Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Tacos are definitely a staple in our house, and not just Taco Tuesday. There can basically be tacos any day that ends in a Y. But on our mission to eat healthier we’ve been trying out different recipes and since I’m not a fan of following directions (hence why I don’t really bake…that would be a disaster!) I like to change things up and make them my own.

tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp ground pepper
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • avocado
  • Mango salsa (I used Newman’s Own, but you can make it homemade or buy it)
  • cilantro

Combine Chicken, garlic and all the spices with orange juice and lime juice in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours. Once cook, shred the chicken while still in the juices. Warm the corn tortillas on both sides in a skillet over low heat. Spoon the chicken onto tortillas and dress with salsa, avocado and salsa!

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Getting faster and stronger!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated all my lovely followers out there on my own fitness journey. I left you last when I was getting ready for the Chicago Marathon, ready to train and kick some butt. Unfortunately, that race kicked my butt instead.

During my training I found myself dealing with an old nagging injury in my right hip, which left me unable to run, let alone walk or even sleep peacefully at night. I tried to keep my fitness up best I could because there was NO WAY I was going to Chicago and NOT running this race. But what little I could do just didn’t compare to full on marathon training. I thought about writing a race report, but it would have been sad and miserable and I decided to just move on to the next!

So what does an endurance athlete that has been injured almost all race season do in the off season? Well, get faster and stronger of course! So here are some things I’m focusing on to get back to where I was.

foamrollMobility. This is why I got injured this year in the first place. I really ignored warming up and treating my body right. So for two-three weeks after the marathon this is what I focused on, getting my body to move without pain. I foam rolled, focused on stability and mobility in my joints through a range of movements and stretched a lot.stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

strengthStrength training. For the past month or so I’ve been working on building back up these muscles. Who ever said that endurance athletes didn’t need to be strong was WRONG. You’re using the same muscles over and over whether you’re swimming, biking or running so they need to be able to with stand all that motion!

 

 

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Base training. For an endurance athlete, I did very little of endurance this year. Actually, I did very little of anything, but you already know that story. So I’m paying the price now. My mile times are slower, swimming feels like I’m going through mud and my legs are lead on the bike. But I’m slowly, slowly working on building back up my base, mostly in swimming and running because biking is my strong suit and will come back fast.

 

It’s a hard road to go down starting over, but whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember where you started and know that every day you’re moving forward. You have to love every step of the journey.

 

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Eggplant Rollatini with Sausage

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It’s tough eating healthy during the holidays. I know that I for one had 3 Thanksgiving dinners over the course of the past weekend alone and more wine than I care to remember. But we all slip up, and we should during the holidays. It’s not a time to stress out over food and weight, it’s a time to enjoy spending time with people that you care about. But if you don’t want to completely fall off track, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes that I’ll be cooking up to stay healthy during the week.

For one, there won’t be any salads. It’s cold in Boston and the last thing I want to eat is a cold salad. That’s just doesn’t appeal to me, sometimes even during the summer months it doesn’t either. I’m just not a salad person. So last night’s meal was cheesy, and full of vegetables and protein!
Eggplant rollatini with sausage
Serves 4
Per serving:
Calories: 344
Carbs: 27
Protein: 21
Fat: 19
Ingredients:
1 16oz container of Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggplants thinly sliced the long way
1 egg
1/2 pound of Sweet Italian Sausage (can also use chicken sausage for a low fat version)
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Parsley
10 oz of Partly Skim Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups Hearty Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tbsp garlic
Directions:
Cook sausage until all the way browned and set aside.
Pre-heat over to 400 degrees
Grease cookie sheet and lay out sliced eggplant, once oven is preheated, bake Eggplant for 10 minutes or until softened.
Grease baking dish and coat bottom with 1 cup of the marinara sauce.
While the eggplant is in the oven mix together the ricotta cheese, 8 oz of the mozzarella, basil, parsley, egg and cooked sausage.
Remove eggplant, once it’s cool enough to touch, add 1.5 tbsp of the ricotta mixture to middle of eggplant and roll up the short side, place in baking dish. Top with the rest of marinara and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Sorry for being so MIA this week, I spent all last weekend exploring Disney World and running the 8th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon!!! It has been one of the races that I have wanted to run for a very long time and I want to just say, now that I have had the opportunity to run it, I can say I was not disappointed. There are a lot of high lights from the race so let me just pick a few for you.

