servings).  I’ll have to report back tomorrow on how it tasted, but I sampled the dressing and it was quite yummy. 

I found the Sweet Potato Soup recipe on the foil-liner of a Dannon Plain Non-Fat Yogurt tub during the 5-Day Fast Forward.  I love sweet potatoes and had never thought to use plain yogurt in place of heavy cream for a creamy soup.  So I gave it a try today and plan to have it as a light dinner most nights this week.  I tried to make a smaller version of the recipe and think I used too much yogurt because it was not as thick as I expected, but it tasted great!  I also used a little bit of Chipotle seasoning for an extra kick and really liked the flavor combo with the Cumin.  You can check out the original recipe on the Dannon Website.

As you can see, I made the Fruit & Nut Bars again.  My husband and I LOVE these things!  I will probably never go back to store bought again!  The only thing I changed was using pistachios instead of almonds and using a chopped Lindt 70% chocolate bar.  Yum, yum, yum.  They also make an amazing pre-workout snack with all of the fruit and whole-grain carbs.

Now for the Pineapple Chicken Salad.  I found this recipe in my bi-weekly Kroger mailer.  I don’t eat a lot of meat, but this one just looked too good.  I ended up using canned chicken instead of freshly cooked chicken breasts, and skipped the relish and celery.  I also subbed light Miracle Whip for the Mayo and only used a 1/2 cup.  I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but did snap one of the recipe!

That’s all for today!  I’m definitely motivated for a week of healthy eating with a fridge full of healthy prepared foods.  Now off for a long walk to burn off my dinner, my husband’s specialty – “BBQ Billy Burger”. (I only had half!!)

Nothing Like a Good Run

Sometimes all you need to get back on track is a good, long run.  I haven’t had a good run in a while.  Between my fatigue and my knee pain, running has been pretty difficult.  I recognize that I’m not getting any younger and have cut back my running in favor of less knee-pounding workouts, such as walking, elliptical, or cycling.  But I’m running my next (and possibly last) half-marathon in 2 weeks and need at least 3 good runs each week to stay on track.  I’ve also accepted that I may need to walk part of it to protect my knees, but the main thing is getting in the distance.  So today I set out to do 4 miles, but felt so good that I decided to keep going.  I ended up with 8.5 miles in 1 hour and 30 minutes, a decent pace for me, and feel fabulous!! 

Maybe the good run was a result of the awesome Fruit & Nut Bar that I had before-hand?  I found this recipe courtesy of Eating Bird Food and it’s the perfect mix of carbs and protein to energize you before a workout.  I did change the recipe slightly.  For the original recipe, refer to the Eating Bird Food blog. 

Fruit & Nut Bars with Dark Chocolate 

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup pitted prunes (around 11-12)
  • ½ cup dried apricots (around 11-12)
  • ½ cup raisins or naturally sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, (such as Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup water

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Cover an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone baking sheet.
  2. Place prunes, apricots, and raisins / cranberries in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until well chopped. Remove the dried fruit mixture and chop the dark chocolate bar into small chunks (if using a bar)
  3. Combine oats, chopped fruit mixture, almonds, and coconut in a large bowl and knead with your hands until well combined. Add flour and water and knead until a ball of dough forms. (Add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.)
  4. Add dark chocolate.
  5. Press dough firmly and evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until baked through but still soft (don’t overbake them or the bars will be dry and tough).
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes. While still in the pan, cut into 8 rectangles, and then let cool completely in the refrigerator so the chocolate will harden before trying to remove from the pan (about 30 minutes).
  8. Store bars in an airtight container or baggies.  I keep mine in the refrigerator.

Yield / Nutrition: 8 bars with 200 calories and 6 grams each.