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Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Monthly Archives: September 2015

With falls arrival comes a number of favorites. Pumpkin spice. Apple pie. Hot cocoa. Chili. 

My crockpot is my best friend in the cold months because I can make enough meals for a week while I’m at work. I’ve played with many versions of chili. Some with more beans, some with more veggies over all. This one I think has a balance of meat to veggies. It’s got a kick to it and is great with rice. 

What you’ll need

  • 16 ounces ground turkey 94/6 ( you can use a different lean ratio, but this will change the macros)
  • 15 ounce can of Goya black beans
  • 15 ounce can of Furmanos diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 7 ounce can green chiles
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced sweet peppers ( I used green, red and orange bell peppers)
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of salt and pepper because I felt I should
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle  of beer ( pale ale or Oktoberfest)

In true crockpot fashion, I dump all the ingredients in this order in the crockpot. I set it on high for 4 hours. I wait about 10 minutes before breaking up the ground turkey. As the chili starts to cook I sporadically stir it to make sure the spices are evenly distributed. Nothing is worse than having a strong bite of chipotle powder. 

  

 
  

  
I knew I wanted 4 meals out of this pot, mostly because I know I consume around 4 ounces of turkey in a sitting. Here are the macros for this chili:

A serving is 375g of chili ( I use a food scale) and each serving has 269 calories. Broken down further 7.4f | 23.8c | 30.1p with 6g of fiber. It’s a solid dinner or lunch and my favorite is to put guacamole and shredded cheddar on top for a little more fat and protein.

Do you have a chili recipe you like to make or do you find yourself experimenting? 

❤ Cristina  

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Is when everything you’ve accomplished doesn’t feel like work. There are some weekends when I have my game plan written down and I sigh at it because running errands and laundry just aren’t appealing. Not that laundry magically became fun this weekend, but for the first time in a long time I enjoyed my weekend.

It started Friday at the Big E. Living in Massachusetts there is no state fair, instead there is a large regional fair instead. I don’t go to these usually because you spend an absurd amount of money of bad games, greasy food and you end up with a stomach ache. However, there was a free concert that I couldn’t pass up – Brett Eldredge.

I made a plan for myself and I stuck to it. My plan was to eat well during the day and have a treat at the fair. As we all know, fairs are notorious for having the most ridiculous foods like a burger between two donuts. Who comes up with this stuff? After walking around, I decided nothing was actually that appealing to me. I was slightly disappointed, but I also know what will happen to my stomach if I try to consume foreign foods. My compromise was a gyro loaded with onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.

It was probably one of the best gyros I had ever had, including at a restaurant.

After settling at the concert venue, I took a round of selfies and played on my phone until the show started. This side by side was a result of my selfies.

This also reminded my why I learned to compromise at places like the fair. I still had something tasty, but I didn’t go nuts and over do it. I have told my friends many times that my one fear is going back to where I was. But I know that with the knowledge and willingness I have I probably wont. I managed to get in 8K steps on my fitbit just from 3 hours of walking around at the fair and back to my car; I don’t think I would’ve done that much a few years ago if I didn’t need to.

After the drive home and crashing in bed, Saturday was bright and early and my booty was in the gym. Happy cardio Saturday? 98 floors of the stairmaster to start my day because #growabooty.

Following my cardio, I took my booty home for some sweet potato pancakes (recipe up shortly) and a trip to the farmer’s market.

It’s about a mile away from my apartment and it’s some pretty awesome local business there.

Some jumbo zucchini!

The prices aren’t half bad either. With the items I bought at the market I made my version of ratatouille served with a side of focaccia bread topped with sundried tomatoes and mozzarella and 4 ounces of chicken. Seriously, date night with myself is pretty damn awesome.


I sweat I did more than workout and eat. I also did the laundry and cleaned up my apartment. I watched 4 movies while cleaning. I haven’t watched a movie in the living room, during the day in forever. I managed to get in almost 13K steps too. Not too bad for a Saturday of adulting.

I was riding the struggle bus a little this morning – at first, but only because I actually slept in. By sleeping in I mean I work up around 8. I know that’s not sleeping in for most, but it was kind of nice to just be in bed for a time later than 6 am.

It’s week 8 of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I’m still going strong, but today I modified the circuits for arms and abs because of the space I had at the gym. I had no issue in the free weight area or getting on a machine, but dropping to plank wasn’t ideal this morning with the number of us in the gym. I did get a solid workout in by incorporating some of her exercises with dumbbell, barbell, rope and cable workouts I like to do. I ended the session with three 5-minute sets on the stairmaster. I guess that’s my favorite cardio machine lately.

A week and a half before starting BBG again vs. half way through week 7.

I follow up the afternoon with another trip to the Crompton Collective and lunch Birchtree Bread Company with my friend Eva. It’s about a mile away from my apartment so I took advantage of the gorgeous day and walked. Music in my ear and fitbit on my hip. For once I had nothing to do today, so I got to enjoy downtown and not rush through lunch. And of course we saw the best things and we wanted to buy them all.

Two mugs I actually bought :]

I did end the day with some meal prep and chili cooking in the crockpot, but for once I didn’t feel like if I didn’t prep I would fail during the week. I did a lot this weekend, but I didn’t feel a time crunch like I normally do. I mean I’m actually sitting on my couch writing this on my laptop, not in bed from my phone – which is where most of my blogging happens. I’m glad this weekend felt relaxing because this week will probably not feel like that. With 2 visits and 3 receptions/events with meals on the calendar I may slightly loose my head.