1. This race starts before the crack of dawn. Yes, I woke up at 3am so that I get the start line on time….at 5:30am. There were about 20,000 other runners that suffered through this early morning alarm with me though and the energy surrounding me made it seem a little less painful.

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2. Every corral gets fireworks. Yes every single one. I was exciting when they went off the first time, then they kept going off and it was awesome! Yes, I am probably going to say everything was awesome because really it was. I was in corral E and the first wave went out right at 5:30am like they said it would happen. It took about 10 for my corral to cross the start line and then the fun began!!!

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3. There are characters ALL over the course. I skipped the first few because the lines were ridiculously long or I just wasn’t interested in taking pictures with them. There was also other entertainment along the course like marching bands, brass drums and gospel choirs. Almost everyone running is in costume too, it gave me so many ideas for next time! This year I ran as Pocahontas which was a good choice because she’s such an underrated character, there was hardly anyone else dressed as her!

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4. We got to run through Magic Kingdom before it opened for the day. As soon as I rounded the corner and saw Cinderella’s castle I teared up a little bit. Disney World has always had a special place in my heart and doing the run was really magical for me.

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5. There are chEAR squads all along the course so there are constantly people cheering you on and making some noise as you run! It was really uplifting and at mile 10 really picked up my spirits. I got a burst of energy and started cheering a long with them. I thanked all the volunteers loudly and cheered on the people around me. I’ve never felt so invigorated after running 10 miles.

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I would definitely do this race again and I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to run a half marathon or enjoys running half marathons. Here are some of the highlights of why this race was so awesome:

-High energy from races and spectators!
-Lots of entertainment on the course to keep your energy up
-Tons of opportunities to take pictures with characters.
-Wearing a costume
-Music along the course so you don’t need your own!
-Lots of water stops and bathrooms
-Running through Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle!!!
-Flat course with a few hills
-Lots of water stops!!!
-SUPER organized for such a big race!!!!

Hopefully I see you down in Orlando next year!!!

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Whole 30 Week 2

 

Week two is in the books of the Whole 30. I won’t lie. I was craving donuts at the beginning of the week. Really badly. I almost broke down. But the thought of going back to constantly feeling bloated and burping all the time deterred me. Plus I want to do this the right way. I’m also feeling better in my own skin again. Can somebody say hello abs? These babies haven’t made an appearance in years. Per the rules of the Whole 30 I have no weighed myself. But I’m loving what I see!!image1

Week 2 menu:

Breakfast: Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Lunch: Spaghetti Squash and meatballs

Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

I was surprised by this one, I usually don’t like ground chicken. It’s just weird to me, but I enjoyed this recipe!

1 red bell pepperIMG_2027
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
7 oz can of chopped green chili

6 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Chop peppers and onion and cook them in a skillet until onion is translucent. Set aside to cool. Add chicken to skillet and juice from the green chili, cook until slightly browned. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut milk. Once the chicken and veggies are cooled to room temperature mix into eggs and pour into a 9-in greased pie pan. Bake for 35-40 min!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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Probably my favorite meal this week. I didn’t even miss real pasta and the spaghetti squash was surprisingly filling!

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 medium sized spaghetti squash
24 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 egg

In large bowl mix together the ground beef, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and coconut flour. Mix together with hands until well incorporated, add in egg and continue to mix. Form into large meatballs, about 6-8. Grease skillet, brown meatballs on each side. You don’t have to cook thoroughly, they will cook in the crock pot. Add meat balls to slow cooker, top meat balls with tomatoes, onion and garlic. Serve with fresh basil and spaghetti squash.

Chicken Stir Fry

IMG_2075 (1)So I kind of winged this one. There’s no real recipe, I just took a chicken breast and whatever vegetables I had (mushroom, spinach, pepper, and onion) and sauteed it all together in some coconut oil. It was pretty bland so I found a Whole 30 approved Tahini sauce at Trader Joe’s and added that. It made a HUGE difference. Some times you just have to experiment and see what works for you. I have to say that my meals are usually anything BUT boring!

