Turkey Tacos

I remember when I went from being a vegan 1 day to doing the Whole30 the next. I had to start eating meat and the first meat I chose to eat was ground turkey. I don’t know why I chose ground turkey because I never liked turkey even before I was a vegan! So, I made turkey burgers and I probably didn’t use any seasoning and they were the grossest things ever. I’m pretty sure I took one bite and that was it.

Fast forward to a few months ago, when I came across this turkey taco recipe and now turkey is such a staple for me that I always keep a few pounds of frozen turkey in the freezer so I can make a batch any time!

On a side note: Costco now sells lean organic ground turkey in the fresh meat section!

I’ll put the recipe below, but first let’s get to a few updates since my last post.

  1. We are pretty much all moved & settled in! Just like that. Done. I still don’t have a bed and still may never get one. It’s super easy to make your bed when it’s just a mattress on the floor 🙂
  2. The next step is getting a fence, sprinklers & landscaping.
  3. Rocco is doing great and loves the house. Except for this one day when he thought we were under siege by construction workers and had to mark the entire perimeter of the basement, INSIDE. It was almost impressive, except it wasn’t. He is no longer allowed in the basement.
  4. My husbands torn hip flexor does not require surgery (at least not yet). He still has a long road of recovery ahead of him though.
  5. We bought an RV! We actually bought it last fall but didn’t have a chance to use it much before winter. It’s on my list of things to do to take photos of it or a video tour or something. It’s just a little one, but it is so much fun. We absolutely love taking it out and I’m excited to share some of our adventures!
  6. Ahh, I still need to post about all my (not) exciting journey back into running!

For pictures of Rocco, check out his instagram @rocco_the_minpin (Rocco James).

rocco bed in bed
Here is Rocco sleeping IN his bed, ON the bed in our RV. He LOVES camping!

Alright, on to the turkey tacos!

I cook in BULK, like for real. I meal prep like a boss and someday I will do a post on that too! So, when I make these tacos I use an entire Costco pack of turkey which is about 3 pounds. So obviously if you want to make less, use either 1 pound or 2 pounds of turkey and adjust the seasoning as necessary. For reference, 1 Tablespoon = 3 teaspoons so it’s easy to make 1/3 or 2/3 of this recipe since the recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of seasonings. Easy! Also, if you are making all 3 pounds of turkey make sure you have a frying pan large enough to handle that much meat. I have just a standard, large pan and it works great.

And I just want to say now, I timed myself making this and it took LESS than 20 minutes from start to finish and this is enough turkey to last 2 grown ups an entire week of lunch or dinner.

Oh, and I personally just use this meat in salad. I did the lettuce wrap thing once but that was such a mess that using a fork and making a salad was just a lot easier. But you can obviously use a tortilla or greens or whatever to enjoy this stuff!

turkey before
It’s a ton of raw meat, haha!

Turkey Taco Meat
Time: Less than 20 minutes total
Servings: 10-14

3 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano or Italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 can tomato sauce

First, use a large non-stick pan because turkey is so lean it will stick really bad if you use enamel covered steel or cast iron. If you use a “stick” pan, just be prepared with a lot of broth on hand to prevent sticking.
Heat all the turkey in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the turkey all the way through as you break it into crumbles.
While the turkey is cooking measure out all the seasonings into a separate, small bowl. When the turkey is almost cooked through add the spices and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
Turn the heat to low and stir a little more until the turkey looks uniformly seasoned.

Use in a salad or in a wrap and top with cilantro, green or red onion and toppings of your choice.

turkey after
Turkey “after” photo

Alright that’s it! Until next time 🙂

Laura

My Moving Story!

We finally moved in to our new house!

We actually moved 3 weeks ago but I’m just now starting to come up for air.

So, 3 weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon we got the keys to our new house (yay!). Wednesday morning the movers showed up and started whisking my belongings away faster than I could have ever imagined! They had pretty much my entire house loaded onto a truck in 1.5 hours. I had them unload everything into the garage of the new house and within 2.5 hours the move was just about complete! (PS I used Skinny Wimp and would HIGHLY recommend them if you are moving).

The following day (Thursday) we packed up and headed to Moab so that I could (SURPRISE!) run a 1/2 marathon on Saturday! Yes I’ve been running again which I will post about another time. I kept quiet about my training because I didn’t want to jinx myself!

So anyway, moving heavy boxes and furniture a few days before a long run is not conducive to training FYI. I way overdid it moving but you kind of don’t have a choice when you move, right?

We came home Saturday right after the race because we were eager to start settling into the new house. Sunday was a beautiful day so my husband decided he would take a break from unpacking boxes and went paragliding. By 11am he had “tweaked” his hip and came home. He could not lift his leg and could barely walk. Luckily my family was in town at the time and my SIL is a PA. She told my husband to get the dr PRONTO as he had most likely torn something. So off to the E.R. we went and sure enough, he had TORN his hip flexor. I’m not sure which muscle exactly, but it was 1 or 2 of his quadriceps muscles.

