Archive | November 2012

Super Simple Salisbury Steak Recipe

I made this recipe in 40 minutes from start to finish and it was a HUGE hit with the hubby.  It took him back to mid-western childhood roots.  I used lean ground sirloin, but I bet it would taste great with bison, venison, or any other lean ground meat you have.  It makes 4 large Salisbury Steaks or 6 smaller ones.  If making smaller portions, simply load up on your side veggies.  Enjoy!

Super Simple Salisbury Steak
Served with homemade mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn
Easily made from start to finish in about 40 minutes!

Serves 4-6

1 lb. lean ground beef, sirloin, bison, venison, etc.
1 packet Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
1 egg
1 can Campbell’s Beefy Mushroom soup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Thoroughly combine ground sirloin, soup mix, and egg together and portion out into 4 -6 meatballs.  Flatten meatballs in your hands to form the Salisbury steaks.

Lay evenly across prepared baking dish.  Pour soup evenly over all steaks.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.  Serve immediately with your favorite side veggies.


Challenge Update Week 3

So here I am, finishing up week 3, which is probably one of THE HARDEST weeks to be on any kind of health challenge: Thanksgiving Week.  Yes, I said Thanksgiving Week.  Technically Thanksgiving is just reserved to one calendar day, but we all know that we eat our big Thanksgiving meals on Thursday, maybe we have the in-laws to go to on Friday, and then we are stuck eating leftovers Saturday and Sunday… so really you are looking at 4-5 days of Thanksgiving.  With those delicious and highly caloric goodies, it is hard to turn down and hard to stay on plan.

I am happy to say, that with a bit of my husband’s help, I didn’t do too bad.  Thursday, we were able to make it to the gym for a full workout that consisted of a 3.1 mile run on the treadmill and lifted back, biceps, and abs.  I was able to have a shake for breakfast, eat a decent lunch, and indulged in a little Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving dinner.  Friday was quite similar, got in 20 minutes on the elliptical and did kettlebell supersets/circuit before we headed up to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.  Luckily she had a veggie tray for me to munch on while I was so patiently waiting for turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.  I have to admit, I did indulge a little and had two helpings of mashed potatoes and a piece of blueberry pie.  However, with my husband’s suggestion, we left all of our packed leftovers at my mother-in-law’s house (including the pie!) so that we wouldn’t over indulge the entire weekend.

With that being said, I did eat some Fazoli’s and had extra breadsticks on Saturday but I was still able to engage in at least some sort of physical activity (including 4 1/2 hours of shopping – yes that counts!) every day while on Thanksgiving break.

I’m  happy to say that I’m officially back on plan today.  I’ve had an awesome start to my week nutritionally and I plan to keep it up for the next 10 weeks!

Individually wrapped, portioned-out fruit for my morning shakes helps me stay on plan, but also adds something new for the week.

Fruit Vi-Shape Shake Recipe
2 scoops Vi-Shape Protein
1/2 banana
4-5 frozen peach slices
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
2 splenda packets
10 oz. light soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, or nonfat milk
Blend and enjoy!

5 Thanksgiving Tips for Saving your Waistline

I can’t take credit for all of these.  I follow the Girls Gone Strong twitter feed and you can also find a link to their page on my Blogroll.  But for those of you who are not avid followers of the Lift like a Girl movement, these are some just great all around tips to save your waistline and burning fat around the Thanksgiving festivities.  I’d like to thank Jen Comas Keck for providing me with these tips that I am now passing on to you.

Tip #1 – Get your workout in BEFORE you eat.  Can’t get to the gym?  No problem!  Get a quick outdoor 5K in, there are a plethora of races you can sign up for.  Don’t want to pay for it?  Just show up and run with the crowd.  No one will notice – trust me.

Tip #2 – Indulge in the food that you truly love.  Not a turkey lover? Don’t eat it.  Only feast upon the things you would deem truly worth it.  In case – stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Tip #3 – Don’t starve yourself all day to “save room” to pig out.  This is not a good idea.

Tip #4 – Eat lots of protein and veggies all through out the day.  Most of our families have out finger foods to snack on, eat from the veggie tray, have some egg whites from the deviled eggs, etc.

Tip #5 – Enjoy yourself for today and get right back to your plan (ViSalus, Weight Watchers, Clean Eating, etc) Friday morning.  One day (and I really mean only one day) won’t ruin all of your hard work up until this point.

Thank you all for taking the time to read/follow my blog!  I wish you and you family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato and Sage-Butter Casserole Recipe

Here is a savory take on the traditional sweet potato casserole.  My husband isn’t a huge fan of marshmallows, and he really isn’t a fan of sweets, but sweet potatoes are soooo good for you!  So this is my attempt to get him to eat some sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

Serves 6-8 people

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 stick unsalted butter OR 8 TBSP margarine, PLUS 2 tbsp – melted
2 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 cups skim milk, warmed
Course Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup prepared Italian breadcrumbs to save time OR if you are feeling up to it, you can make your own

1. Place sweet potatoes and Yukon potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, and season with salt.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 9 minutes. Drain; mash with a potato masher OR pass through a ricer into a bowl if you have it.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt 8 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally until golden brown, 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat, add 2 TBSP of sage.  Stir butter mixture and milk into potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish.  (Can be made 2 days ahead up until this point).

