Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Enchilada Boats

I was so inspired from the yumminess of my lasagna boats that I had to make recipes with some different flairs! This one certainly didn't disappoint, but it wasn't QUITE as delicious as the lasagna I made last week! I think it all came down to the sauce. When I make these again, I'll make my own enchilada sauce that is thicker so that it will stick to the spaghetti squash better. This was still a solid recipe even with the shortcut of using the store-bought sauce. This is a great low-carb recipe that has a lot of protein and minimal fat! Perfect for a quick dinner when you don't wanna eat something super heavy before bed! I have calculated it out to be 6 servings per batch. Macros (per serving): Fat- 1.8g, Carbs-29.4g, Protein-27.6g








Ingredients:
-1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 smaller)
-olive oil cooking spray
-1/2 medium onion (i used red but this is personal preference)
-2lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
-2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
-Salt and pepper (to taste)
-2c enchilada sauce
-1c black beans
-1/2c canned corn
-2c sliced bell peppers (or mini bell peppers)
-4c spinach
-2c sliced mushrooms
-1/4c fresh torn cilantro
-1c shredded fat free cheese of choice (i used cheddar)
-1tbs red pepper flakes

Directions:

-Preaheat oven to 400 degrees
-Cut spaghetti squash in half and spray with cooking spray + salt and pepper
-Roast skin side up for approximately 30 minutes, or until strands easily pull away from skin
-While squash is baking, cook the chicken with peppers, garlic, onions and mushrooms
-Shred chicken when cooked
-Combine the enchilada sauce with beans, corn and cilantro
-Add sauce (and now spinach) to chicken mixture once cooked and shredded and allow to simmer until spinach begins to wilt
-Once squash is cooked, fluff up the inside so the mixture can absorb into the squash while roasting
-Divide chicken/sauce mixture in half (or 1/4s if using 2 small ones) and put in middle of squash
-Top with cheese
-Put back in oven to broil for 3 minutes (or until cheese has browned)
-Top with more cilantro!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Teriyaki Chicken and Brown Rice Bake

This recipe is super yummy, but I'm going to work to re-create it where I can just put everything all together after the chicken and rice is cooked to make it more efficient than cooking everything separately and combining at the end. Still a pretty easy recipe though, but if you've got your Sunday Funday packed with plans, it's nice to make the meal prep as efficient as possible! I'm a sucker for any food that's Asian-inspired, but unfortunately most of those recipes aren't even remotely healthy. Now there's no excuse to fall victim to those cravings that cause you to order 3 pounds of house fried rice from your favorite Chinese spot--give this recipe a try instead! It really is delicious and satisfying. This recipe makes 8 servings and is about 1 1/2c of the prepared casserole per serving. Macros (per serving): 321cal, 43g carb, 3g fat, 26g protein.







Ingredients: 

3c cooked brown rice
1 1/2lb boneless skinless chicken breast
32oz sauce-less frozen stir fry mixed vegetables
3/4c low sodium soy sauce
1/2c + 2tbs  water
1/3c packed brown sugar
1tbs honey
3/4tsp ground ginger
1tbs + 1tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
2tbs cornstarch
1c drained pineapple tidbits or chunks (canned in juice, not corn syrup)

Directions (almost all steps pictured above):

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Combine soy sauce, 1/2c water, honey, brown sugar, ginger, 1 tsp olive oil and garlic in small pan
-Cover and cook until boiling over medium heat. Then remove cover and cook for another minute
-While waiting for the sauce to boil, combine cornstarch and 2tbs water together in small dish
-Combine the cornstarch mixture with the sauce once boiling begins. 
-Cook for another minute until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat
-Lay raw chicken breasts in 9x13 baking dish and pour about a cup of the sauce over the top
-Bake for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through
-Shred the cooked chicken with two forks
-While chicken is cooking, steam or pan fry the frozen veggies with 1tbs olive oil (stirring frequently and keeping covered) 
-When the veggies, rice and chicken are cooked, combine them all together along with the pineapple chunks and most of the rest of the sauce
-Bake altogether for another 15 minutes and then top with remaining sauce
-Either serve immediately or store for meal later on in the week! 


Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

I had been intending to make this recipe for awhile, but kept putting it off thinking it would be a lot of effort. I have been in Colorado all week visiting my brother and it gave me some time to perfect some of the recipes I've been wanting to make and post about for awhile! Hence the multiple recipe posts. :) But seriously, this one is SO delicious, super low-carb and really easy to make. It makes a ton of food too, so perfect for a healthy meal prep addition! You can sub the ground turkey for ground chicken, turkey sausage or add in some more veggies and make it a vegetarian bake! For this recipe, I used ground turkey and just spiced it up really well and it turned out absolutely phenomenal. You can thank me later! This recipe makes 4 servings, but I found that I was stuffed, so I may split it into smaller portions and also have something else to supplement my meal. Macros: 513 cal, 25g fat, 26g carb, 50g protein.










Ingredients: 

1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 smaller ones) cut in half and seeded
2tbs olive oil
1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
1c low fat cottage cheese
1c shredded part skim mozerella cheese
15oz can roasted crushed tomatoes
1tbs tomato paste
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 medium white onion chopped
5 mini bell peppers (or 1 whole bell pepper)
2tsp red chili paste
2tsp Italian seasoning (or blend of oregano, basil, fennel seeds, thyme, etc) 
1/2tsp paprika
1tbs balsamic vinegar
2tbs basil chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions (all steps pictured above): 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Brown ground turkey in skillet and set aside
-Brush spaghetti squash with 1tbs of the oil and add salt and pepper
-Roast the squash skin side up for about 30 minutes until soft and the strings come detached from the skin
-Heat 1tbs oil in large skillet 
-Add onion and cook on medium/high heat until tender (like 5 min)
-Add chili paste and garlic and cook for another minute
-Mix in the turkey, tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, paprika, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
-Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer until the squash is done
-Add basil in once the squash is done
-Once the squash is out of the oven, fluff up the strings a little 
-Divide up the cottage cheese between the two halves
-Next divide the sauce mixture up between the two
-Divide up the mozzarella cheese
-Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and turned a golden brown
-EAT ALL THE SQUASH! 