My meal planning is going to need to be on point and my gym schedule will be sporadic, but it’s going to happen. I will get my booty in the gym and I will get my fitness on. I guess I’ll just have to look forward to Saturday night when my work week is done.

Time to set my coffee pot and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is an early to rise kind of morning for a gym session and then off to Boston for work. I hope everyone else had a good weekend and enjoyed Sunday Funday. Let’s crush this week.

❤ Cristina


It’s a little late, but life gets in the way! I made these cookies about a week ago and I felt the need to share. I have the smallest fridge. Well, small for an apartment. It’s not a full size and it’s a few inches taller than I am. I”m 5’4″ so that’s not saying much. This means that when food goes on sale I can’t buy as much as I would like for the freezer, it also means that I have precious real estate going on. I had gotten to the point where I knew that I wanted Halo Top in my freezer more than I wanted veggies. I’ve been buying my veggies fresh and consuming them relatively fast, so the frozen veggies needed to go. I also buy a lot of blueberries and strawberries when they go on sale for BOGO and throw them in the freezer. Needless to say there were a lot. I knew the broccoli would be steamed and eaten, no problem. But strawberries on the other hand can be tricky.

After being frozen they can get mushy during the thawing process, which isn’t appealing usually except in a smoothie. My goal was to find a recipe that used strawberries in a way that mushy ones wouldn’t be a problem. As I was surfing Pinterest I came across a pin for Strawberry Oat Cookies. I may have also added “healthy” into the search bar. Don’t be fooled, these aren’t super healthy, but they aren’t super awful either. These use oats, which are a good source of fiber. The recipe called for honey and coconut oil. Honey is a more natural sweetener than that white powdery stuff and coconut oil has healthy fats in it. Still fatty, but a little better than butter.

I found the recipe on the blog Amy’s Healthy Baking. As I skimmed her post and found the recipe and directions, I decided I had pretty much everything in the house to make these so it wasn’t going to be too much extra effort, except to turn the oven on. I followed her recipe, but instead of whole wheat flour I used all purpose. I don’t bake often so I wasn’t willing to buy more flour that had the potential to just sit around the pantry. I don’t think this affected the cookies overall though. They spread out pretty well and puffed up.
A few things to highlight about this recipe, when she says to put it in the fridge for an hour, listen to her. I kept mine in for 2 because I was cleaning and it made it so easy to scoop and plop on the parchment paper. I don’t want to know what would happen if I didn’t let it thicken in the fridge.

Parchment paper is your best friend. They came right off the paper and there was no mess on the tray. I’m all about an easy clean up.

Coconut oil is the way to go for these babies. You can’t taste it a lot, but it’s got a hint in there. I also added some coconutter because why not. They were magical. Definitely something I would make again and they helped clean up the freezer a little :]

What extra items do you stock up in your freezer?

❤ Cristina


I love food. I love breakfast. I love burgers. I love desserts. But the past few years I’ve been playing in the kitchen a lot more and trying to figure out how do I keep some of my loves in my daily diet without getting crazy.

I’ve found alternatives and that has helped a lot. Below is a photo of a cookie and gelato sundae. The cookie: pumpkin spice complete by Lenny and Larry. It has fiber, low fat AND protein. They’re vegan so they’re pretty friendly for most diets. They come in a ton f flavors and I’m slowly working my way trough them all. Half a cookie is a serving, but they’re as big as my hand so you can understand why half is enough. The gelato: high protein vanilla gelato by Forte. A container is a serving and they’re little cups, so don’t start thinking its a whole pint! That cup has 15g of protein. Topped with fat free whip and sprinkles I have a delicious cookie sundae and I don’t feel left out.

Pancakes are by far one of the best breakfast foods that has been invented. Sweet and fluffy, but not always pack with nutrients. I buy a few different mixes, but lately I’ve been hooked on Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes. They have 14g of protein and 5g of fiber. It’s also a very basic mix so you can add so much to it. I usually add a scoop of protein powder, an egg white, and vanilla. This adds even more protein and flavor to the mix. Pictured below are birthday cake pancakes usually Cellucor’s cinnamon swirl whey in the mix, then topped with fat free whip and sprinkles.

And these bad boys are made with red velvet protein powder.

I know it can be pricey to get alternatives or some f those fancy health foods, but it doesn’t need to be. I try really hard to find good deals. I shop based on sales and I buy in bulk when possible. I shop local and at farmers markets – which reminds me that I need o be better at carrying cash. Sometimes I coupon a little, but I don’t seek them out.

My standard list consists of:

  • Chicken breast
  • Ground turkey
  • Deli chicken breast
  • Yogurt
  • Sandwich thins
  • Flax and oat pita
  • Wholly guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Brown rice
  • Steel cut oats
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Eggplant
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli

From there I added and subtract other items. I always try new brands and new flavors to see how I can spice it up. Many a night has my yogurt turned into dessert once whip cream was added because the flavor was that dessert-like.

Grocery shopping has actually become a lot of fun for me. It’s about what new fun finds can I get my hands on. How can I make my daily diet fun so that eating healthy isn’t a chore?

What do you try to do to keep you meals fun, but on the healthier side?

❤ Cristina