Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Favorite Apps

Good morning!

I'm about 99% sure I have the flu, so writing a post serves as an awesome distraction for me. (Plus, if I have to get up and leave a few times, you'll never know :) ). I love reading blogs and if you haven't heard of Mama Kat, she is pretty hilarious. Each week, she hosts a writer's workshop and post different prompts to write about. (Check out this week's here)

I decided to list and write about my top ten favorite apps. I have one problem though. I don't use ten apps on my phone. I usually only play one game at a time, and even then, it is usually deleted within a month. Also, I avoid games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans because I know my personailty. (I had to force myself to delete the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game a few months ago...that was ADDICTIVE).

So here are my favorite apps (just so you can see how practical and boring I really am):


Walk For A Dog: I LOVE this one. You can use it even if you're not walking a dog. It tracks how many miles you walk/run and then donates money to a local shelter.


Boxed: The prices are comparable to Sam's, Costco, and BJ's, but it gets delivered to our house. (And we don't have to pay any membership fees. They are pretty good about sending coupons and updates on sale items as well.

Map My Run: I like using this app to track all of my workouts. The one adjustment I had to make is the notification sound when one of my friends finishes a workout is a loud whistle and it always scares the crap out of me, so that is OFF.


Surveymini: This app tracks the stores you visit and then sends you surveys a few hours later. After you complete the survey, you earn points or free apps/drinks/etc. Once you earn enough points, you can redeem them for a gift card of your choice. (I'm holding out for a $25 gift card for either Petsmart or TJ Maxx) 


Shazam: This app has settled many disputes between my husband and I. "I'm pretty sure _______ sings this song." "No...I think it's _____." (We are usually both wrong. Thanks for keeping us humble, Shazam). 



These are the only apps I have on my phone that qualify as my "favorite" but I still frequent Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. We recently bought Chromecast as well, so that app is really handy because I can stream Netflix and Youtube from my phone to my tv. Serious life changer, especially on a sick day. Oh, I also get lost on my IMDB app pretty frequently. The movie/actor trails you can follow are amazing.

Ok, now I'm going to go read a book or something.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Meal Plan (5)

Happy Monday!

I am not planning on spending a ton of time in the kitchen this week, so all of the meals I plan on making are quick and easy.

Meal One: Baked Potatoes and Chicken Salad. When I say chicken salad, I mean a salad with chicken on top of it. I like to put bell peppers, carrots, and olive oil/flavored vinegar on it.

Meal Two: Quinoa and Black Beans We like to put this in tortillas and have vegan (vegetarian with cheese ;)) burritos. It is pretty good by itself as well, and tastes really good as leftovers.

Meal Three: My coworkers were eating an Alfredo chicken and spinach flatbread one day at lunch, so I am inspired to make my own. Our grocery store has some really good pre-made flatbread that I'm excited to try. Also, instead of Alfredo sauce, I'm going to make an olive oil/garlic sauce and top it with spinach, chicken, and feta cheese. I hope it's good!

Meal Four: Don't judge me: Grilled Cheese. It just sounded reaaaaally good.

This week definitely isn't as clean, but both Alex and I have a busy week and won't be eating many meals together, so I tried to pick things that would be quick and easy to make for one or two. One meal will also be spent with our Community Group from church--taco night. :)

I'm going to make some portioned salads for lunch. I season the chicken I put on the salads with whatever sounds good at the moment. Usually it is garlic powder, pepper, and another spice. I also like to marinade it in Italian dressing for a couple of hours and then put it in the oven (400 degrees, 20-25 min). I have been bringing celery and peanut butter to snack on at work.

For breakfast, I usually eat a bagel, and this week I have plain bagels that I top with peanut butter.

To see the meals I made last week, click here.

The new recipes we tried were the chicken lime soup and the buffalo turkey lettuce wraps. The chicken lime soup was really good and like she says, LET IT SIT OVERNIGHT! It is so much better on day two and three. The buffalo turkey lettuce wraps were so easy to make and really tasty. I was surprised how quickly I filled up on them too.
Here's a picture of the buffalo turkey lettuce wraps. I used Frank's Buffalo Sauce. 

 This is how I feel after going to the grocery store, but in all reality, we save so much money by meal planning. We realized we now only go out to eat 1-2 times a month, whereas, in the past, we would go out every weekend. It's been fun eating at home and experimenting with food.


I'm pretty happy with my workouts last week. I haven't lost any weight yet, but I feel so much better and my clothes are starting to fit better again. I'm not really focusing on eating a certain amount of calories or adhering to a specific diet because I want to eat better and make good choices 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Our Meal Plan! (4)

I find a lot of chicken recipes, so I try to spread them out throughout the week. If you have any cleaner beef/pork/turkey/vegetarian/vegan recipes, please send them my way!