(I even made extra of the meat/sauce mixture to have for later recipes throughout the week. It would be delicious over sweet potatoes or even just lettuce!)





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Green Mountain Thaw 2016

It's a wrap! It was such a relief to finally reach this weekend I had been preparing for for SO LONG. I had forgotten how much I loved being on stage and it was great to get up there and see all my hard work pay off. I ended up placing first in my class and then got to have a pose-off for overall bikini novice with the other class winner! The pose-off was unexpected and so much fun. Of course, I had to do some ridiculous flexing poses to show off my true personality...hehe

The weekend started off with me working all morning Saturday until 2 and then doing some last-minute posing before leaving Healthworks. Then I got home, had one of my sodium-free (aka flavorless) meals and finished up my packing. I then took my last pre-show shower using the pH balancing body wash to make sure my spray tan I would be getting that night wouldn't turn out green. And my friends were all planning to meet at my place at 3:30pm to head up to Brattleboro. We hopped in the car and were off! At this point I was water cutting, so no water or delicious syrup-y Dunkin coffee for me! We made it to our hotel, got all checked in and then had to pretty quickly head to the host hotel to do my polygraph test and spray tan.

Yes, polygraph test. The Green Mountain Thaw is a WNBF natural show, so they look back 7 years to make sure all the competitors are drug-free. I really appreciate this aspect of competing in natural shows--you know it's a level playing field. Then it was spray tan time! I had forgotten how dark it got...I had literally changed races, and as I write this post, and starting at my Oompa Loompa hands still suffering from the residual spray tan. After you get the spray tan, you have to wear all polyester-blend clothing to prevent sweating and streaking and have to sleep on your own sheets so you don't ruin anything of the hotels. These are all things I very quickly realized after last year, but thankfully my experienced friends were there to guide me through the process last year! Another awful part is that you can't really pee without splattering. It sounds so weird (and it is), but I never realized how little thought I gave this until I was forced to be hyper-aware of any liquid touching my skin with the tan. I had to pee in a cup to prevent any droplets...haha

Thankfully the next morning I was able to get a touch up to fix any scratches or marks I had caused in the night. My spray tan looked amazing on stage, but SO absurd in person. I got way too much attention on the street while leaving and at the diner for dinner afterward!

The show went really well and I looked a lot better than last year. I totally attribute the gains to all my powerlifting training adding some density to my muscles! I also improved my posing and was a lot more fluid with my walk than I was last year.

Pre-judging went really well and was a lot of fun and then for the finals, I was pleased with the video I saw of my final walk. I obviously had to give a shoutout to my badass powerlifting background by putting in my bio that my PR is 245. I can't say that I heard any of the other bikini girls announce anything quite as surprising!

Finals held a very pleasant surprise, and I now have a first place trophy to add to my collection! This past week was such a whirlwind and relief after the craziness of pre vacation, finals and peak week combined that I was very eager for it to finally be the weekend! I am so happy with how I looked and placed, so MAYBE there will be another one in my future!

As for now, I have already registered for my next powerlifting meet and it will be June 26th, so now it's time to change my training focus back to what I truly love...lifting all the heavy things!














Sunday, March 6, 2016

Peak Week Training Update

I know I've been blowing up social media lately with my escalating #3weeksout #2weeksout #peakweek posts, but it's FINALLY almost here!! March 13th, you can not get here soon enough! It just so happens that finals week for me in school is this upcoming week that will also be my peak week...I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll survive, but so far it's looking promising. There may be a few sleepless nights to come, but being up on that stage next Sunday will make it all worth it! This prep has been a lot better than last year's and I attribute my heightened body awareness to my powerlifting experiences over the past several months. Pushing my limits in training and with my diet has given me so much insight into what I am capable of in the future.

Although I won't get a break in school, I'm rewarding myself with a reprieve to Colorado from March 15-21 to visit my brother and baby niece who I have yet to meet! I am also planning to use this week to recover from all the eccentric and volume training I've been doing over the past few months. I often don't follow my own advice, but I can't stress the importance and need for a rest period after a rigorous training program. My whole body is chronically sore and I'm always exhausted even if I do happen to get enough sleep. 100 percent a sign of overtraining and I know I'll never reach my full potential if I keep going at this pace. The body can't improve if it's never allowed to rest. Exercise does become an addiction though, and even though I know all this it's still SO hard to make myself take even two consecutive days off....something I'm still working on.

Just wanted to post a little update on my most recent progress and how I'm feeling heading into peak week! I just laid out all my stuff I'll be taking to my show, and have by beautiful DerbySkinz gear all packed up! I'm also hoping to have a peak week photo shoot this Wednesday to document my gains from last year, so stay posted!

This was just 2 weeks ago...new PR of 245lbs for a single rep while cutting? I'll take it! 


A little progress video of my back gains! I'm proud of how far I've come, but there's always still room for improvement. If I compete in bodybuilding again, I will definitely shoot for figure, so it's time to grow grow grow in the meantime!!