Beet, Yellow Tomato, and Feta Salad with Citrus Dressing

Beet, Yellow Tomato, and Feta Salad with Citrus Dressing

Happy Friday!

You know what I love about summer? All the fresh produce in the stores! So many types of fruit and veggies come out of hiding (or at least I just notice them) and I feel so creative on what I can do with them.

This was one of the “AHA!” moments where I was digging through my pantry and looking for anything to use up in my fridge. I kept seeing my yellow tomato on my counter all week and went back and forth in my head: 1.) why did I buy it and 2.) what I could do with it besides just put in a sandwich or salad.

I had seen a recipe somewhere about a citrus dressing and the minimal ingredients it called for and once I put two and two together, I knew I had to just go with it and see what happened!

BOOM! This salad was born!

I feel this is the perfect way to welcome summer. Nothing says summer like fresh produce tossed together in a light, refreshing dressing on a hot summer day. Who want’s to be standing over a stove or in a hot kitchen this time of year anyways? If you’re like me, want something quick, fresh, and healthy so you can get back outside! Another reason this salad is great. It’s travels well so it’s great for picnics and BBQs too.

I used reduced fat feta cheese to watch the calorie intake and jarred beets since they’re packed in a tangy vinaigrette that enhances the flavor of the salad. Use what you have though. This is an easy salad that would sure to please anyone no matter what you put in it!

This makes one serving, so double up if you’re bringing for a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp of reduced fat feta cheese
  • 1 small yellow/heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 c baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 c jarred beets (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 medium celery branches, chopped
  • 1/4 c chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Mix carrots, celery, tomato, beets, chickpeas, and feta together in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper
  • Pour dressing over veggie mixture and toss together

Grab a fork and enjoy!

Your Turn:

What is your go-to summer side dish?

What are some healthy pantry staples you like to keep on hand?

What is your favorite thing you love about summer?

 

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Hey! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on my little blog. This past semester with school has been a crazy one, yet again. I knew it was gonna be a nutty one, so blogging went straight to the back-burner until I was done. It was definitely a good decision on my part! I’ll probably go back to putting it on the back-burner in the fall. But for now, expect to see me on here more often!

Summertime this year is a chill, yet productive one for me so far. No big trips planned or classes I need to take. I’m using this time to learn more about myself through my internship, my training, my current work, and to take time to see myself where I want be a year from now…no more schooling and in a full time career (fingers crossed!). Long story short.

With those things in mind, I took time to reflect on what I’m loving in my life right now. It’s so easy to keep looking ahead or planning for the future. I find that I see myself as “not good enough” or comparing myself to others. It’s a dumb game and wastes time. Period. Reflecting on what I love about my life right now, is good way to start planning on what I can take with me into the summer months and fall semester.

SO what am I loving? SO MANY THINGS!! I had to narrow it down some, but these are my FIVE things I’ve been loving lately:

1.) Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I’ve been hanging with my girl, Lindsey (@runnaroundd) more lately and have loved our coffee dates together. We’ve not always been in touch, but we’re on the same page with fitness and our love for coffee, so you could say we hit it off every time. Other friends have gone to the wayside lately, and that’s okay too. Those people will reappear when the time is right. Until then, there’s always room for new friends right?

2.) Eating more fruit. Sounds weird, because I always eat fruit and have always loved it, but something about fresh summer fruit sounds so refreshing! I love frozen pineapple or mango in smoothies and watermelon with feta and balsamic vinaigrette…YES, the ultimate summer snack.

3.) Not following a training plan. I said it. It feels weird. I’m being honest. It’s nice to not revolve your life around training for a marathon. I truly love the training and see myself running a marathon again for sure, but this time of year with it being so hot in Florida, I don’t feel the need to run for distance or train for an event. Right now, I love running the distance I wanna run when I wanna run it…type of thing. I do bootcamp one time per week, strength day one time per week, HIIT one time per week, running in between, and yoga. It’s a good mix and I’m not focused on one one kind of movement. I’m sure by the end of the summer I’ll be craving some kind of race to train for!