The tear should heal on its own so he doesn’t need surgery but he’s offline for a good 8-12 weeks. So obviously that sucks that he’s injured and down for the count but also, at this time we still had quite a bit of stuff in our old house and a new house full of boxes so I was like POOR ME, I have to move by myself, haha! Again, luckily my parents were in town and they were hugely helpful even though my Dad has a broken foot and he was in a boot! We were quite a bunch.

So anyway, we are finally all moved out of the old house and there’s enough room in our current garage to park out cars in there so I’m considering us all moved in, ha!

As much as I’ve wished I could just snap my fingers and have everything all organized, clean and in place I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the moving in process. I’ve been enjoying organizing everything and clearing out things we no longer need.

And I know everyone mostly just wants to know how Rocco is, so I will cut to the chase and say that Rocco loves his new home. My awesome parents went to the new house right away and installed a temporary fence and a dog door so he could have immediate access to his yard. He’s not spoiled at all. He has about a half dozen places he likes to sleep around the house and he has various perches where he can sunbathe and watch out the window. We also have several parks in our new neighborhood so he really enjoys going to the park every day to check out all the new smells.

I went around the house and snapped some photos. Obviously it’s still kind of a mess and I’m lacking furniture in some areas. But it’s still fun to look 🙂

Enjoy the pictures and I’ll be back soon with stories and recipes!

Laura

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Main floor family room. Obviously lacking some furniture.
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Kitchen! Ok, the kitchen is pretty darn organized.
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Part of the backyard. It’s small but that’s what I wanted! 
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Temporary dog door solution. I’m getting a custom made door soon because the humans can’t fit through this one as is.
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Garage door entry. So organized it’s heaven. And that charging station is money!
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Messy garage stacked deep on both sides but hey, my car fits!
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One end of the basement that will eventually be a gym!
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The other end of the basement.
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My husbands gear storage room. I LOL that this is the only decorated room in the house. This is what it looks like when you have hobbies galore.
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My laundry room! I got a new washer & dryer and they are amazing! The washer is so deep I have to stand on that little stool to get everything out and even then it’s a stretch for me.
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Just a nice, lovely closet. I’ve never had such a closet.
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Office! This room is pretty much done. Notice Rocco’s duck on the floor, haha!
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Rocco’s room. Notice his perch/nest on top of the futon so he can look out the window. He’ll have to share his room in the event we have overnight guests.
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Master bedroom! We sold our bed because we were sick of stubbing our toes on it! My husband keeps saying “I like just having a mattress on the floor” so we may never get a bed, haha!
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Master bath. Excuse me, en suite.
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The outside! Crazy to think it will have grass pretty soon!
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My street is basically a construction zone. We are 1 of 3 finished houses so we’ll be surrounded by construction for quite some time.

Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

 

Hello! Long post ahead. I don’t usually do these type of posts but I felt compelled to share some of my greatest diet and health lessons today.

I started this blog because I felt like I was a human science experiment of sorts. Well…I have learned a lot about health and nutrition along my journey and I want to kind of summarize my experience for anyone else who might be walking this same path.

Obviously I have many more lessons than this but I don’t want this post to get too long!

