Healthy “Chick-rizo” Breakfast Taco (non-Paleo)

Telling a Hispanic person, “Oh, just substitute ground chicken for chorizo” is like telling an Italian to just use “spaghetti squash because it’s healhtier.” WE DON’T WANT TO DO IT. It compromises the whole flavor and tone of what we’re going for! I like my chorizo greasy, fatty, and delicious. I think that’s kind of the point to chorizo.20160415_062235

That said, I have to recognize that, in my culture, fatty and dense foods (often using every part of the animal) was out of necessity in its original context. Rice and beans are cheap resources, using all of the animal in various ways is resourceful–including lard, which is a Mexican staple for making tortillas.
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So, I was skeptical when I got in my kitchen this morning to make a breakfast taco a little more healthy. But I’m pretty impressed–I’d eat this again and won’t feel bad about it!20160415_062957

Healthy “Chick-rizo” Breakfast Taco
Ingredients:

1 lb. 90/10 lean ground chicken
P90X Mexican spice blend (see below)
EVOO
1 egg or egg whites
2 tbsp. cheese
1/2 avocado, sliced, or toppings of choice
wheat tortilla

P90X Mexican spice blend:

1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1.5 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat up about 1 tbsp. of EVOO in a pan on medium-high heat. While it’s heating, mix the ground chicken and Mexican spice blend. (For a milder taste, don’t mix all the spice with the chicken. For more intense, mix all the spice + some red pepper flakes.)
  2. Cook until chicken is cooked through completely. The color is similar to that of chorizo or sausage.
  3. Remove chicken from heat and place in a bowl or tupperware for serving.
  4. Wipe down that pan, use 1 tbsp. of EVOO and make your egg (scrambled works best, but I know how delicious runny eggs are).
  5. You can heat up your tortilla on a skillet or in the microwave (on high for 12 seconds). Mostly comes in handy if you keep your tortillas in the fridge.
  6. Assemble your taco. My method was chicken, egg, cheese, 1/2 avocado for the first day I made it. The second day, I mixed it up with tomatoes and baby spinach.
  7. Toppings to consider:
    1. Greek yogurt
    2. Avocado
    3. Green peppers
    4. Salsa
    5. Pico de gallo
    6. Turkey bacon (doing regular bacon would be delicious but also would completely defeat the purpose)

Let me know how this worked out for you!

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Starting over, now a mommy!

Well hey there.

It’s been over a year since my last post, but I’m ready to begin again! I lost momentum after my Welita passed in October 2014, and then I got pregnant in the spring of 2015 and gave birth to a beautiful little boy on January 2! He is now a little over 3 months old and I couldn’t be more in love.
me and bug

before baby

Before I knew I was pregnant. 😛 Watching my macros and working out and hanging out with beautiful family.

week 29

At week 29, FINALLY really showing and super proud of my baby belly.

week 34

At week 34, really surprised that my belly could still stretch as far as it was. And secretly hoping for 2015 Tax Break Baby (no luck).

During my pregnancy, I tried to stay relatively fit. Failed the first trimester and was sick as a dog until the 2nd, where my appetite came back with a vengeance. Cravings were empanadas, all Mexican food (comfort food for me), pasta, ice cream, and lots of fruit. So…yeah. You see where I’m headed.together finally

I had a few workouts that I did during my second and third trimester. Did the very best I could. Here’s what I can share about that:

  1. Doing this Heidi Klum prenatal workout when pregnant helped. It’s kind of an all-over workout, but you go at your own pace. Did this at the end of my first trimester.
  2. I also did this “Dark Horse Willitary style” leg workout at the beginning of my second trimester. Really need to make your legs strong for carrying all that baby inside you.
  3. THIS prenatal pilates workout was AMAZING. Did this all during my second trimester in the mornings. It really helps with flexibility and is only 10 minutes. She has other 10 minute videos and you get a really into it. (And motivated because, well, she’s a gorgeous woman with a big baby belly and makes you feel like you can do ANYTHING.)
  4. By far my favorite workout was the Jillian Michaels Yoga Inferno, both level 1 and level 2. I did this well into my second trimester and my third (when I still had energy). While I obviously wasn’t losing weight during my pregnancy, I did find that doing these exercises (with modifications, of course) really helped me postpartum with strength and flexibility. Bonus points for balancing with a big baby belly. 🙂 Nothing on my belly, no crunches, minimal intensive cardio, but plenty of work on balance and strength.