 

 

Here are some other meals that I tried during the weekend:

 

Sweet potato hash with eggs:

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Prosciutto wrapped chicken thighs with a baked potato and side salad:

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B Good Burger with no bun, avocado and an egg with sweet potato fries:  IMG_2054

Protein Pancake Muffins!

I, like many people, struggle with getting enough protein in my breakfast in the morning. Which has been a shame because I’ve found it super important for me to get enough protein in the morning so I don’t crash early on in the day. But my problem is, I get sick of yogurt especially during the winter. I like eggs but I don’t have time to cook them every morning and I’m not a huge fan of reheating them. I love protein pancakes but that’s also hard to travel well…so I decided to combine the famous egg muffin idea with a protein pancake.

Results: SUCCESS!!!

I made these beauties, they’re super easy to make and delicious! Here’s the recipe for you…IMG_1359

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 container (5.3 oz) siggi’s vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 scoop of protein (I used Whey Better’s peanut butter)
  • toppings of your choice (I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too think add either coconut or almond milk. Use muffin liners in your pan (I found that the tin ones are better, the paper ones were hard to peel off and I ended up eating paper). Pour evenly into muffin cups (about 6-8 muffins) place on toppings and bake for about 20 mins or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!!!!

 

What is IIFYM?!

Let’s talk food and what you eat. In my last post we talked about Meal Prepping and how to make it simple and more beneficial for your life style. But how do you choose WHAT to eat? That’s probably the biggest question I get from clients.

I’m a believer in the If It Fits Your Macros school of thought. No, this is not all about eating doughnuts and junk all the time and saying “This is good for you!” I like to eat healthy foods, but not ones that are plain and boring. So I often mix it up to keep myself from getting bored and off track, it’s also a great way to keep with your goals and still live your life.

So first, WHAT are macros?

Macros is short for macronutrients, our major nutrients found in foods. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

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One gram of carbs contains 4 calories

One gram of protein contains 4 calories

One gram of fat contains 9 calories

Why are these so important?

Each macronutrient plays a different role in our bodies which is why it’s SO important to make sure you get a balanced diet and you don’t leave one out.

Carbohydrates. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.

Proteins are essential for growth and development. They help build lean muscle mass, and are the energy source when you do not intake carbohydrates. In short, if you cut out carbohydrates, you must use protein for energy which means breaking down your muscles and essentially slowing down your metabolism.

Fats help protect our vital organs, help us absorb fat soluble vitamins and provide us with a high density energy source. There are three types of fats (saturated, unsaturated and trans fat). No trans fat does not equal weight loss. It just simply has been shown that unsaturated fat decreases the risk for heart disease.

How do I figure how much of each I should consume?macronutrients

It’s all about trial and error. Every body is different based on how often they work out, if they have a damaged metabolism from long bouts of dieting, and personal goals such as putting on muscle or losing weight. You can figure out your numbers through an online calculator but those are not going to take these types of things into account.

Having an actual HUMAN help guide you and adjust your macros accordingly as
your body changes is going to be better than any calculator you find online. Once, the numbers are figured out then you can use a food calculator to track your foods and make sure you’re hitting your numbers.

So you’re saying I can eat whatever I want as long as I hit my numbers?

Yes. And no. I will never tell anyone to eat crap all day and say it’s okay. There are still essential vitamins and minerals that you get from whole foods and not from processed foods. But under IIFYM, you can treat your self occasionally and not feel guilty. There is also a difference between having high glycemic index carbs (processed foods) and low glycemic index carbs (whole foods like brown rice, quinoa and potatoes). But that’s another post in itself.

What does this mean?

It’s possible to not have to “diet” to get the body you want. You don’t have to starve, deprive or go crazy trying to slim down.

If you want more help figure all this out, check out my different work out and nutrition plans  I offer.

Meal Prep 101

We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Well, in light of the 21 day fix and general meal planning BLOWING up on my facebook news feed I thought I would write a post on my tips about meal prep and how I’ve found easier (and tastier) ways to make my life easier during the week.