7 Diet & Nutrition Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect diet. 
    When I first became vegan I was quick to latch on to all the vegan spokespeople who preach veganism as the perfect diet and I really bought into it. I mean, I saw incredible benefits and it seemed to really be working for me for quite a while. And then I did the whole Paleo thing for a while because proponents of that diet say it’s the perfect diet. And honestly I did feel really great on the Whole30 (I just didn’t feel great beyond it). But it left me thinking, “who is really right?” The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect diet because we are all so different and our dietary needs are all so different!
    I know, I know, you see the Vegan Triathletes that are just crazy fit and they say they can train hard because of their plant based diet. And then you see the super ripped paleo folks who say they look like that because of their diet. It never really occurred to me that those people would probably be super fit and ripped no matter what they ate. There will always be a small percentage of the population who can eat pretty much anything and look incredible.
  2. Carbs are really important.
    If you are a healthy, active person you need to be eating carbs, period. I’m not talking about eating crazy insane amounts of bagels like we did in the 90’s, I’m talking about healthy carbohydrates obviously. Low carb and grain free diets can be really helpful for people with insulin resistance and they certainly have their place. I don’t want to get too much into the science here, but what I want to say is, I see a lot of young, healthy, active people giving up carbohydrates just because going low carb has become mainstream and it really isn’t advisable for many people.
  3. Fat is really important but not eating too much fat is also really important.
    Fat matters. Just like everything else we put in our mouths, it ALL matters. I think fat is shedding its bad rap which is a good thing, but now I’m seeing things swing too far in the opposite direction. People are eating copious amounts of nuts and putting butter in their coffee thinking there won’t be any negative backlash and that’s simply not the case either! It all matters!
  4. You CAN have a protein deficiency.
    So many famous vegans preach about how “over protein-ed” we are in the U.S. and how nobody really gets protein deficiencies. This is false. I was vegan for a long time and I never tracked how many grams of protein I ate but I would estimate I probably never ate more than 60 grams of protein on any given day. How could my muscles repair? They couldn’t. That’s why I was riddled with injuries and my hormones tanked.
  5. Vitamins are a must no matter what diet you follow!
    Ahhh the great vitamin debate. It seems like everyone likes to say “I get my nutrients from my food” these days (I used to say this as well until tests revealed massive vitamin deficiencies). Well, good luck with that. The truth is, our soil is so nutrient depleted there’s no way we can get all out nutrients from food even if we are eating 10 pounds of vegetables a day. Also, the  “Recommended Daily Allowance” for vitamins and minerals is so we DON’T GET a deficiency. It’s not the dose we need to THRIVE and be at our OPTIMAL LEVEL. Sorry for the all caps here but I wish someone would have shaken me and been more stern with me on this one. But do you see there difference there? One level is just the basic minimum needed to survive, but we need much more to function optimally, especially if you are active. Dr. Hyman has great things to say about this topic if you are interested in doing more research.
  6. When it comes to your health, “Test Don’t Guess”.
    I haven’t written about my latest thyroid testing debacle, but the short version is, I got tired of guessing what was wrong and I took a list of tests I wanted to have run to my doctor and made him run them all! I lied and told him I was working with a dietitian who suggested I get all these tests done. He was very receptive to this and gladly ran all the tests, haha!! It revealed my thyroid was pretty low (very low in some aspects), but my DHEA levels were non-existent! I simply started taking a DHEA supplement and that got all my other levels back up to normal. There was no way I could have ever guessed that. So whatever issues you are having, get tested for it. If it’s stomach stuff, get tested. Don’t just assume you have too much stomach acid because it could be more than that.
  7. Quality water and food DO matter!
    I’ve written about water quality before and how I’m convinced it is what cleared up my acne, but I’m serious when I say clean water is important! There are so many contaminants in our drinking water and they simply don’t get filtered out with regular filtration systems like what we have in our refrigerators.
    Ditto for food quality. I was resistant to this one for a long time, simply because I didn’t have the money to spend on higher quality food. So you know what analogy I like to use? The home:body analogy (I made this one up and I’ve very proud of it)
    When people go shopping for a new home they will typically get approved for a loan and then go shopping for a house that is in the very top of their price range. People will calculate the monthly payments and buy as much house as they can afford because it is an investment. You see where I’m going with this? We spend our maximum budget on our homes and in some cases our cars/clothing/purses/shoes etc. But for some reason, when it’s time to buy fuel FOR OUR BODIES we buy the absolute cheapest food out there because it’s good ‘nuf. Just think about that one. Isn’t our health really our best investment? I certainly think so.

Alright, that’s all for now, I’ll try to think up some more hard lessons learned!

Laura

Protein Pancakes (protein powder free)

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the last 3 months but I keep forgetting! I just came across the pictures in my phone which reminded me that I still hadn’t done it!

But first, a house update! The new house is almost done. In fact, we will be moving in one week exactly! I have started packing but there is still LOTS to do. It’s actually really stressful when I think about it.

I don’t really have any super good photos to post yet but I’m thinking once it’s finished maybe I’ll make a video and it will be just like MTV Cribs (my favorite show of all time btw). The whole house is pretty much done, they are just to the stage where they go through and clean and fix all the little things. It’s a big mess right now and everything is covered in a layer of dust so I didn’t take many pictures.

This is the main floor and I am most excited about the flooring! It was the biggest thing we splurged on. I really wanted this luxury vinyl plank flooring and it worked out that I was able to get it. It’s like laminate but it’s also waterproof and darn near indestructible. The color is gorgeous and it doesn’t look like plastic even though the name “vinyl” makes it sound like plastic. I’m stoked!

house pic

The house isn’t fenced yet so I think our first priority is getting some sort of temporary fencing and a dog door so Rocco can run free. OF COURSE the dog’s priority is #1! I mean let’s be real, who is this house for really?

On to the pancakes…

I have been experimenting with baking/cooking with protein powders a lot recently and let me just say, I have wasted approximately $500 worth of protein powder. I kid, I kid. But seriously, baking and cooking with protein powder is a bust. It doesn’t taste good and in the end it just wastes perfectly good protein.

So, I was excited to come up with a high protein pancake recipe that doesn’t use any protein powder! They have a great taste and texture and they are very easy to make. Perfect for weekends!

