Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lightened Zucchini Bread

I am part of "Mom Group" (totally out of my comfort zone, but I'm trying) that is run by my friend Erica. She has actually turned the concept of women supporting women, get-togethers, questions, etc. into a legit company that she can still run as a stay-at-home mom mainly through social media/the internet... impressive! Anyway! A lot of the conversations stem from women going back to work- how to balance, whether or not they want to, the tears that come with it and whatnot. It is hard for me to relate to the desire to stay home since I have none. It is also hard for me to relay how I feel without sounding horrible or feeling judged (even though we aren't supposed to judge.) It's like the disconnect I felt with Charlie because of my postpartum depression, I know other people feel the same way. But how to respond? Well, I always say working isn't for everyone and staying at home isn't for everyone. Women as a whole need to support instead of judge other people's choices. 

So first of all, staying home was not an option for me since I was a single parent, but even if it was I know I don't want to. How do I know? Well I stay home in the summer and I am pretty sure I am bad at being a stay-at-home mom. She is my mini and I love her, but I suck at this. I have the ability to control and teach 150 high school students per day, but lack the ability to play a repetitive game for an hour with a 4 year old. This is meant with no-offense to those that do it... I don't know how you do it... you are amazing... you probably don't know how I do it... but I support and respect your decision... I will say what society makes me feel guilty for saying... I love being a mother, but it is not all that I am and I am not satisfied being just a mother/wife. Before you get your panties in a twist- I know- it's not "just a mother," you are so much more than that and it is so incredibly important to raise your children, it's more meaningful than any job I go to... I get it. I don't know how else to phrase that I need to do more than that for my own well-being. I get that it means someone else is "raising my child" and whatever else I get told, but at the end of the day, that choice to work makes me a better mother, just like your choice to not work makes you a better mother. It's not just work, I need to train too, I need to spend time working on myself. How selfish of me to work all day and then need to spend MORE time for myself... but you know what? It makes me function properly as a mom and that's not justification that's the truth. I am in a such good mood when I have worked out and had some of my own time- I am more patient, relaxed and a more decent human to be around. I am a new ambassador for Girl Meets Strong... a website/social media account dedicated to shift the focus of women to being strong- however that looks for you. Our latest campaign is how/why you choose strong- I think my reasoning is a good summary to how I feel- I choose strong to show Charlie what women are capable of. I want her to see that, if she wants, she can train, work, eat well, and have a family. There are no limits. As the commercial I love right now says, "It takes someone strong to make someone strong" and I for sure get that from my own Momma, the best stay-at-home mom I know who went to school on top of raising us.

Onto the food! My garden is in full-swing... Charlie and I pick the veggies and water daily. This year we grew eight-ball zucchini instead of the traditional longer kind. 

They got MASSIVE! Our one looked like a darn pumpkin. 

This bread was made weekly to use up that zucchini- it is delicious as a snack or breakfast. I took out the oil to lighten it up a bit, but it retains its moisture and is best warm with butter. :) 

Lightened Zucchini Bread

(Makes 2 Loaves)

-3 Cups All purpose flour
-2 tsp Baking Powder
-Pinch of Salt
-3 Eggs
-2 Cups Coconut sugar (or Refined)
-1 Tablespoon Vanilla
-1 Banana
-1/2 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
-1 Tablespoon cinnamon
~3 Cups Zucchini shredded (give or a take a half cup won't matter)
-1 Cup Blueberries (or nuts or chocolate chips whatever you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a Stand-mixer, or with hand-mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the banana, apple sauce, and cinnamon. Mix again until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture in thirds mixing between each addition. Add the zucchini, mix yet again. Add the blueberries and stir by hand.
3. Fill TWO greased loaf pans about 1/2-3/4 full. Bake 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Eat with grass-fed butter. :)

As written... 
Nutrition Facts
Servings 16.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 210
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g2 %
Saturated Fat 0 g2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 35 mg12 %
Sodium 25 mg1 %
Potassium 51 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 46 g15 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g7 %
Sugars 27 g
Protein 4 g8 %
Vitamin A2 %
Vitamin C9 %
Calcium2 %
Iron2 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lemon-Rosemary Marinated Chicken

As summer comes to a close, Charlie and I headed up North (without Matt- boo) to spend a week with my family in Sutton's Bay, MI. It's so beautiful I want to live there- seriously Matt and I are talking about it :)  I know winters are rough, but I like winter and nothing beats looking out at the lake and walking to the beach.