3. Combine breadcrumbs with 2 TBSP of melted butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.

4. Top potato mixture with breadcrumbs.  Bake, uncovered, until bubbling around the edges and breadcrumbs are golden brown, roughly 30-40 minutes depending on your oven.  If you’re breadcrumbs are browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil.  Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.

5. Enjoy!

*Picture to come*

90 Day Challenge Update – Week 2

So 14 days have passed since I began this Active Challenge.  I had a few hiccups along the way (getting sick, Challenge parties, meetings, social calendar, etc), but I managed to get at least some sort of physical activity in for the most part.  I will say that week 2 was easier than week 1 in terms of getting my activity in.  I was able to swing into the gym for a couple 30 minute workouts as well as incorporate some outdoor fun into my activity time.

As for my progress – a few things that I’ve noticed.  On the days following a lifting workout, I am a lot hungrier than normal, so I add in a few more snacks to get me through the day OR I’ll make a 16 oz. shake for lunch rather than my typical 12 oz.  I also noticed that my cravings for candy and chocolate have subsided.  I have a drawer full of candy and jar full of candy corn staring me in the face every day at school, and I have no desire to eat it.  If I should eat a piece of candy for some reason, it’s mainly because it’s there not because I feel like I need it or want it.  (So really I should just get rid of it).  I also noticed that if faced with a decision of fresh fruit or cookies and baked goods, I’m more apt to pick the fresh fruit over the baked goods (and I’m NOTORIOUS for my cupcake eating skills).  I just don’t have the desire to eat them the way I used too.  Now that doesn’t mean I abstain altogether, I just don’t eat them as frequently as I used too.

I also found that since I’m now on a routine of some sort, making better choices have come easier.  Eating in the teacher’s lounge is no problem.  Nobody gives me a hard time for drinking my shakes and I’m not coveting their pizza, mashed potatoes and gravy, or take out from last night’s dinner.  It’s a nice place to be.  The hardest part of being on a Challenge is the support or lack thereof in the workplace, home front, or with your friends.  So, I’m very lucky to work with people who are so supportive of me.  It makes completing this challenge that much easier.  In fact – two of my co-workers even started the Challenge with me!  How is that for support?!

Finally, I was able to increase my chest and back weights to 20 pound dumbbells/kettlebells.  I’m super happy about that because I’ve been sitting at 15 pounds for quite some time and unable to make that jump. So, here is to another successful week on my 90-Day Challenge.  Are you ready to join me yet?

Outdoor Fun!

Climbing up the rope ladder.

It’s not every day that you get 60 degree weather in the middle of November, so my husband and I took advantage of it.  As part of my 90-day challenge, I’m trying to do some type of physical activity every day.  Well today was a perfect example that you don’t have to go to the gym or go for a run to be active.  Today was all about outdoor adventure on a high ropes and zip-lining course through Go Ape!

We spent about 3 hours in this outdoor, tree-climbing adventure.  You really test your upper body, core, and leg strength as you climb rope ladders, step through loose rings suspended from the trees, scale cargo nets, and zip-line through the beautiful trees.  It was so much fun just to go through the course without any expectations and see what your body and mind are capable of.

Complete with 5 sites and endless courses in-between, you are constantly challenging your body to do “not your average” activity.  There were different levels from beginner to advance – meaning you could hold on as much as you’d like or you could try to do most of it no-handed.  Mind you, there are no safety nets below, you are just strapped to a zip line with a harness, hoping that your line and your harness are fully intact with each other at all times.  My husband did most of it no-handed, because he likes to show off like that.  I did what I could, completed what I thought I could no-handed, and used my hands when I wasn’t so sure of my balance.  As you are high in the trees, trying to cross from one site to the next, all you are thinking is, “Don’t look down.”

My favorite part of the adventure was the Tarzan swing, where you were hooked by your harness from a hanging strap.  You just held on and swung right into a cargo net.  Super fun but a little scary for a first timer.  You run straight into a cargo net, and then slowly return and you have to pull yourself up to the tree landing which is hard upper body work (especially when you are sore from yesterday’s workout).

All in all – this was such a fun experience and I highly suggest trying it out if you have something like this in your area.  It is great for a date adventure, family outing, or even a team building activity for your work.  But the main thing is: get out in nature, get active, get healthy, and have some fun!

Walking across the swinging X’s. Don’t let that smile fool you – it’s harder than it looks!

Look, Mom, no hands!

This is one of those where I didn’t need both hands, but I couldn’t do no hands either.

In deep concentration…

Pausing for a picture





30 Minute Express Workout

Are you in a hurry?  No time for a full out -hit the gym workout?  No problem!  This is an awesome total body workout in just 30 minutes and that includes the warm up!

3 things are all you need!
Kettlebell (weight is up to you)
Box (or stacked step)

Warm up – 5 minute pep step on the treadmill
1 set = 1 full rotation of all three exercises
1 minute sprint
20 kettlebell swings
20 box jumps
Get a drink
Repeat this 4 more times for a total of 5 sets
Complete your favorite abs exercises for 60-100 reps or whatever you can get in
Stretch it out
Voila – All done!

You can thank me later. 🙂

*On a side note – I completed this circuit today at the gym since I was tight on time.  Jumping on that box after sprinting and doing kettlebell swings will have your lower extremities screaming in no time!  If you can’t complete all 5 sets, do what you can and work your way up to it.  Focus on what YOU CAN do and the rest will come in time.  Happy workout!