I’m sharing this right now just to say that I gained 60 pounds in my pregnancy, losing only about 30 after the baby was born and my body started to heal. Anyone who’s had a baby can tell you that the mental transition from “Oh I can have this food because I’m PREGNANT” to “I need to watch my figure” (hahahaha) doesn’t come right away. I was still wanting pizza, homemade cookies, and BLUE BELL ICE CREAM in my first month. Reason: I pushed a human out of my body. I deserve it. 😦

Now that I am 3 months postpartum, have been cleared long ago to return to exercise and other fun activities (*ahem*), I am serious about my fitness again. Starting the journey slow and steady, and maybe this time it will stick. Will be trying to do Paleo again, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I have white potatoes. :p

Chicken Sopa

First off, mea culpa.
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This recipe calls for CORN. Corn is a huge paleo no-no, as it is a GMO grain, but I forgot to buy squash and zucchini and the stuff I have has freezer burn. So my husband won this today.

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My mother made sopa all during my childhood. She’d cook either pork or steak and stir in some green beans, corn, and Rotel. When I took it a step further with chicken, she was pretty impressed with the seasonings. It made everything come together, and that’s a huge compliment coming from her!

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I will say that I’ve made this completely paleo before using 1 squash and 1 zucchini, diced, and it tasted divine. There is an incredible savoriness that comes from the juices of these veggies, and it blends nicely with the spicy broth.
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I will also go on to say that your biggest enemy in preparing this dish is SODIUM. Make sure the ingredients you buy do not have any extra salt. I use Sazon Goya (which you can buy at Walmart or Walgreens) because I’m a MexiCAN at heart, and there’s plenty of sodium in that. (Try using this recipe for making your own Sazon Goya to eliminate msg!) If you buy canned corn, make sure corn and water are the only ingredients. Same with the green beans.

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Now, spicy tomatoes like Rotel or this version of Rotel from Sprouts may be a little hard to come by without some salt, but try and cut it whenever you can.

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My favorite part of this recipe is when I let it simmer. Once the chicken is boiled, seasoned, and sauteed, all that’s left to do is just dump the rest of your ingredients in the pot and add some seasonings. The aroma is incredible.

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You’ll also have plenty for leftovers! I know this isn’t a great summer treat, it being soup and all, but it’s easy if you’re super hungry and don’t want to spend a lot of time prepping.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1.5 – 2 c. green beans
  • 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini (or 1.5 – 2 c. corn, if you’re doing it the traditional way and not following paleo)
  • 2 cans spicy diced tomatoes (either Rotel or another brand that has some heat to it)
  • 1 tsp. cayenne OR chili powder (depending how subtle you want the heat)
  • 2 packages of Sazon Goya
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-2 tbsp. EVOO
  • cumin, sea salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare your veggies, if needed.
  2. In a large pot, boil your chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes (more if your chicken is frozen).
  3. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and let cool on a paper towel. Pour out the water of your pot and place it back on your burner, as you can use the same pot to make your sopa. I used two separate pots, just because I felt like it. 🙂
  4. When the chicken has cooled a bit, start rubbing in your spices. I will use 1 package of Sazon Goya for the tops of both breasts and about half a teaspoon of each seasoning. You may find yourself adding a little extra of whatever spice you favor, and that’s awesome. Flip the chicken over and do the same for the other side.
  5. Cut up your chicken into smaller bites. You can also feel free to tear it apart with your fingers if you’re particularly ambitious.
  6. At this point, your pot should be pretty hot. Hot pot. Add your EVOO and then your chicken bites.
  7. Sautee for about 10 minutes on high, or however long it takes for your chicken to get golden brown. This is how you lock in the flavor of the chicken. It will go well with the broth.
  8. Once chicken is nicely browned, add in first your Rotel or diced tomatoes. Proceed to add in your corn/squash and zucchini, and green beans.
  9. Using your empty tomato/Rotel can, add roughly 2 cans of water to your sopa. Any more than 2 cans and you don’t lock in those flavors as well.
  10. To taste, add cumin, salt, and pepper. I skipped the pepper. Cumin is extremely earthy, so don’t go pouring all the cumin in there until you have a chance to taste the broth with just a little.
  11. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more flavor you have.
  12. Remove from heat, serve, and enjoy!