To keep me focused, without any races on the horizon, I’m considering doing a run streak. Ya know, one of those “run a mile a day from this date to this date”…yep! It’s sounds like it could work since I have a goal, but nothing crazy. Consistency seems to be what I’m craving anyways.

4.) My Special Olympics Internship. I LOVE my this internship. BOOM! It has by far been the most eye opening experience I’ve had. I truly love seeing my class and putting together lesson plans (I’m teaching health education to SO athletes). I love the creativity behind it and the topics I cover with them. My students give me a challenge in the best way possible. We’ll see where this goes from here!

5.) Taking school off for the summer. Although I’m technically “in school” during this internship, I’m not in the classroom. I have no classes for credit to take (I’ve completed them), homework, studying for a test, or showing up to do. It is a blessing since this program is truly a constant grind and this time off has been worth it. I know I’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back for the fall semester!

Your Turn!

  1. What is your fitness routine like lately?
  2. What are your favorite summer recipes?
  3. Any new experiences that you’ve learned from?

 

Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Four Tips For A Successful Grocery Trip

Happy Friday!!

These past two weeks have been pretty crazy. A one semester class in three days (yes that is possible for my graduate program), my new class at Viking Fitnesss, getting to know and training new clients, keeping up with everyday tasks, running and training, and being social–wow sounds exhausting!!

In reality though, I did have to step back after that three day class a week or so ago. I was invited to three fun events I was planning on attending once my class was over. I ended up not attending any of them and sleeping in, catching up on things at home, and organizing my life before the spring semester starting that next Tuesday. I hate saying no, but being social seemed like a lot of work when all I wanted to do was rest my brain! (sounds terrible I know). I’m really glad I took the hint and listened to my body!

In terms of marathon training, my training is basically at a close. No more hard training runs, minimal leg days (sobs), and instead shorter runs that act more as a shake out for my legs. The past couple weeks I added more stretching, foam rolling, and just overall rest. I tried to get my steps in every day, but that was about it. I snuck in a few walks and an upper body training session. Weird to take it all down a notch. But I like it. I shows me that I really work hard and put my body through a lot. The tapering is actually kind of relaxing for me and is a good time to get psyched and excited for the race ahead!!

Basic recap on my life lately done! ^^^

In the meantime, I’ve meal prepped lasagna and healthy carb options these two weeks as well. Still plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and water. These two days before the race though, I stocked up on healthy carb options. I always like to have these around in training or not, but I did find that I was low in some of my favorites, so I made a trip to Publix!

Aside from just the carb and healthy fat options I picked up, I have a method I use to get through the grocery store as efficiently and productive as possible on a daily basis. Here are three tips I live by when tackling the grocery store:

  • Enter with a list. I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. You stick to the list you bring then just wandering aimlessly around the store ( <— time killer). Make sure you have the ingredients you need for whatever you’re prepping, your basic staples, a treat or two (your discretion on this one), and one new product. Some of these, like the treat or new item is something you see as you shop. I know I always buy fresh veggies as snacks, enough greens for a salad, carbs (one to cook fresh another ready to go), a protein (one to cook fresh and one ready to go), dairy, fruit for snacking or breakfast, and a healthy fat or two (mines BOGO peanut butter is at publix most of time).
  • Shop the perimeter of the store first. Again, another broken record, but THIS is very key if you tend to go straight to the aisles. The perimeter of the store has the meat, produce, frozen, and sometimes dairy items. The basics for healthy shopping! The inside aisles have the processed items. You can find quality brown rice in the aisles, but you can also find oreos. 😉 Be weary and keep your list nearby when in these aisles!
  • It’s OK to ask for repackaging. The repackaging applies more so to meat and produce. You can ask the butcher to cut the portion in half, trim the meat, and weigh it out for you. I don’t do this a lot, but my mom does for certain things. It’s a smart way to cut costs and keep lean protein in mind. You can also apply this to produce when it is sold in open bags. Grapes are the norm for this. I’ve weighed mine out and got exactly how much I need without wasting the rest and paying more then I needed to.
  • Read labels. Sounds time consuming. It can be, but I focus instead on skimming instead of reading every last nutrient and ingredient. I check out five things on the label: calories, carbs, fat, fiber, protein. Making sure the item is low in sugar too is also key! Checking out the first five ingredients on the list is also important!