High Protein Pancakes
Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 a ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons cottage cheese or greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground flax (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender (a magic bullet type device is clutch in this situation) and blend until smooth. Let the batter “rest” for approx 3 minutes to allow the batter to thicken up. Heat your pan over medium heat. Pour/scrape the batter into the heated pan. It will make 3-4 small pancakes. Flip once they start to bubble.

Top with pancake toppings of your choice (obviously).

I am the WORST at taking food pics. You know I made these pancakes after running 8 miles or something and I just wanted to sit down and eat so I snapped a picture really quick before they got cold. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I loathe cold food, especially if it is a food that’s supposed to be hot!

pancakes

 

Enjoy!

Laura

 

 

Wellness Gizmos I’ve tried-Are they worth the money?

One of the main reasons I started this blog many years ago was because I am basically a human science experiment. I enjoy trying different wellness “things”, cleanses, programs etc and I wanted to be able to share my experiences so others don’t waste time on the stuff that isn’t worth it!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for over a year now but I’m just having the hardest time getting myself together when it comes to updating my blog!

I compiled a list of the latest, weirdest things I’ve tried in the last year and I must admit I’m a little scared to reveal how much money I’ve spent on all this stuff!

So I’ll just cut right to the chase. In no particular order here are the various Wellness “things” I’ve done with a description and then my personal verdict.

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  1. Steam sauna. Cost: $90
    This one looks super weird! Last winter I missed the feeling of getting really sweaty. I know that sounds crazy especially to anyone who lives in a humid environment. But in Utah the air is dry year round and I was just craving that feeling. So I ordered this sauna off Amazon. Our house is very small and it’s not like we have tons of room for a sauna so my husband placed a large piece of plywood over the bathtub and the sauna sits on top. When I want to use the tub it’s easy enough to take the sauna down.

The Verdict: I love it! I would absolutely recommend this. There is a ton of research on the benefits of using a sauna that I won’t get in to here. The only downside is it’s hard to find a good time to sauna since it requires a shower afterward.

2. Infrared heat lamps. Cost: $20
This one came about around the same time I was researching saunas. I actually wanted an infrared sauna but the steam sauna was much less expensive. The research on infrared is really overwhelming. Some people swear it heals all wounds, acne, muscles, joints, everything basically. Infrared setups can be really pricey so I purchased a bulb and socket from amazon and just made my own.

The Verdict: Didn’t do anything for me or for my husband. Rocco liked to lay under the lamp because it was warm but that’s about it. I can’t say the heat penetrated any deeper than a heating pad.

3. HiDow TENS unit (muscle simulator). Cost: I have it on loan from my mom. Her Cost: $200-300
This is a pricey one, I know! My mom suffers from really horrible neck pain and I think anyone who deals with chronic pain is willing to spend just about any amount of money to make the pain go away! Spoiler alert: this thing made her pain go away, she never needed it again so she gave it to me! My husband had purchased a cheap, $20 version from the drug store but trust me when I say it was weak sauce compared to this bad boy! The HiDow has some serious power even though it is tiny. I love using it for sciatic nerve pain and my husband uses it for back pain. You can use it for every ailment under the sun though.

The Verdict: It’s awesome! Expensive, but if you have chronic pain that is muscle related it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

4. ALCAT Test. Cost: $350 (gulp)
The ALCAT test is something I had wanted to do for a reallllllly long time. I did a lot of research before pulling the trigger to see if it was legit. Basically it’s a “food sensitivity” test. You order the blood draw kit online and then go to a lab to have your blood drawn. The lab mails your blood to the ALCAT people and a week or two later you get a complete list of all foods you are either a) highly reactive to, b) moderately reactive to, or c) non reactive. I did this mainly for entertainment/curiosity since I really didn’t think I had any food sensitivities. The thing is, you don’t know if you have food sensitivities unless you get tested! The theory is that we could be eating some health food (green tea for example) and actually be sensitive to that food and that causes low grade inflammation which obviously is not good for many reasons. My results were pretty mild. I didn’t have any foods I was highly sensitive to. I was lactose intolerant, no surprise there. I was moderately sensitive to a lot of health foods I consumed on a regular basis like green tea, beets, cucumbers and beans.I just want to say CHOCOLATE, COFFEE AND PEANUT BUTTER WERE OK. I was so scared I was going to come back as sensitive to my 3 favorites but all was well.

The Verdict: Unsure. I got my results back and thought it was a worthwhile investment so I made my husband do it too because he likely has food sensitivities. The test confirmed he has gluten sensitivity which we already suspected but at least now he has a piece of paper to confirm it.
The bottom line: I probably wouldn’t recommend this unless you are just a curious soul like me and don’t like to leave any stone unturned when it comes to health. OR, if you know that gluten is making you sick but you need external confirmation to help you get it out of your diet for good.

