Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's UP?? Random updates...

The days are getting crazier, my brain is getting foggier, my bank account is getting smaller... must be getting close to the wedding! LOL! Seriously, though, it's just around the corner! In a few days, I'll be able to say it's next month! YIKES!

Shiloh's gown is being altered, as is mine. Bethany needs no alterations as she's tall enough to wear a long gown, lol, same with Ariel. Shi and I both have 6 inch heels with our dresses, but still need a whopping amount of material chopped from the hems. Oh the joys of being short ;-)

I've started to build The Emergency Kit - I've picked up shoe cushions, strap cushions, safety pins, travel-size hair spray and stain spray, etc and am packing it away in our "Venue" box. Any suggestions ya'll have for what should go in there, I'm listening ;-)  The venue is far enough from home that it'd be a PITA (pain in the a$$) to have to go back for something, so the more prepared we are, the better. I'm thinking mini-wine bottles? Lol.

Of course, we've got the wedding-coordinator from Heaven on point with pretty much everything. I'tella'you'what.... we'd be lost without Mollie! She's amazing! And with all her hard work, it's going to be a beautiful day. I'm going to need waterproof everything. And tissue. Lots of tissue.

In addition to all that fun stuff, I got my car out of the auto-hospital yesterday - yay!!! No more rental!!! Yay!!! Bethany is all healed up from her bruises and aches, another big Yay! She's also finishing up the summer portion of her graduate-early classes. Whew!

In an odd turn of events... I mentioned before that my son's dog had escaped his backyard and was picked up and taken to the shelter. Well, remember that they wouldn't release him until Joey authorized them to neuter him?  Joey did, they did, Joey and Winchester came home to recover (lol), and then Joey had to travel for work, so Winnie spent some time here this last week. We noticed something... strange (in addition to a nasty cough - booo!), so I took him in to see his regular vet.

The vet took him back, examined him, came back out to talk to me and just stopped. He opened his mouth to speak, and stopped. He looked so confused that I was becoming alarmed. He finally said, "So... when the shelter fixed your dog...."  "Yes?" I replied.  "Well.... Ummm... They missed one."  Eh? "Missed one what?" I asked. "A nut."  "A nut." I responded blankly. "Yes, they left one behind."  Much comedy and drama ensued, and we eventually came to grips with the fact that the shelter screwed up - big time.

We've all been spouting off one-liners, trying to one-up each other, about this strange and hilarious situation. And yes, Winnie's has a new nickname. Just one, though. (snicker, snicker)

In other news, I've been playing with a variety of recipes - having way too much fun in the kitchen - and it's all due to a fabulous new book I picked up... And for my endurance-athlete friends, this is a resource you should check out! Feed Zone Portables by Biju Thomas & Allen Lim. Here's the website. I was thrilled to find a resource for endurance event nutrition (anyone tired of goo??), and before I was a quarter way through this book, I'd gone online to order the other one! Excellent information and recipes!!

And while the recipes in the book are phenomenal, ya'll know me... I can't leave anything alone ;-) Inspired by Thomas & Lim's work, I'm coming up with my own versions of "portables", testing them on my family & friends, and of course - running around like a mad scientist in the grocery store while talking to myself, "What if I put this together with that, then stuffed it with...  OH!!! And what if I..."  Lol! Then I get home, whip on my apron and create chaos - it's fun!

The first of my portable recipes was this week's Recipe of the Week (view here). The next one up you'll see on Tuesday, and it's incredible! YUM!!!

The other good news associated with discovering that book is that I have finally conquered my rice cooker! Woot! You might remember that I have a slight... issue... with cooking appliances. Not crockpots, of course - I'm the Queen - no, the EMPRESS of the Crock Pot, haha. However, breadmakers and rice cookers elude me. (And toasters. Don't get me started on toasters.) I've gone rounds with those machines until I finally gave up and tossed them in the cabinet. Here I am a year later, and voila! My rice maker suddenly does what it's supposed to! What the heck? Maybe it's time to try the breadmaker again, too...

Nah, that's just tempting fate ;-)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Rice & Egg Portable Meal Bars

I came across a fabulous book this weekend called Feed Zone Portables... It's a great resource for endurance athletes and full of amazing portable recipes (see note below). It got my wheels turning and inspired this easy recipe that is a new favorite around here! Chock full of protein, complex carbs, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, it has the added benefit of the anti-inflammatory wonder-herb, Turmeric. Enjoy this easy to make recipe as is, or uses the tips below to make it your own!