YOUR TURN:

– Do you like grocery shopping?

-What is your typical routine when you shop?

-What have you had to say no to lately but are glad you did?

 

 

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

My first blog post of the year! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017. Looking back on 2016, there was a combination of both good and bad. Bad I feel isn’t a great word here, so I’m switching to “challenging.”

Challenges that were a lesson for growth and change. Plenty of tough real world situations, frustration, stress, and fear are a few of the characteristics I would describe tough spots this year. Even though negative at some points, I’ve gotten stronger and have learned what the real me is made of. Grateful for these experiences even though I wanted to jump out the window on a few occasions!

Good things: new friends, people, opportunities, growth, learning more about myself, and learning where I find my niche in the fitness industry. Continuing to trust myself, live independently in Tampa, and do what makes me happy are what I hope to continue in the New Year! One marathon, multiple races and miles, blogging, growing my personal training business and enhancing my group fitness skill set and classes, grad school this summer and fall, travel to Costa Rica, continue to live in sunny Tampa and meet the greatest guy, neighbor–turned boyfriend has been a few highlights of my year!

I’m not done with any of these yet, but every year I find myself getting a little bit closer to who I want to become. Big YAY!

OK. My year in review is recapped and I’m excited to share the purpose of post today!

My Garmin Vivoactive HR watch! 

I didn’t realize I would want this, but as soon as Harrison gifted it to me and I read about all it does, I was:

1.) Floored

2.) Excited to try it ASAP!

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I was in awe of such a generous and thoughtful gift, but also EVERYTHING this watch can do! Run, swim, bike, row, ski/snowboard (came in handy this Christmas in Steamboat), stand-up paddle board, golf (not really for me, but a possibility down the road!), as well indoor running, cycling, and strength training. I especially love the capability for strength training, especially during a HIIT workout or group fitness class!

It tracks heart rate as well, another component I thought was pretty sweet. Again, nothing I thought I would be sold on, but definitely a reminder to add that extra push and challenge myself during a run or cardio session. Although wearing a heart rate monitor around your rib cage is more accurate, which I still believe is, heart rate via your wrist is also fairly accurate compared to measuring my own manually.

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Sleep is also another feature I find fun to check! Again, nothing I monitor too closely since I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but seeing the amount of hours I slept, periods of deep and light sleep, movement, and awake time is handy. Sleep is a huge component of exercise performance, so knowing I’m sleeping well and sound and tracking it regularly is a feature that I’ve grown to like.

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Aside from the sport features, tracking steps, floors climbed, and intensity minutes are also recorded! All based around your profile you complete on the app, the watch determines your recommended steps per day, floors to climb (kind of tough at times), and intensity minutes for the week. It reminds you to move and congratulates you when you’ve achieved your goal! All good things to know throughout the day.

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Besides tracking fitness, the watch uses Bluetooth technology which syncs with your phone!!! Receiving calls and texts is easy and allows you to monitor notifications discreetly without the use of your phone. However, this is probably one draw back on this watch. I don’t care so much to see my texts and calls show up when I’m working out. My phone is away for a reason because I am busy! My workout time is my me time so I prefer to have that away. Luckily, this feature is not annoying and can be easily dismissed.