I won’t lie, I used to be from the school of thought where you had to eat 6 meals a day and everything had to be carefully measured and portioned out for each meal. No salt, condiments or anything that would add any extra calories. Don’t worry. I have long since moved on from there. However, I do still meal prep. I work full time now as well as train clients after work and write programs for remote clients so cooking during the week is not very feasible for me unless I want to eat at 9:30 at night (ahem, I’m usually in bed by then). Meal prepping can be a daunting task, how do you pick what to make for the week? What do you cook ahead of time? What can wait? Will it go bad before you can get to it? Here’s some things that I have found to help me.

IMG_11301. Plan.
It seems obvious right? But I plan for the next week, probably Wednesday of the week before. I decide what I want to cook and make my grocery list. I make sure all of my meals are balanced, there’s always a healthy carb, protein and a good amount of vegetables. Also, I look at my schedule for the following week.

2. Keep it simple.IMG_0509

Don’t keep it so simple that you’re eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli
everyday. But don’t try to make your own salad dressing and meat balls from scratch in one afternoon (Yes I did this and I was miserable). I pick dishes that are easy, tasty and healthy. My cook time on a Sunday is usually only about an hour long. Lately I’ve been on a kick with one pot meals, simple and less clean up!

IMG_10593. Get comfortable with eating the same things.

I eat the same meal for lunch and the same meal for dinner all week. But it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes good. If the meal I’ve prepped is a flop, then it gets a little hard to swallow down. Same goes for the opposite. If I LOVE a meal I’ve prepped I can’t wait to eat it every day. I know a lot of people like variety, so do I. I usually never make the same thing twice in a month so that I can keep it fresh every week.

4. Don’t even try to MEAL prepIMG_0510

If you’re just starting out, don’t try to cook everything. I hate to cook everything on Sunday’s in fear of food going bad. If I have the rare night during the week where I have time to cook again, I’ll prep that food so it’s a quick into the oven or onto the stove. Any little bit helps, so if you’re making something that calls for chopping vegetables or marinating meat, do that ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. I even do this with smoothies, I’ll chop up fruit and put it in a bag until I’m ready to throw it in the blender so that in the morning when I haven’t gotten my coffee yet, I don’t even have to think about it.

5. Skip a meal.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t prep breakfast at all. I love eggs as much as the next person. But honestly, it just one more thing on my plate. I used to do overnight oats as well, but sometimes at night I just want to come home and veg out. So I keep breakfast non-cooked. I’ll have oatmeal that I can just throw in the microwave or yogurt with my own fruit and granola added.

Here’s one meal that I made this week and was SUPER easy and quick:

Pesto Mozzarella Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Spinach (Makes 4 servings)IMG_1157

1 lb chicken
4 tbsp pesto (or you can make your own)
2 Tomatos
2 cloves garlic

1 Package Spinach
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tbsp Olive oil or any oil of your choice
4 slices of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes. Finely chop garlic. Place chicken breast in oven safe dish. Spread 1 tbsp pesto on to each chicken breast and then top with 2 slices of tomatos. Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, place mozzarella on top of eat chicken breast and then continue to bake for another 5 minutes.

Add brown rice and 2 cups water to a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Once brown rice is cooked remove from heat, add tbsp olive oil, spinach and chopped garlic to the pot. Cover and let it steam, and stir everything together.

Then divide however you would like, Tupperware, eat it right away, feed it to the cat. Whatever you please but you just made lunch/dinner for 4 days!

Grokker Review

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I get a chance to review run products. This post is spoonsored by Grokker and I received a free three month trail to facilitate my honest review. The post may also contain affiliate links.

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If you’ve kept up with my blog, you know I hit a rut last year when it came with fitness (if you haven’t check out the post here: https://christinemince.com/2015/04/30/finding-my-balance-and-not-tipping-over/). This year I made it a goal to try out different work outs and fall in love with working out all over again, but between training for my races and my wacky work schedule sometimes it’s hard to get to different studios with a strict schedule.

So when I got chosen for the Grokker campaign I was super excited! I could do some cool work outs without having to adhere to someone else’s schedule or worry about travel. I also sometimes have to get my work outs in at 4am and with it getting darker out earlier and public transportation doesn’t start until 5:30am in Boston, I can get my work outs done without leaving my home!!!