The meals I plan to make this week:

Meal One: Chicken Lime Soup I will probably make this the night before we eat it and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the flavors mix together well. 

Meal Two: Spinach and Bean Burritos I made this a couple of weeks ago, but this recipe is cheap and easy to make. This time, we are going to make quinoa instead of rice.

Meal Three: Almond Crusted Chicken We make this one fairly often because it is really yummy and quick and easy to make. I like to play around with the spices I put on the chicken, so every time it tastes a little different too. :) I normally just pair it with a salad or vegetable.

Meal Four: Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps We haven't tried this yet, but we love buffalo anything, so I have a feeling they will be good. Since the lettuce replaces a bun, I may make these Oven Baked Potato Wedges as a side. Alex made these a few months ago and not only did we really like them, but they reheated really well. 

This week for lunch, I am going to portion out salads/veggies to eat. I will probably only do 4 total (2 for me/2 for Alex) because I am anticipating having leftovers from most of these meals.

LAST WEEK:

For breakfast every morning, I juggled between a smoothie, glass of water, and cup of coffee. I literally had all three sitting in front of me at the same time. It was interesting. I also ate either a blueberry bagel with cream cheese mixed with Greek yogurt (I found it at the store already mixed and was pretty excited) or a bowl of shredded mini wheat's cereal with almond milk. My smoothie consisted of frozen peaches and mango mixed with orange juice. Here's a picture of my smoothie in a mason jar with my name on it:



For lunch, I did make the tortellini pepperoni pasta salad, but I used turkey pepperoni instead of regular. It was pretty good and Alex and I both got 2 lunches out of it. 

The new dinners we tried were the paleo stuffed sweet potatoes and the steak stir fry. (Click here if you want to see the full list again) Both were awesome and we will definitely be making them again. (One tip: don't forget to marinate your steak and at 6:30 pm realize dinner will now be around 9:00 pm....not that I know that from experience or anything.)

On Saturday night, we ended up having a double date night at our house, and since we had already made all of my planned meals, I had to add one more. My friend Kristie introduced this one to me, and I really like it and feel less guilty after eating it. 
Cauliflower Pizza  She was a lot smarter in introducing it than I am. She made the pizza, and as we were eating, she asked what we thought. Alex and I told her we really liked it, and that's when she told us it was a cauliflower pizza crust. I, on the other hand, tell people straight up "hey, I hope you like this, it's a cauliflower pizza crust." I need to stop doing that because some people are initially weirded out, but then surprised that it actually tastes good. I use a recipe that uses cheese, but I'm sure you can find one without. I do recommend using parchment paper with this one. Clean up is a lot easier. I made two pizzas and doubled the recipe for each pizza...so I guess I quadrupled it? 

This is what the end result looked like. We used turkey pepperoni for one, and red pepper and onion for the other one. Here's a tip as well: remember to buy cheese for the crust AND the pizza...we had to do a couple of store runs for this one ;). I also served it with a spinach/romaine salad (you know, just in case they hated the pizza ;)) 

I also made more of an effort to exercise and be more active. While I would love to see the quantity of workouts and mileage of runs go up, here's a quick summary of my last week of exercise:



Last week, I did 1 hour of Zumba, and the other 1.62 hours were spent running. My friend Michelle and I also do the Tracy Anderson arms video to try to tone up and focus on our arms/shoulders. :)

I am a really slow runner. When I say that, I don't mean I secretly run fast and say I'm slow to make other people feel better. I am trying to be under 12 min/mile and I did have one run that I'm excited about: 


As you can see, I am BARELY under a 12 min/mile, but I'm getting there. My other runs were slower, but it's good to remember that every run is making me stronger, and any run is better than no run. 

If you decide to try any of these recipes, let me know how they turn out and if you did anything different to make them better!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

10 THINGS TO DO OTHER THAN WATCH NETFLIX.



I am feeling very motivated today, so I am writing this post for the days/nights when I feel like watching Netflix is the most productive thing I can do.  (Who new that in 2015, I would need a list like this???)