Charlie rode a horse, played with her cousins...

we paddle-boarded...

and she made sand-angels. Innocence and Pure Michigan summer fun at it's finest. 

When we got home my garden was over-run with tomatoes and herbs. It has been a wicked-hot summer and rough on plants, but one plant that seems to still be doing fantastic is my rosemary. It's delicious with olive oil to roast potatoes, but with how much I had I knew I had to use it more.... I have made a lot of marinades, but this has to be by far one of my favorites. Simple and flavorful. I am making it again this weekend and doubling the recipe. Try it on the grill! 

Lemon-Rosemary Marinated Chicken

- 1.5-2lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- 2 Lemons, juiced, 1 Zested 
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil (I eye-balled it)
- 1 Tbsp Grill Seasoning (I used Salt-Free Mural of Flavor from Penzey's Spices)
- 2 Large Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp Mustard (I used Spicy Dijon)
- Salt and Pepper 

1. In a large bag or bowl combine all of the ingredients. Roll the chicken around in the marinade and let it sit 4+ hours. Remove from the marinate and grill or bake the chicken... enjoy! 

I ate mine on a salad with roasted beets and feta... yum!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Crockpot Beef and Barley Soup

Anyone try Macros over Paleo in the last week?? I started counting my macros just so see where I am in grams. I also chatted with Mara, my sister, who is working with athlete Nicole Capurso and following her "Honor Your Nutrition" plan... all about flexible dieting. So here is where I am on average (and I don't change much on days I train): Total Cal- 1600-1700, Fat- 55-60g, Protein- 125-130g, Carbs- 150-160g. Give it a try! I feel leaner, stronger, and it's so much easier to eat less restricted, but still clean while working on my sun gains with Annie. 

In the other part of my world... Charlie... It stared as a coincidence, but every year at the zoo now we take a picture next to an elephant statue. The elephants at the Detroit Zoo were moved to a better place because they were stressed years ago, but the statue next to where their exhibit was remains. After I noticed my pictures lined up from when she was one and when she was two years old, we purposely take one with the elephant like a growth chart. We go to the zoo all the time, it's where she really started walking a lot, so I hope the elephant remains so we can continue this until she is 18. 

An elephant is her favorite animal and she carries her "Ellie" everywhere with us. :) Please stay this innocent forever child. 

Crockpot Beef and Barley Soup

- 2lbs+ Stew Beef, cut into 1" pieces if they are too big
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 14.5-oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Tomato Sauce (or marinara)
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 4 Cups Beef Broth
- 2 Cups Water
- 3/4 Cup Pearl Barley (NOT quick cooking)
- 2 tsp Dried Parsley (2 Tbsp Fresh)
- 2 tsp Dried Basil (2 Tbsp Fresh)
- Fresh Cracked Pepper

1. Brown the beef. In a large skillet or cast-iron skillet, over medium-high or high heat, add the oil and beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the beef so it browns on all sides. This should be a quick process, you don't to "cook" the beef. :)
2. Add the beef and the rest of the ingredients to a large slow cooker. Cook on low 9-10 hours or high 5-6 hours. Taste for seasoning and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 257
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8 g12 %
Saturated Fat 3 g13 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 50 mg17 %
Sodium 744 mg31 %
Potassium 434 mg12 %
Total Carbohydrate 24 g8 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g21 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 21 g43 %
Vitamin A57 %
Vitamin C17 %
Calcium5 %
Iron15 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.