 

Fierce Leg Machine Workout Review 8: Partner Edition

As in “YOU are a leg machine!” not “Hey, use this machine!”

 This workout is a little different than the others I did in the past, mostly because it was created on the fly by my husband and me. I call this the “Partner Edition” because it’s fun to do it with someone else. I got my inspiration for half of the leg workouts from previous BodyRock workouts and a Facebook post I saw recently that was just a video of a woman with an excellent booty doing all sorts of glute exercises.

Here is the location of the video from which I pulled half of the workouts (Feel free to switch up these exercises as much as you want!)

The strategy of this workout is to alternate each exercise, so you should have a round of cardio in between each leg-focused workout. If you do the “Partner Edition,” the other person will start with the second exercise, and you just go back and forth. It’s a fun challenge, especially if you see their technique and want to “raise” them. 😉

  1. Weighted Calf Raises (20 reps, right leg) – Stand on a box or other elevated surface so that your heel can dangle off the edge. I used a 15 lb. plate at the gym, but you can hold a full gallon of milk or something on the same side of the leg you’re working.
  2. Sumo Squat Touchdowns (20 reps) – Go down into a sumo squat, with wide legs, and touch down to the floor. Treat it like a jumping jack, so that you’re squatting quickly and are at a standing position for just a moment. Go to 1:42 of the above video to see what I did.
  3. Weighted Calf Raises (20 reps, left leg) – Same as 1.
  4. Sumo Squat Touchdowns (20 reps) – Or until the other person is finished.
  1. Barbell Squats (20 reps) – If you don’t have equipment, just normal squats work just as well! I did this with about 45 lbs. because I’m a beginner. So don’t judge.
  2. Donkey Kicks (20 reps, right leg) – I LOVE donkey kicks! They are great for your butt. Get on the floor and stabilize yourself by having your left knee on the surface so your right leg will be doing the moving.
    ADVANCED: Get on an elevated surface, like a bench or a chair, and crunch your abs a little bit as you bend your knee and bring your foot close to your arms. Then, swing your leg down and up. This gives your legs a complete range of motion and it feels amazing. Go to 0:15 of the above video to see what I did.
  3. Barbell Squats (20 reps)
  4. Donkey Kicks (20 reps, left leg)
  1. Hamstring Curl (20 reps, right leg) – Either use a stability ball or the hamstring curl machine at your gym. Work one leg at a time, if you can.
  2. Lateral Lunge Touchdown and Thrust (30 total reps, or for the duration of the other person) – This is a little complicated to explain, but I LOVE this exercise. You’re doing this QUICK, so you do a side lunge and touchdown to the floor. Then you will hop up and over to the other leg and do another lunge, touchdown to the floor. I used a Bosu ball (which is that half-stability ball thing) to force me to work on balance, but you can just stay put on the floor. Click here to see what the basic motions will look like, but know that you’re not going to be stepping to each side; you’ll be hopping. CARDIO, PEOPLE.
  3. Hamstring Curl (20 reps, left leg)
  4. Lateral Lunge Touchdown and Thrust (30 total reps, or for the duration of the other person)
  1. Hip Adduction (20 reps) – Some people have a thing against the gym equipment, which I totally get. Use a resistance band or try THIS method, which is hard for me. If you’re using the machine equipment, click here and start at minute 5.
  2. Jumping Jack Squat with Front Squat (20 reps) – You can do this weighted or not; it’s a great burn! Imagine yourself doing a jumping jack, but keep your arms tucked into your sides. You will do a front squat first (like your legs go in when doing a jumping jack), and when you go out, you’ll do a regular full squat. So two squats (front and full) = 1 rep. Use a kettlebell if you have one, and a step if that makes it more challenging for you (i.e., from a full squat position, do your front squat on the step). Go to 0:45 of the above video to see what I did.
  3. Hip Adduction (20 reps)
  4. Jumping Jack Squat with Front Squat (20 reps)

AND YOU’RE DONE.