My favorite work outs were definitely the HIIT ones, I like a nice short and sweet work out and these were short enough that I could do 2 or 3 videos hitting different body parts. Here’s one example of the videos I tried out!

https://grokker.com/p/j/bio3qyr4xb31

I also really liked the pilates and barre work outs. I teach barre myself so these gave me tons of new moves for my class! Lastly, I really enjoyed the spin classes! I love to spin, but as I said before it’s hard for me to fit classes in my busy schedule. I recently got a bike trainer so that I can use my own bike as a stationary one, and these classes are perfect to help keep my motivated for an hour and really challenge me!

I loved Grokker because there pretty much is something for everyone to try out and discover something they may not try with a lot of people watching them in class or too scared to even try it out.

Check out Grokker for yourself! Use the code: 99CENTS for 99 cents for first month of premium or you can win a free 3 month premium membership if you follow me, Grokker and Fitapproach  on instagram and tag a friend to win a free 3 months of premium membership to their site!

Triathlon Gear: the beginners guide

This week has been leading up to my last triathlon of the season, and as I was creating my packing list for race day I have learned to appreciate how little you need to run. Tri’s require A LOT of gear. Yes, some people take the minimalist approach, but let’s be real I’m a gear addict so I just dove right in. This is pretty much where all my money has gone this year. I thought I’d share my list and what I think you absolutely need not only for training but also for race day if you’re thinking about trying out a triathlon of any distance.
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Swim:
Wet suit: this one you don’t absolutely need one, but if you’re new to open water swims I highly recommend it for several reasons.
1. It helps with confidence in the open water, basically you’re wearing a full body flotation device
2. If you’re in the northeast or anywhere with cold water like I am, it helps keep you warm
3. It makes you faster being covered in one slick piece of material
Gog   FullSizeRendergles: kind of obvious, get good ones though, the cheap ones start to leak after a couple months.
Bathing suit: I got one on sale at City Sports….these can be expensive!!!
Swim cap: I got one for long hair to keep this mane in place, those of you with short hair are lucky! They are required at a race though, they have you one of a specific color for your swim wave.
Tri suit: I don’t have a full body suit but I do have a tri top and shorts. It’s not like regular work out gear, you wear it under your wet suit and it doesn’t absorb as much water and dries faster. Next year I want a full one because my top always rides up!
Bike:
Bike: well duh, Christine. I already had a bike, a Trek hybrid. But if you look back in my posts, I ended up getting a new road bike. The hybrid was so heavy and made riding not as much fun! On the road bike I’m faster, it’s easier to transport because it’s lighter and I’m sitting in a more comfortable position (in my opinion). Definitely get a bike that you’re fitted for your bike, believe me it’s so important to have the right size in order to prevent injury!FullSizeRender (1)
Clip in shoes/pedals: I just recently got my pedals and I LOVE being clipped in, I can engage my hamstrings more (saves those quads for the run!) and every time I hit a bump my foot doesn’t fly off the pedal. Yes it makes riding a bit trickier if you have to stop and go, but practice in a parking lot so that you get used to it first!
Helmet: mine is a cheap one from Target
Pump: you always want to keep your tires at the right inflation!
Trainer: I live in Boston so it’s hard to find a good place to ride without fear of being hit by a car so I got a bike trainer. It basically makes your bike into a stationary bike. I like this better than using a spin or regular stationary bike because I can get used to changing gears and the feel of my own bike.
Run:
Phew the leg of a tri with the least amount of gear!!
FullSizeRender (3)Shoes: obviously. Once again, get fitted. It’s so important to wear the right kind of shoe for your foot/body. It will save you from injury in the long run.
Lock laces: doesn’t necessarily have to be this brand, but basically it’s elastic laces so you can just slip your shoes on and not worry about having to lace up during the transition!
Race belt: save some time by not having to pin on your number! Just throw on this belt right before your run and you’re number ready (don’t forget it like I did at my first race!).
There’s still so much other gear that I want just because. But I’ve made it through this year with just this. Some things on my wish list (if you want to contribute! 😉 ) are:
Garmin 920, it does it all. Track swim, bike and run.
Bike gloves add some padding to my palms for long rides
Bike pouch always want to have the right tools!
Flip belt to carry my stuff on long runs
Goggles…I’ll admit it. I got cheap ones and now they leak 😦
Happy swimming, biking and running!