Rice & Egg Portable Meal Bars
Makes 6 servings

2 cups sushi rice (uncooked)
2.5 cups water
3 cups egg whites
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
3/4 cup diced colored peppers
1/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 tsp Mrs Dash
1 tsp Turmeric

DIRECTIONS  (see photos below)
Prepare sushi rice (either stovetop or rice-cooker).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spray 8x8 baking dish with cooking oil.
Spread half rice in bottom of dish, covering evenly.
Sprinkle with half the Mrs Dash and Turmeric.
In a bowl, stir together chopped spinach & peppers, cheese and egg whites.
Pour over the rice layer and spread evenly.
With remaining rice, create a cover layer then sprinkle the other half of Mrs Dash and Turmeric across the top.
Cover loosely with foil and bake 30 minutes.
Remove foil, and bake another 10 minutes or until top layer of rice is golden.
Cool on wire rack then slice into 6 even portions.
Wrap portions in saran wrap and refrigerate.
Grab and go as needed!

Nutrition Information: Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 288 calories, 20g protein, 51g carbs, 2g fat, 2g fiber, 234 mg sodium

TIPS: To increase protein, add chopped chicken sausage or cooked ground chicken breast (or turkey breast). To reduce carbs, make rice layers thinner (decrease rice total by up to half).

Recipe inspired by Feed Zone Portables by Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim

Spread half of cooked rice in an even layer. Sprinkle with half the Mrs Dash & Turmeric.
Mix together the veggies, cheese and egg whites. If you're adding chicken or other protein, do it here.
Pour mixture over the rice layer, spreading it out evenly. Use remaining rice to create a top layer and gently press it flat.
Sprinkle top with remaining Mrs Dash and Turmeric. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

December of the Journey - Why Reaching Goal Weight May Not Be Enough

As I approach my 5th anniversary of maintaining goal weight, I've begun to look back on my journey with different eyes. Partly due to perspective from my own growth, and partly - mostly - because of the amazing clients I work with. Folks who are on their own journey of weight loss, who look at my path differently than I have.

Some of them are close to their goals, others are further but well on track, all of them have a perception of what goal weight will mean. I'll be honest. I never dreamed I'd actually hit goal weight. In fact, for a large part of my journey, I wouldn't even set a goal. I drove my trainer nuts with statements like, "I just want to be healthy" or "I just want to shop in the regular side of the stores" or the biggie "I just want to lose the weight". Real definitive, right? But I just couldn't envision success. I didn't believe I could do it.

Reaching that nebulous "goal weight", even though I didn't think I would, meant something to me - it meant arriving at a point where I would be happy with my body - even love it, where I would look in the mirror and see fit and sexy, where I had conquered all my body image issues. I worked hard, I sweat and wept, I sacrificed social events (and a few unsupportive relationships), I learned how to eat, how to exercise, and I did reach goal weight, only to discover as I reached the December of my Journey...

Nothing had changed. Sure, my body weight and shape were different, but I was still the same person inside. I had the same insecurities, the same body issues, fears... they were all still there. Losing weight didn't magically change me.

Then I walked up on high, And I stepped to the edge, To see the world below. 
And I laugh at myself, While the tears roll down, 
'Cuz it's the world I have known... It's the world I have known  
~Collective Soul, The World I Know, 2005

After all that work, all that effort - I was still broken inside. It was the same world I'd always known. Yes, I had dealt with issues along the way, so I wasn't exactly where I started, but there was still a journey ahead. I needed to find my way, learn confidence, earn respect, discover self-love. Those of you who've known me awhile know I took some crazy steps to do that. And while those insane/courageous acts did help me grow and heal, it was the day to day living that allowed me to shed the negativity, doubt and fear. It was through each day - whether I triumphed or just survived - that I learned what I was really made of and found my own worth.

As I watch others travel toward their own goals, I often hear statements like, "When I'm skinny, I'll be happy" or "When I'm thin, I'll love my body". And it breaks my heart. Skinny and Thin won't fix what's broken. It just doesn't work that way. (And fyi, surgery won't "fix" it either - which was a big part of why I waited as long as I did before I had mine. I needed to be mentally and emotionally healthy first.)  Added to that, many of us experience body dysmorphia during and after our weight loss. It's devastating to work so hard and not be able to see it in the mirror.