5. Fascia Blaster. Cost: $90
Oh I know I am totally crazy with this stuff, I’m killing myself here! If you haven’t heard about the Fascia Blaster yet it’s a stick like doo-dad with claws on it that you use like “the stick” for rolling muscles. The claws break up fascia which releases bound up scar tissue, fascia, muscles, etc. The Fascia Blaster has a huge following and people buy actual big infrared saunas to put in their homes and dedicate 30-60 minutes of their day to blasting. So at least I’m not that extreme…

The Verdict: It works but it may be too expensive depending on your needs.
Ahhh, I feel like I’m going to be burned at the stake by FB devotees for saying that. I know some people’s lives have been changed forever because of the FB, especially people with scar tissue and people who have had surgeries. So if that is an issue for you I would 100% say it’s worth every penny. I like to use it on my calves and I did break up some scar tissue in my husbands foot. The hardest thing is that, like all fitness things, you have to actually use it for it work 🙂

6. Sauna Suit. Cost: $20
Alright, so I obviously went through a “sweating phase”. I have the hardest time getting sweaty which I know is weird. So I bought one of those old school, plastic suits and for a while I was wearing it to workout in. Actually I was only wearing the top because the bottoms were hard to move in.

The Verdict: I loved it at the time but I wouldn’t recommend it now. My phase was short lived and now I have this plastic sweat suit in my garage…

7. Bellabeat Leaf. Cost: $139
I wanted the Leaf so bad so I asked for it for my birthday. It’s fitness tracker jewelry basically. It has many of the same features as a Fitbit but it looks like a bracelet or necklace and you can wear it different ways. The reason I really wanted it is because it is also tracks meditation and your monthly cycle and gives you a daily stress score based on how much you slept, how much you moved, how much you meditated and where you are at in your monthly cycle. This feature for me was the selling point. I don’t need any encouragement to get up off my butt, I need confirmation that I have indeed worked hard and it’s time to sit my butt down and take some deep breaths. As a result I went from meditating 0 times/week to meditating 4-7 times a week. As someone as compulsive as I am, if I see I’m getting a bad grade in the meditation department I will take 10 minutes to meditate to get a better score.

The Verdict: I love it but I’d recommend waiting for the next gen to come out. I bet the next ones will be smaller and less clunky. I also think it’s a little overpriced compared to other fitness trackers out there and it doesn’t allow you to record what you eat. Hopefully in the future the app will have that capability.

8. Liver Cleanse (Global Healing). Cost: $70 a pop.
Over the summer I went on a liver cleansing spree. Why you may ask? I don’t know, I don’t even drink really but I was in the mood to cleanse something so I decided to go with a liver cleanse since I’d never done one before. I actually did 3 rounds with alternating rest week’s in between. It’s a 5 day cleanse and every day you drink 2 different potions throughout the day and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It also doubles as a colon cleanse which is a bonus. It’s short enough that the restrictive diet is totally doable. I mean…it’s only 5 days. I should put a disclaimer on here though that on the last night you have to drink a glass of epsom salt water which tastes extremely bad. Like, really bad. But then the worst part is that 30 minutes later you have to drink 6 ounces of olive oil (and not throw up). Yes, 6 ounces, aka more than a 1/2 cup! Probably one of the grossest things I’ve ever consumed. That potent cocktail is what cleanses the gallbladder which is something you’ll have to experience for yourself!

The Verdict: I love it and can’t wait to do it again! By the end of the 5 days my liver felt like it was pink and shiny and sparkling. I can’t say I experienced any lasting effects that would indicate that it really “did anything”, but I felt good at the time and you just never really know about this stuff, right?

Alright, now you know how crazy I really am! I hope you enjoyed this little list of nonsense 🙂

Laura

Easy Chili

Happy New Year!

Haha, I know I’m a little late in the game as usual but here we are in 2017!

This Christmas was the first year in the last 5 years that I have just stayed home and it was so nice! It felt extra long since I didn’t travel anywhere. It’s funny how at the start of a break I always feel super ambitious and there’s all these things I’m going to do (like post this recipe) but with each day that passes I get lazier and lazier and I somehow never get the important things done (like getting my tires rotated). But now with the holidays behind us I’m easing back into the swing of things and meal-prepping all my food as usual 🙂

I have been making this chili for a while and it’s so easy and so delicious! I know chili is nothing ground breaking but this has been a staple for me lately so I want to be sure I put it up here so I can always remember how to make it. It seriously only takes a few minutes to throw together and then lunch for a week is done.

House update: We met with the builder last week for a walk through and he expects the house will be ready for move in mid-March! What?!! That is feeling like it’s coming up super fast! That is just about 9 weeks away. It is all framed now and the next step is a roof, then insulation then sheet rock. For all I know the roof could already be done!