Real Talk 1: One month of not HITTing so hard

So, as any of you reading my blog probably noticed, I took a whole month’s hiatus! Yes, I was very busy with work and new responsibilities in my personal life, but no, it was not a valid excuse to stop blogging. Being on here keeps me accountable each week: of my Paleo lifestyle, of my fitness goals, and overall of what I plan to accomplish within the next few years.

I will be posting a recipe for chicken sopa, as well as a partner leg workout that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, but first it’s confession time.

  1. I’ve had dairy products, some bread, corn (as you’ll see in my upcoming post), and ICE CREAM. I’d like to blame it on my sisters and husband being off for summer vacation, but honestly, it’s a matter of will power. But I’m ready to get back in the game!
  2. Though I’ve been working out between 2-4 days each week, they haven’t all been the long/intense workouts like I’d like them to be. Sometimes I’d just stick to the Transformer challenge (which I finished, by the way!) and call it a night. Not effective for maintaining, by any means.
  3. Did I mention I had ICE CREAM? A treat every once in a while isn’t so bad, but when committing to a lifestyle choice like Paleo, Whole-30, or 80/20, it’s not good to let yourself waiver too much. You start getting comfortable with your cheat meals/snacks and before you know it, it’s an every day occurrence!
  4. My cardio isn’t as great as I’d like it to be, mostly because I haven’t been running longer than 10 minutes at a time. I’m going to work on it!

Thanks for letting me vent. Are there times you fell off your personal wagon? What motivated you to try again?

Stay tuned for recipes and fitness challenges, coming soon!

NEW BodyRock Fusion Workout Review 7

Midnight in Anytime Fitness

This week, I started the Transformers: 30 Day Challenge that I told y’all about. Day 2 was much different than anything I’d done, so I’m going to let you see the Fushion workout I made stemming from that night at the gym.

“Summer Body Transformer Challenge: Day 2”

Target Areas: Arms, Triceps, Abs, Legs

Regimen Style: Circuit Training (NEW)

Gym Equipment: Moderate. He uses a dip station and a sandbag, which we don’t use. You can do this without equipment, but you’d have to get pretty creative. Try two high chairs for your dip station, heavy backpacks for your weight, and the edge of a sturdy table for your pull-ups.

Please watch the video. Click here to see the original post on Pinterest. Listed below the video are my notes of each exercise. If that’s not helpful to you, you can feel free to skip to the next part of the Fushion workout. As always, feel free to leave me a comment if you’ve tried this workout, or if you have any suggestions for me. Thank you!!

Breakdown of routine:

Set your GymBoss timer for 3 rounds of 4 minutes work, 40 seconds rest.

  1. First Round: 10 (weighted) switch lunges AND 10 staggered pushups (or whatever kind of pushup you can do). Repeat until 4 minutes are complete.
  2. Second Round: 10 spiderman planks/reptiles/knee to elbow AND 10 pull-ups. Repeat until 4 minutes are complete.
  3. Third Round: 10 Kick Out & knee up/plank burpee with knee up AND 10 star planks. Note: the first exercise is going to take MUCH longer. Make your motions controlled and just push through.

Cardio: Bicycle for 10 minutes

Like you need cardio at this point! But I was in a mood to keep my heart rate up, so I went for it. We went to the gym around midnight, so I didn’t do it for too long, but it was just enough to get me ready for the next part of this Fushion workout. Do any cardio you’d like!

“Ashley and Stephanie” Arm Workout:
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My friend Stephanie helped me figure out this routine. I made some adjustments for my time constraints (only did what’s in bold), but it hits most areas of your arms: shoulders, back, triceps, biceps.

For lean muscles: do 3 sets of 20 reps for all exercises with a low weight.