My hope for you who are on a weight loss quest is that you not reach the December of your Journey only to look out and discover that nothing has changed. As you strive to become physically healthy, don't neglect your mental and emotional health. Develop your strengths, and strengthen your weaknesses. Become more of who you are inside. You are beautiful - regardless of your weight or size.  Please don't mistake weight loss for happiness. Don't mistake a number on the scale, or a size of clothing for who you are. You're not a number. You're not a size. You are more. You are worthy. You are strong, courageous, brave, dedicated... You are Transforming. 

 If you're interested in your own I AM TRANSFORMING t-shirt, please visit my store. They are available in black or in white, in sizes from S to XXL.
I AM TRANSFORMING t-shirt is an original Recipe For Fitness design.

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - EASY Chicken Parmesan (training friendly!)

If you're dieting down - for a special event or for a competition - you might be reaching the point of the season where you despise mustard and sriracha sauce on your chicken breast. Let me assure you - there is life outside of the Competitor's Condiments. ;-) Check out the super fast and easy way to switch it up - and clean up an old favorite!

EASY Chicken Parmesan
serves 1

4 oz chicken breast, raw* (vegetarians can substitute same amount of tempeh or seitan)
1/2 cup Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce
2 Tbsp grated fresh parmesan
1/4 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a small baking dish with cooking oil.
Pour 2 Tbsp sauce into dish.
Sprinkle both sides of chicken with Mrs Dash, place in pan on top of sauce.
Top with 2 Tbsp sauce.
Bake 10 minutes, add remaining sauce, and continue to bake until cooked through or internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Turn off oven, remove chicken and sprinkle on cheese. Return to oven and allow to stand 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

per serving: 225 calories, 30 grams protein, 12 grams carbs, 6 grams fat, 1 gram fiber.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Week... let's try for calm this time, eh?

Oh my! Well, if you know me over on Facebook, you know that following my last post things got a little.... scary around here. To pick up where I left off, I eagerly awaited the hubby's return home, and we decided to head out to dinner to celebrate. Since we'd be driving his truck, our youngest asked to borrow my car to go visit her boyfriend (didn't wanna hang out at dinner with us old folks). We left, she primped a bit then headed out, too.

We drove to the restaurant, ordered drinks and food, then proceeded to chat and relax while we waited for our dinners to arrive. We each enjoyed 2 sips of our drinks when Bill's phone rang, we could hear Bethany crying, but couldn't understand her, then the line went dead. He immediately called her back and I spoke to her - all we could get was that there'd been an accident on the freeway. I couldn't understand what she was saying, didn't know if she was hurt. I told her to call 911 and that we were on our way. Bill tossed his credit card to the waiter, said our daughter was in an accident and we'd be back later to pick it up.

Thankfully, the restaurant was just off the freeway, so we hauled butt (read: thankful for a Hemi) to the scene. On the way, I called 911, not sure if she had done so. I reported what we knew then hung up to call Bethy back... except when you call 911 from a mobile device, they put a 5 minute block on the line in case a callback is needed. Way to pump up my fear. We pull up, pull over, Bill throws the truck into park and I run 150 ft down the freeway to my daughter.  The officer sees me running, puts a hand on Bethany's arm, says something then backs away with his hands in the air. I guess a scared Mama is frightening even to a police officer. ;-)  She was ok, just very shaken.

A car driving in the HOV lane next to her blew a tire - he swerved, cutting off traffic, across 4 lanes. He nearly wiped out the guy in front of Bethy, who slammed on his brakes and swerved, Bethy hit hers, but also hit him. The driver who caused the accident fled the scene. The gentleman Bethy hit was just grateful to be alive, and tried to reassure her that everything was ok, but he didn't speak English. The police had to get a translator (I think it was Vietnamese that he spoke). It was very chaotic, and it took some time before Bethy was able to speak coherently. Ironically, the first words she said to me were, "Mom, I f***'d up your car." Oh my.