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I am getting so excited to really decorate. I have never decorated any place I’ve ever lived and I’ve always thought I was kind of clueless in that department but I think I could be good at it if I gave it a shot. So I’ve been collecting all sorts of images on Pinterest and I’m excited!

And how about these winter storms?! I feel like we haven’t gotten this much snow in YEARS. It seems like we are just getting hit with storm after storm but that’s a good thing I suppose. I haven’t done a super good job of getting out and playing in the snow all that much yet but I will. I’m going to take skiing lessons this year so that I can become a proficient skier. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before but last year I switched from snowboarding to skiing. I skied until I was 17 and then took up snowboarding because it was the new, cool thing to do. It was SO HARD to learn how to snowboard, especially since I never took a lesson, I just figured it out on my own. But snowboarding got to be hard on my neck. I have herniated disks in my neck so the constant looking around would just kill my neck. I thought skiing would be more of a “lifelong” sport that I could enjoy for many years to come. I only went a few times last year but I did enjoy it and it is certainly much easier than snowboarding!*

*Please note I only do green runs with the occasional blue run so I’m not implying that skiing is easy, haha!

Alright, here is that chili recipe!

chili

Easy Turkey Chili
Makes 8 2-cup servings or 16 1-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs leanest ground turkey you can find (my costco has organic!)
  • 3-4 cups broth, divided (Any broth will do. I’ve used vegetable and chicken)
  • 3 carrots (1lb), peeled and diced
  • 1-2 zucchini (9oz), peeled and diced
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I think this is the secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot cook the ground turkey over medium heat in about 2 cups of broth to prevent turkey from sticking to the pan. While the turkey cooks, peel and chop the carrots and zucchini (food processor is great here if you have one). Add the vegetables to the pan as soon as you are done chopping them. Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked all the way through add the pureed tomatoes, marinara sauce, kidney beans, pinto beans and spices. Add remaining broth until desired consistency is reached. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

I don’t usually calculate the nutrition facts for things but since I had the time over break I did it and as you can see this chili is an excellent source of protein!

If you made this into 8 servings (about 2 cups each serving) you would have the following per serving:

469 calories
39g carbohydrate
46g protein
12g fat

Ok I hope you’ve started watching The Bachelor! You know I have! I have my bracket going and everything. I was filling it out the other night but then Rocco threw up on it so I guess we all know how he feels about this season! (I don’t know why he threw up. He’s fine I promise)

I hope your January is off to a great start!

Laura

 

 

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

​Happy Thanksgiving!

Just when I thought I was going to make it all fall without doing anything with pumpkin puree, BAM! I found this recipe in US Weekly of all places and had to try it. I modified it a little and I love it! 

One of the comments I hear most often from my clients is “What is something quick I can grab for breakfast?”. And I totally get it! Mornings are so rushed as it is, I don’t know anyone that has time to be scrambling eggs before work!

First though, I want to mention a quick note about how important breakfast is because I know a lot of people put off eating breakfast for as long as possible hoping this will lead to weight loss. And I know we’ve heard it a million times-breakfast is the most important meal of the day-and I’m chiming in to say…It’s true.

Why is breakfast so important? Well, let me tell you about the Sumo Wrestler Diet, aka the diet many American women are following hoping to lose weight. Sumo Wrestlers wake up and workout for hours on an empty stomach and THEN eat breakfast. This causes their metabolism to tank so they can gain more weight! And hey, does this sound familiar? It’s the dieting advice that every women has been told to do if they want to LOSE weight!

So on this one I’m going to go with a “better safe than sorry” approach and just eat something before I workout. I mean, maybe working out on an empty stomach makes us burn 10% more calories…but maybe it slows our metabolism to a slow crawl. I don’t want to take that chance. Plus I like food.

I think doing a short/easy (30 minutes or less) workout on an empty stomach is ok, but ideally we should be eating within an hour of waking up. Otherwise our body will hold on to fat because it thinks its starving. Fair enough?

Before I get to the recipe below, house update time! Our house if officially under construction! Last week they dug the hole and poured the footings. So, in 16 weeks approximately we should be moving in! 

Here is our pile of dirt so far!

    Today we took Rocco out there and showed him where his backyard would be. He was super excited. The next step will be foundation but we are supposed to be getting some big storms next week so we’ll see. I had the brilliant idea that to countdown these 16 weeks, every week I need to get rid or something or clean out a closet. Probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had!

Alright, here is the recipe for these breakfast bites. These are so good!!

l

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

3 cups whole rolled oats (I go for organic gluten free ones)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning or nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup +/- mini chocolate chips (could also use raisins, craisins, nuts or something else if you don’t want chocolate for breakfast)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×9 pan.
Place oats in a food processor and process until they resemble a course flour.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.
Add the ground oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixing bown and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and then pour into the prepared 9×9 pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Alright, that’s it! And now tomorrow is Black Friday! Or I guess Black Friday starts today. What are you shopping for?