Here is a picture from one of those nights:
(I feel like my dog captures the mood perfectly)So here we go, a list of things to do other than watch Netflix: 1) Go on a walk. My sleeping dog would wake up for that. 2) Go on a run. This one could probably be combined with #1 because my running still includes a lot of walking. 3) Cook something fancy and time consuming. (Then post about it on Instagram because if you're anything like me, you will need validation from a minimum of 3 other people...husbands don't count.) Feeling Cultural? Sweet Tooth? 4) I really want to start doing things that are fun AND active. I'm trying to find different indoor rock climbing gyms, Zumba/cardio classes, and trails to explore. I recently watched a youtube video of some skiers, so now I'm on the hunt for some close-ish mountains to shred. Just kidding, they shred me. Really, the last time I went skiing I couldn't slow down and a guy had to stretch out his arm to stop me so I wouldn't end up in the lake. I WILL sign up for lessons, no worries. :) 5) .....Clean.6) Read a book. (Find a movie on Netflix that is based off of a book and read it first, then watch the movie as "research" to compare/contrast ;).7) Volunteer! For me, this would mean sitting down and getting work done for who I am currently volunteering with. But, there are also a lot of opportunities to go out and serve.8) Play a game! (Not a video game).9) Craft! I really want to make a basic burlap wreath and then create attachments for each holiday/season that I can easily switch out. This would take a lot of time (and maybe Netflix can even be on in the background ;)).10) Write a letter to a friend/family member. I love snail mail and love sending it out. It's something I don't do nearly enough and it is something I find to be special. I think any act of love and kindness is a great alternative to watching tv. :)Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Netflix and enjoy watching movies, tv shows, documentaries, etc., but I want to have a go-to list to encourage me to limit my tv consumption. :) Let me know what you like to do when you unplug! 







Sunday, January 11, 2015

What We're Eating This Week (3)


Hello there! I'd like to start by making a few points:

1) I will not typically make the "skinny" version of a very fattening dish. I rarely find them as satisfying and I always end up going out to get the real version afterwards. Also, I laugh out loud at any recipe claiming to be "skinny" or "clean"  but calls for 2-3 lbs of shredded cheese. I laugh and laugh and then typically double the amount of cheese the recipe calls for. ;)

2) I try to do something paleo, something vegeterian, and something spicy every week.

3) Then are those weeks I crave a really fatty dinner, so you know what...we will have a fatty dinner that week. (And, like, 10 desserts) BALANCE. ;)

4) We love leftovers. So the recipe must be easily doubled...or already portioned out so that we have leftovers for lunch/another dinner on busy nights.

5) Sometimes I plan really delicious meals and then I burn everything every step of the way (or I forget to plug the crock pot in so the raw chicken just hangs out for about 7 hours). My plan then turns into ordering pizza...or cereal.

So here's my plan for this week assuming I follow directions and don't play Trivia Crack while I am sauteing meat/veggies. :)

Meal OnePaleo Stuffed Sweet Potatoes I like this meal because it could easily be a meal for one for those nights you might find yourself without another person to cook for. I'm going to make sure I have extra stuffing and can make it not Paleo with a tortilla for lunch the next day ;). Also, I may find a different veg to substitute with the Brussels sprouts...

(ALSO: if I have any leftover sweet potatoes, I'm totally making this for breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash...so yummy, filling, and good for you! I don't typically add the peppers though.)

Meal Two: Baked Chicken Chimichangas Alex loves these and requested them to eat this week. P.S.--olive oil is a good substitute for the melted butter. P.P.S.--I normally cook the chicken in the crock pot during the day...it takes like 10 minutes to make these when I do it that way. (Not including the cooking time duhhhhh).

Meal Three: Steak Stir Fry I think this would be really good substituted with chicken, but since I'm already making two meals with chicken, I will stick with the steak this time. :)

Meal Four: Tortellini Pasta Salad THIS IS SO GOOD! I'm making this to have on hand for lunches or a quick dinner. It's easy to prep and gets yummier every day. :) I know it is technically a side, but it's really filling, so I will be eating it as a meal. :)


Our meals last week:
Click here to get the links for the meals I made last week.

As I said last week, the spinach bean burrito was really delicious and easy to make.

The spicy slow cooker beef and red pepper was really good, but better the next day. It wasn't very spicy and Alex added a whole lot more sriracha to get the kick he wanted.

The chili pasta bake was okay. I used whole wheat noodles and less cheese than the recipe called for. To me, the best part was the green onion used for garnish. It blended with the chili well to bring out more flavor.

Before I get started on this roasted chicken with red potatoes and asparagus...let me please ask you why I thought 3lbs of chicken was a reasonable amount for two people? Next time I will half this recipe and it will still give us 2-3 meals each. The best part of this is being able to play with the spices on the chicken. You can have the same ingredients but a different meal every time. :)

I hope you will try some of these recipes with me! If not, I hope you are inspired to create yummy food this week! Thanks for stopping bye!