For strength building: do 3 sets of 12, 15, and 20 reps (respectively) for all exercises with a weight that challenges you [or you can start with a lower weight the first set (20 reps), a medium weight the second (15 reps), and a very heavy weight the third (12 reps)]

  1. Tricep kick-backs, palm facing up, on flat bench
  2. Alternating static bicep curls
  3. Dumbbell shoulder press
  4. Skullcrusher or overhead tricep extension
  5. Concentration bicep curl
  6. Lateral raise
  7. Tricep rope
  8. Upright row
  9. Shoulder fly
  10. 10 pushups
  11. 5 assisted pull-ups (using the machine)

That’s it! Long-winded this week, but there’s a lot to cover. I might post a video of these exercises soon so you can see what I’m working with. 🙂

 

Challenge for July 2014: Transformers 30 Day Challenge

Okay, so if you saw my update on the previous challenge for June, I had a hard time completing it. Stopped at day 22! 😦 BUT I did finish my Catching Fire 30 Day Challenge via BodyRock/the Daily HIIT, and that felt pretty darn good! Saw some amazing results, and I can’t wait to do this next one.

Most (if not all) of the existing BodyRock challenges are older, some as current as the beginning of this year. This challenge is BRAND NEW! All the workouts are going to be available from their Pinterest board and is completely free! Starts July 8th and I can’t wait to do it. I have no idea what each workout entails, as this is new and exciting for me, too. I can tell you that it won’t be easy, but that they definitely won’t call something a “transformer” for nothing.

Anyone interested?

UPDATE: This was AMAZING. I was a couple days off from doing it in real time, but it was wonderful. Excited for something new. 🙂

Courtesy of dailyhiit.com.

Courtesy of dailyhiit.com.

BodyRock Total Body Workout 6 Review

1,000 reps? Room with no AC?

Challenge Accepted

The original blog post for this workout can be found here.

When I don’t have time to put into a very intense HIIT workout, I just crank out as many reps as I can of these. If you have time, try and do all 1,000 reps! I promise you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything afterwards, because you can. Watching the video inspired me to try this with my husband, so feel free to get competitive with someone you love! Or don’t love. Whatever you’re in the mood for. 😉

Target Areas: Full body workout

Regimen Style: Circuit Training

Gym Equipment: Optional. They use a weighted sandbag on the jump squats, but you get as much of a workout without the added weight, so it’s up to you.

Workout Breakdown:

  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Squat Jumps (weighted: optional)
  • 10 Pushups
  • 10 Toe Touch Sit Ups
  • 10 Tricep Dips (I used bodyweight alternative)
  • 10 Tuck Jumps
  • 10 Plank Jax
  • 10 Split Lunges
  • 10 Leg Drops
  • 10 Squat Thrusts

Try and get through this circuit 10 times, or as many as you can do before failure. Post your time! Mine was about an hour but I stopped several times in between circuits due to our 90 degree room at the gym. 🙂

 

Paleo Eggplant Bruschetta

If you’re wondering, the pronunciation is broo-sketta, not bru-shetta. Source: Italian.

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Okay, I’m addicted to this now. I’ve only made it twice, and each time it tastes better than I remember!

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Now, is this truly Paleo on account of apple cider vinegar and olives? Meh. Is it better than other stuff you could eat?

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Well yeah.

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And I mean, if you look at any baked goods recipe claiming to be Paleo–I’m pretty sure Ugg didn’t have baking powder. So let’s cut our losses, call me out if you’d like, or just plain enjoy this tasty treat! 🙂

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I modified this recipe very slightly. The topping of the bruschetta is also good on a salad, if you have extra left over but no more eggplant.

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Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco.

For some reason, my husband does not like any of the ingredients, so I basically made this for just me. It lasted for three lunches and a dinner.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or just 3 teaspoons of basil)
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced (I used beefsteak tomatoes this time around and it was just as good!)
  • 1/2 c. artichoke hearts, quartered (they sell these in jars at the store)
  • 1/4 c. Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/4 c. capers (or use to your discretion)
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine basil, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, capers, EVOO, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (or, in my case, as long as it takes for the eggplant to be baked to perfection).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Slice eggplant in 1/2 inch slices. Drizzle with some apple cider vinegar and EVOO, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Bake 10 minutes and flip sides over. Repeat what you did to the first side and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Take out baked eggplant and top generously with your bruschetta mixture.
  5. Enjoy! Good by itself but you can feel free to add it as a “side” to some baked or boiled chicken. I think that’d be just swell.
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  6. None for Gretchen Wieners.
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