DIY Laundry Detergent

I’m back from the blogging dead, haha!

It’s only been 2.5 months since I last posted something. I’ve really been enjoying my summer and I have so many blog posts I would love to do.

I mean first let’s back it up 2.5 months and talk about the Bachelorette! I was so into the Bachelorette this year that I made a bracket and everything. I never thought I’d be joining #bachelornation. I can not wait to find out who the next Bachelor is going to be. While we wait for the next Bachelor I’ve gotten into Bachelor in Paradise. If you don’t watch this show you definitely should. Will Evan find love in Paradise?! We’ll have to wait & see I guess.

So…what did I do this summer? The husband and I spent an entire week in Lake Tahoe. It was a blast. We rented a condo near the lake and went mountain biking and kayaking and of course did plenty of relaxing. We took one weekend trip to Sun Valley but the mountains were on fire so that was a very smoky trip.

And, ok, I guess this is kind of a big deal…I almost forgot…we are building a house!! It’s all still very new and nothing has really happened yet. Basically we found an area where we wanted to build but had to wait 6 months or so until the builder could release the lots. About a month ago the lots were finally released and we were 3rd in line to pick our lot! So we plopped down some money to secure the lot and now we are basically just waiting.

The next step will be going to the design center to pick out all the colors and finishes. This sounds fun but is also slightly terrifying. I have some sort of color blindness and I have a really hard time matching colors and also identifying what a color is. For example, I will swear up and down that something is purple when it is in fact brown (or so people tell me-I still don’t believe them even when they tell me!). So that makes it hard but then there are also just so many decisions to make. And they all cost money! I think that’s the scariest part. I just know that the things I like are probably going to be the most expensive option and then I’ll have to choose between being heartbroken or being broke. And those aren’t fun options. But that should all be happening in the next couple weeks.

This will be a fun thing to blog about though 🙂

Rocco is doing great still, he’s just my best little buddy! Lately he’s been going to Doggy Daycare a couple times a week and LOVING IT. I had been wanting to find a day care for him since some days I can’t exercise him in the morning and in the winter there are days that I just don’t want to exercise him. He has friends there now, including another Min Pin named Max and apparently the two just play all day. I like to image Max is one of Rocco’s brothers and they’ve been reunited…

rocco j

Anywho, so the title of today’s post is DIY Laundry Detergent and I actually AM going to tell you how to make your own laundry detergent!

But first, a testimonial! Last winter we went to Mexico and it was super humid and when we got home all our clothes had “that smell” that clothes get when they’ve been damp for a week. It’s not a good smell FYI. I first used traditional laundry detergent and “that smell” did not come out. Not after one wash and not after 2 washes. So, I made up a batch of this laundry detergent and what I want to tell you is: THE HOMEMADE CHEAP STUFF WORKS BETTER THAN COMMERCIAL DETERGENT. I was just a shocked, believe me. I have a pre-conceived notion that home made cleaners can not be as effective as store bought, chemical filled cleaners.

Wrong.

And the thing is, it’s really easy to make. It doesn’t make a big mess in the kitchen like most of my projects and it only takes a few minutes. And I really can’t stress the importance of switching to “all natural” as much as possible. The chemicals and dyes in cleaning products not only get into our bodies through our skin but they also get into the water supply which isn’t good for all the frogs and other creatures. And if that isn’t disturbing enough, just think about all those chemicals getting into your body and messing with your hormones and then storing themselves in your fat cells so they can wreak havoc in a time released fashion.

So let’s get to it!

detergent pic
All the supplies you need to make liquid laundry detergent!

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent (safe for front load washers)

  • Large, clear plastic bottle (I use a clear soft soap bottle)
  • 1 cup castile soap (I use the tea tree flavored one for extra germ-killing power!)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 cups hot water

Mix 1 cup castile soap with 3 cups hot water together in the large container you are going to use for your detergent.
In a glass bowl or large glass measuring cup mix the baking soda, salt and 2 cups of hot water and stir. Pour this mixture into the other mixture, shake to combine and voila you are done! The detergent will separate and you’ll have to shake it up before each use which is why I think storing it in a clear container is key.

Use 1/4-1/2 cup per load. I still have my old plastic laundry cups and use a full cap in my front load machine.

 

I know making laundry soap sounds like a total pain but I promise it only takes a couple minutes. I make 2 bottles every time so I only have make more once every couple months.

Alright that’s all for now, now go get caught up on Bachelor in Paradise!

Laura

 

Choc Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + GF) + 5K

cookie 1

YEEEESSSSSS this happened and they are SO GOOD!!! These are probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The texture is perfect. Thick like a brownie, good texture, soft but dense, gooey and most important: chocolaty!!