Kelsey


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 New Year Resolutions

2014 was a fun year.  I've made some awesome friends, we rescued a cute puppy, and Alex and I had a year full of games, road trips, and pillow fights.  There are a lot of things I did in 2014 that I would like to continue doing. I met with a lot of women for lunch, coffee, and just time to get together.  I forced my body to run more than a couple of times.  My desire to follow Jesus and seek Him daily was encouraged and became a top priority in my life.  With all of that said, though, I have some Resolutions for this year. There’s always room for improvement, right?

2015 RESOLUTIONS: 
(For some reason, they are listed as 11,22,33,44...I'm working on figuring out what is going on with the format)

1)      Maintain a social life while reading a book or book series.  When I enjoy a book, I will not put it down for anything. Seriously.  Alex refused to buy me the Divergent series for Christmas this year because he wanted to actually see me during the Holidays.

2) Get all the shampoo out of my hair the FIRST time I get out of the shower. I can’t be the only one who does this. After getting out of the shower, I start drying my hair and that’s when I hear the suds by my forehead. I am 5’10, so most shower heads are a little low for me, but at this point, I really have no excuse.  This happens at least once a week.  GET IT TOGETHER KELSEY.


3)  Find a cure for perpetually FREEZING hands. Seriously, as I type this I have to take small breaks to warm up my hands.

4)  Minus the flip flops my dog shredded a couple of days ago; I am making it a resolution to not lose another shoe due to dog brutality. 


Okay, so there they are- my 2015 New Years’ Resolutions. I hope your resolutions are as challenging and life changing as mine.  In all realness, I think this is a great time to reflect on 2014 and to strive to make things better for 2015, but I am personally tired of failed goals, so instead, I am just trying to make better choices instead of having goals of someone to become. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Our Meal Plan (An Attempt to Eat Clean(er)) (2)

Happy Monday!

In the last year or so, I learned that I love to cook. I would by no means call myself an expert (I still rely heavily on recipes), but I like to try! :)  I am excited to introduce  4 new recipes to our kitchen this week.

Sunday- Spinach Bean Burrito Wrap by Skinnyms. Since we had these yesterday, I can confirm that these are easy to make and very delicious. They are surprisingly filling as well- we were good kind of full- feeling satisfied, but not like we were going to burst. We had some leftovers for lunch today and they were great. (2nd day tastiness is very important to me and our reliance on leftovers ;))

Monday- Spicy Slow Cooker Beef & Bell Pepper by Let the Baking Begin. I have this in the crockpot now and it smells delicious. I used beef base Better Than Bouillon (I saw in the comments that she used Chicken Bouillon, so I'm not sure how big of a difference it will make with the flavor) and am eager to see how the dish tastes. I also used a whole onion (I married an onion lover) instead of half, so it may be heavy on the onion taste as well. :) We had some leftover brown rice from the burritos yesterday, so we will top that with the beef and peppers. The recipe called for 2 lbs of beef, so I think we will get a 2-3 meals out of this one.

I am not going to assign these next 2 meals to specific days. In a perfect world, we would have a meal assigned to a specific night, but things come up and dinner plans change.

Meal 3- Chili Pasta Bake by Tasty Kitchen. I know this meal isn't very "clean," but I like that it is flavored using actual spices and not a sodium infused mix. It is supposed to get really chilly (chilly=chili night) later this week, so I will probably save this for one of the colder nights. Also, I love all sorts of pasta so I justified this meal to Alex because I need the carbs for running ;).

Meal 4- Roasted Chicken Breast With Red Potatoes and Asparagus by The Fitness Freak. I think I am the most excited about this one because it is probably the most clean of the bunch. I'm also not a huge fan of asparagus, so I'm hoping this recipe will encourage my consumption of it. :)

I try to pick meals that use similar ingredients, but still provide different tastes and can satisfy the different cravings we typically have throughout the week. (Something spicy, something pasta-y, something paleo-y)/

For lunch, we typically eat leftovers, but I also picked up a couple bags of the Dole Chopped Salad Mix. (We LOVE chipotle ranch). They are so tasty and surprisingly filling!

I said in my last post that I would let you know what we thought about the 2 new recipes we tried. (If you want to see what recipes we tried and the links to all of them, click here.)

The quinoa stuffed bell peppers were okay, but we eventually just cut up the peppers and put them and the quinoa mix in a tortilla. It made a lot for 2 people and I probably won't make it again any time soon. We didn't love the recipe and we have other quinoa recipes we prefer.

The sausage and cheese tortellini was really good...like really, really good. Because we are trying to eat better, this will probably be an every once in a while thing, but we did really enjoy it. No wonder I still see it popping up everywhere on Pinterest. :)

While I love cooking, meal planning is something I get pretty excited about as well. If you have any recommendations for recipes or even any tips for the recipes we are going to try, I always appreciate the input. Also, if you have any questions about how the recipes turned out or about meal planning in general, I'm here!