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I’m still get used to it, but I must say, it is easy to use and understand. Two buttons on the face, a large touch screen, and waterproof. Once set up, downloading the Garmin Connect App helps manage your stats via your phone. There you can go into details of your activity, sleep, calories burned, weight-loss tracking, and more. Did I mention you can sync it with myfitnesspal?! Too cool! I haven’t yet. Trying to decide if I want it connected or keep them separate. Will keep you posted! Pretty cool option knowing you can keep food logging and activity all on one app.

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Since there is SO many cool features, it can be easy to focus on numbers! Although numbers can be motivating, I try personally to not let them run my life.

I believe these activity trackers, whichever brand you buy, are a TOOL, not a measurement of success or failure. I feel that if I don’t track my sleep, I don’t get steps in, or my intensity minutes fall below the recommended amount, is not something to stress over. However, it is something to work on daily. Being reminded to move and take the stairs I feel are two very good features on this product–all of which doesn’t hurt any of us!

I do have my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch that is still my favorite and something I will continue to use! There’s something special about that watch–I think it has something to do with the races I’ve completed with it. In that case, I will be using it for my marathon and other races this year. General activity I will swap in with my Vivoactive HR watch for spin, walking, strength training, etc.! Overall, I highly recommend this watch since it plays a role in my active lifestyle that is more then just running! A perfect gift any time of year for the active individual in your life.

 

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Hey Guys! I’ve been going through my pantry and taking some mental notes of recent ingredients I been into lately. Of course I have my staples I buy every week like yogurt, eggs, fresh veggies, meat, etc. but some of the meal prep I’ve been doing involved a couple new additions. For a while I wasn’t great about meal-prepping every week because I simply didn’t feel like it. Lately I was going through some blogs, namely The Blissful Balance, my girl Christina’s blog and Cooking Light for some inspiration for meal prep ideas, because we all need a little motivation to spark our interest right?! 😉

I’m a carnivore and really enjoy meat, but I wanted go on the lighter easier side and go meatless for a change. I also felt super lazy when it came to cooking meat and keeping an eye out as it cooks. Not feeling it. I saw how lentils are a meatless alternative and found a great one-pot dish for it. The dish lasted me the WHOLE DAMN week! All dinners Sunday  through Thursday and I didn’t get tired of it because it was THAT good! With wilted spinach and parmesean cheese (which can be opted out for dairy-free if vegan) on top, it was easy to reheat and enjoy (almost) every night of the week.

Aside from being an easy/convienent dish, lentils are great for you. They’re full of fiber, high in protein and iron, and have a meaty satisfying feeling to them. They’re also great with most things and can easily be used as a side among other ingredients. I can see how vegans and vegetarians really enjoy them. As delicious as they are too, they’re CHEAP! I mean really. Not a bad price for a 16 oz bag. I think $2-3. I don’t remember an exact number but I don’t recall cringing at the price. Filling up on a budget, that’s what I like to call it.

Another favorite has been sundried tomatos. They come jarred and if they’re an option, picking the ones in olive oil is your best bet. They’re full of flavor and go well in anything! I love them in salads or snacking on them among mozzarella cheese and crackers or bruschetta *drooling*. Going Italian and I’m not complaining, note: not one bit of me is Italian…lol! I was disappointed when I ran out when making my mini english muffin pizzas and realized I couldn’t use them. SO SAD. Thinking of having the tomatoes as a staple for last minute ideas since they have a decent shelf life as well. I love the flavor they have, that roasted and savory flavor! Packed with goodness, its an item that’s gotta be on your shelf. Aside from how great they are to have in your kitchen, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, are full of water keeping you satisfied, and is a fat free food, just to name a few!

If you’re thinking you wanna try these two ingredients, here is the lentil recipe I used from The Blissful Balance. Again, very filling and it went along way! I also included another recipe using lentils but in a greek style type salad that is ready to eat straight outta the fridge thanks to Cooking Light. Hope these two ingredients and recipes sparked your interest as they did mine. Enjoy!