Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

This post is about 6 weeks overdue, but I think it’s worth it…12 in 12

As the calendar flipped over to 2012, I was resolved not to resolve; no resolutions for me! I haven’t had a successful New Year’s resolution since I was about 8 years old and resolved to stop biting my nails. But then I came across a brilliant idea from Fitarella: 12 in 12. Basically, take on just one goal (or resolution, if you prefer that term) each month for the year, 12 goals in 2012. Focusing on something each day for a month is likely to make it a habit, yet you’re making your goals much more manageable by taking on just one thing at a time. At the end of each month, you can choose to continue that goal while you move on to your next monthly goal, or not. Your choice. Either way, at the end of the year you’ll have completed 12 resolutions…when was the last time you can say you did that?

I haven’t planned out my entire year’s worth of goals yet, but I did complete January (floss every day) and have begun February (clean/organize for at least 15 minutes a day). I plan to also have months where I journal every day, go completely vegan, workout every day, etc. I love the variety, the possibility, the feasability. I think ahead to my month and choose a goal that I know I can achieve, regardless of my travel schedule, holidays, etc.

How are your goals for the year coming along? Would you be more likely to succeed if you break it down into smaller segments (monthly, weekly, quarterly)?

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My Mexican food challenge is complete! I’m happy to report that I have enjoyed 13 healthy Mexican inspired meals and tried out a total of 4 new recipes over the last 7 days. I came up short only one meal which was due to a work trip I took on Thursday. I wanted to pack a lunch in my purse, but my travel arrangements left me without any option to B.Y.O.F (Bring Your Own Fajita). Here’s a very quick recap of my menu from this week.

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Lunch – Leftover fiesta chicken soup from this weekend. Mmm, mmm good. This was my go-to choice for lunch on more than one occasion.

Dinner – I tried out a new entrée. Since I wound up with so much extra food from making tamale pie on Monday, I adjusted this shrimp enchilada recipe by half. And, I know I said no refried beans, but when I saw this recipe I decided to use vegetarian beans and give it a go. I also cut way back on the cheese that this recipe called for. This turned out to be quite a delightful meal. Even though I cut it in half, this recipe still made a lot of food.

For lunch I finished off my soup and had a salad topped with grilled chicken, black beans, avocados and cilantro. My dinner was made up of leftover tamale pie. I think this meal tasted even better as a leftover!

This lunch was the only meal that I didn’t get to stick to the plan. Boo. I was in TX for work, and our host arranged for a BBQ lunch. At least the meal was a local dish, but I was disappointed to have to have to stray from the challenge so close to the end!

Shrimp Enchilada

Shrimp Enchilada Bake

Dinner – I was exhausted from my trip, so instead of charging forward with a new recipe, I enjoyed one more night of leftovers. I couldn’t let the good stuff go to waste! Shrimp enchiladas – part two!

The beauty of the Mexican food challenge was that I was able to focus on eating lots of fresh goodies – peppers, tomatoes, avocados – which all top my list of favorite things to eat. I had to pass on a lot of the toppings that come along with “traditional” Mexican foods like cheese sauce, sour cream, etc. But as long as you have fresh salsa, guacamole and cilantro on hand, who needs it?

What is your favorite healthy meal you think you could eat everyday?


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The Mexican food challenge is well underway and I’m loving the healthy and delicious meals. I was a little bit concerned that I would have a crazy craving for something other than Mexican food over the weekend, but so far, no problems in that department.

First up, lunch – I had a romaine salad with seasoned chicken (cumin, garlic powder, crushed red peppers) black beans, cherry tomatoes and guacamole. This salad was a good way to finish up some of the leftovers I had in the fridge. The beans and chicken in the salad really filled me up.

Friday night – Dinner out with friends. My friend suggested splitting her favorite item on the menu, and I am sure happy we did. Our dish was the pollo adobo, which was a chicken breast topped with a spinach sauce and served with grilled veggies, tortillas, cilantro rice and beans. As with most restaurant portions, it was huge. I’m so happy we split it. The veggie selection was made of up your usual peppers, onions, mushrooms you would expect, plus they had broccoli, cauliflower, and squash too which was a nice surprise. And, my big splurge for the night, a margarita. It was Friday night and I just couldn’t resist…

Lunch – I worked a half day on Saturday, which put me in a bad spot around lunch time. I had several meals in mind for the weekend and coming week, but I hadn’t yet made it to the grocery store. I was very hungry (and about to get really grouchy), so I grabbed a quick burrito bowl for lunch with black beans, cilantro, rice and steak with the cheese and guacamole on the side.

Dinner – I seasoned some tilapia fillets with cumin, garlic, chili powder, garlic olive oil, lime juice and baked it. We had fish tacos with a salad, black beans and rice. Yum, yum, yum – I’m loving this challenge!

After dinner on Saturday night I loaded up at the grocery store for the rest of the week. (Lots of fresh veggies.) In addition to sticking to the challenge, I’m trying out 5 new recipes this week! I’m hoping it’s not too ambitious! We’ll see.

Miniature Chile Relleno Casserole

Brunch at home. I took advantage of having some free time on Sunday morning and I spent it in the kitchen. I made miniature chile relleno casseroles with tortillas for brunch and I made a white bean fiesta chicken soup in the crockpot for dinner. The leftover soup will be great for lunches this week.

Lunch – I made a meal in a bowl out of the leftover rice, grilled fish Saturday’s tacos and black beans from this weekend. I also added some homemade salsa and avocados and it was a delicious!

Dinner – This was a new recipe for tamale pie, and it was an adventure. This was the first time I’ve ever used cornmeal to top a casserole. That stuff changes from a liquid to a solid FAST! All in all, it tasted pretty good, but I think I would have rather enjoyed real tamales for the time and preparation that went into making this dish.

That brings you up to speed! No major heartburn, I’m not sick of black beans yet and I’m really excited about the recipes for the rest of this week. Up next, two different types of enchiladas (shrimp and chicken) and I’m going to attempt to make a cilantro sauce to go along with one of the chicken recipes I have found.

P.S. – My husband is hanging in there with me on this challenge. So far, no complaints, but I’m anxious to hear his thoughts once we make it through a full seven days! Also, I’ll be traveling this week for work so I may have to make a Mexican inspired breakfast before I fly to TX on Thursday morning. Maybe huevos rancheros?


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You’ve read about my burrito addition, and now I’m going to put my love for Mexican food to the test. I’ve said many times that I feel like I could eat Mexican food all the time. So, beginning today, I will be noshing only on healthy versions of Mexican entrees for lunch and dinner. This means no refried beans, heaping tubs of sour cream, cheese dip, fried ice cream, etc. I’ll report back on Monday with my results from the weekend, and share my plan for the upcoming week. If you have any healthy Mexican recipes you want me to test out during this challenge, please leave a comment and I’ll happily give it a try!

Also, I found a great article on Active.com about staying on track with your fitness plans during the holidays. Since turkey-day is less than two weeks away, it’s a good time to think about how you might need to adjust your schedule to make sure you include time to exercise this holiday season. If you are hosting company, will you need to switch your workout from the evening to the morning? If you are headed out-of-town, this would be a great time to incorporate some of Amanda’s travel tips like airplane exercises, planning a run in your host city, or testing out the in room fitness option offered at the hotel where you will be staying. If you take a few minutes to think about it now, you’ll have a plan in place on how to get out of the house for at least 30 minutes a day when the holiday madness begins!

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