As I was eating one of these bars for breakfast (yes, really) I thought to myself: Does anyone really like oatmeal raisin cookies? If you do please comment and let me know! I know there was a time in the early 90’s when I pretended to like oatmeal raisin because we were told it was the healthier option but now that we don’t live under such false pretenses I don’t know anyone that chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip.

Anyway, before I get to the recipe, I ran another trail 5K last weekend! Here I am at the finish with my “trainer”.

me

This time my hubby was in town so he and Rocco came to support me which was exciting 🙂 Rocco didn’t run the race even though it was a dog friendly race. He’s fast but he gets distracted by people and dogs, plus I didn’t want him to get trampled!

Like the last race, this one was a lot of fun. It was a much bigger event so there were a lot of people. The course wasn’t as steep which meant I couldn’t go super fast on the downhill. Actually I swear there wasn’t any downhill on this course. It felt like it was uphill the entire way! I finished 9th in my age group out of 50 some ladies. I feel pretty good about that because I have never trained for speed. I’ve always trained for the Long Slow Distance and I didn’t grow up running and was certainly never on any Cross Country or Track team. I’m hoping to do at least one more this summer but we’ll see!

cookie 2
Yum Yum Yum

Alright, this recipe. I want to believe it’s healthy because there isn’t any flour in it AND there is an entire can of beans in there (I swear you can’t taste them). But there’s also 1.5 cups of chocolate chips so they kind of cancel each other out 😉 You can totally eat this stuff raw too! If you don’t plan on baking it just leave out the baking soda and baking powder and then you can roll it into balls and freeze or refrigerate it. I haven’t tried using the dough to make regular cookies but I’m pretty confident you could if you wanted to.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand)

Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor. Process until smooth scraping the sides down as necessary. There should be no chunks for the garbanzo beans left and the dough should be very smooth and sticky.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

If baking, line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan and smooth it out. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

That’s it for now! 2 posts in 2 weeks is pretty good for me! I’ll be back soon with a DIY laundry detergent recipe I’m super excited about!

❤ Laura

 

Cooling Cucumber Soup + My 1st 5K (video)

Hi hi hi!

I’m back today with a recipe for a cooling summer soup. Raw vegetable soup is basically just a vegetable smoothie but calling it a soup sounds way better!

blender
Tonnnns of veggies!!

Blending vegetables is a great way to make them more digestible. This is good news for anyone who gets digestive upset from eating raw vegetables or salads. Plus it sneaks a ton of variety into the diet without having to try too hard! And as another bonus, since this is basically just raw vegetables going into a blender it only takes a couple minutes to make a big batch.

Swapping out your afternoon snack for this soup is a GREAT way to get rid of bloating, flatten the belly and get your smokin’ hot bod ready for summer! Seriously, give it a try. If you usually have a protein shake, protein bar, cookies, chips, pretzels, etc in the afternoon, try swapping those out for this soup next week and see what happens!

soup
My soup ready to go for the week!

And on a totally unrelated note, I ran my FIRST EVER 5K last weekend! It was also my first ever trail race! I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve never participated in a 5K. I started running on my 30th birthday unable to run a mile without stopping many, many times. As I progressed to being able to run 1 mile, then 3, then 6 without stopping my first first ever foot race was a Half Marathon and then a Full Marathon. So I guess I never felt like it was worth getting up early and paying money “just” to run 3 miles. Except then the 5K started to scare me for some reason. When you think about it, a marathon is hard for sure but the #1 goal (for me anyway) was to finish/not die. I didn’t really care what my time was. Just finishing is accomplishment enough. But people who run 5K’s generally try to go FAST. I am not fast (at least that is the story I tell myself over and over).

So, I signed up for a 5K trail race. My husband was out of town so I was all on my own. No hand holding here, I had to be a big girl. I got up at 4:30am, too sleepy to eat breakfast. I stopped drinking coffee a while back so I didn’t even have that comfort. I drove myself up the canyon and I couldn’t believe how nervous I was!

To make a really long story short I LOVED IT! It was a really great experience and the funniest thing is that I ended up getting 2nd place. I started off in the very back because I assumed I would be the slowest one and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. I also forgot to double knot my shoes so I had to stop to tie my shoes and I had to pass all but one person. I think the person who beat me finished about 45 seconds to a minute before me. Shoot. Next time I’ll double knot my shoes and try a smidge harder!

Oh and the “next time” is this weekend!

Here is a little video I took right after finishing. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I talked to my phone #imsoawkward

Alright, here is that recipe!

Cooling Cucumber Soup (servings: 4)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, feather part and all
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups of filtered water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy warm or cold.

Alright, that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with an update from my next race!

❤ Laura