It took some doing to convince her that cars are replaceable, my daughter is not. It was like a mantra in my head - she's safe, she's ok, she's safe, she's not hurt. The other guy was also uninjured, and his car was drive-able, but mine had to be towed. The insurance told us to have the police tow it, then they'd pick it up and tow it to the shop. The officer did NOT ticket Bethany, which was a relief - he'd spoken to several witnesses, and through the translator, the other guy, and said that though she was technically at fault, it was just a case of bad luck.

Friday, Bethy woke exhausted, sore and stiff, with a few bruises she didn't remember getting - but again, she was safe and that's all that mattered to me. Bill took point with the insurance, and was assured everything was fine. I picked up a rental - Shiloh and her friend Jordan drove me to get it. I'd used my GPS to get us there, then hopped out of the truck and into the rental agency - where I realized I didn't have my phone. Must have left it in the truck. Drat.

Finally, with new wheels, I waited for the kids to come back (they had planned to make sure I got a car ok), then we searched his truck. No phone. We all drove back to the house, where I got on the computer to locate my phone... and it showed it was right back at the agency. ARGH. I hopped back in the car and returned... couldn't find my phone. I went into every store asking if someone had turned in a phone - one woman said, "if you leave me your phone number I can call you and let you know if someone turns it in".  Really? Really???

After searching for 30 minutes, I gave up and got down on my hands and knees, crawling around the cars parked in the lot. It was 111 degrees. That asphalt was insanely hot. Then I spotted it! Under a sedan. How it did not get run over, I have no idea. It had to have fallen out of my purse or off my lap when I jumped out of the truck (jump- yes, I am short and that's a lifted truck, lol). Thankful to have my phone, I returned back home.

That's when my son called. While he'd been working, his roommates were keeping an eye on his dog - except evidently, they weren't, and Winnie got out. Joey got home from work and spent 2 hours driving around Tempe looking for his dog. Turns out, Winnie'd gotten picked up and taken to "jail" (pound). Unfortunately, they wouldn't release him until he'd been fixed (yes, I know all about responsible dog ownership... this wasn't my dog and it wasn't my call). Joey finally agreed to the snipping and was able to pick up Winnie the next day. Poor lil' guy had also burned his paws on the hot cement while he'd been out running. He's getting lots of cuddles while he recovers.

Drama done for the week, yes? Please? No.

Saturday I got a call from the shop - my car had never arrived. OMG. Where is my car?????  Multiple phone calls throughout the day netted us the information that a form hadn't been filed and my car was still in impound. USAA took care of it, and assured us all was well.

Today I got a call - the shop has my car, and they'll let us know later today what the damage is and when I can expect to have my car back. Soon, please! ;-)

This week is going to be a little chaotic - I'm the only one who can drive the rental, so I'm chauffeuring Bethany to and from school, along with my usual work load, wedding errands, and so on.  It's going to be fun ;-)

On the wedding front, Shiloh has kicked major bridal butt and the invitations are nearly ready to go out. We'll be taking one to the post office today to find out how much extra postage is needed (shouldn't they say on the package that these require extra postage???), then finishing them off and dropping them in the mail. She hit the "OMG, it's just around the corner!!!" realization, and is frantically making lists, lol. In reality, despite her panic, there's not a whole lot to do... she's been super organized since the beginning.

Bethany and I both found shoes for our gowns - hers we found in the first store (killer sale!!), mine took a bit more doing. Though I did find the PERFECT shoes fairly quickly. PERFECT, like I picked one up and the angels sang kind of perfect. Shiloh's eyes went wide as she whispered, "Sparkly". Bethany said in a quiet, awed voice, "Mom - those are the shoes." I handled them reverently - I may have used the words "my precious". Then I turned one over to see the size and realized, yes - yes they are perfect. They are indeed the perfect shoe. Damn you, Jimmy Choo!!!! The price tag read $1,695. FYI, that was the sale price - 65% off.  I contemplated calling in the bomb squad to remove them from my hands, but slowly and very gently returned them to the rack hoping I had not damaged them in any way. Whew! We held hands as we backed away, careful to not breathe, then made our escape to the "I'm a normal person" side of the shoe department.

Seriously... how do you spend that kind of money on a pair of shoes and then actually walk around in them? Maybe someday I'll know, LOL!

Here's hoping for a week without drama. How was your weekend?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Got an A+ Wooooohoooo!!!!!!!!!!

Remember I just finished up more academics? Well, I got the news today... I passed my Sports Performance Nutrition (nutrition for Athletes and Elite Athletes) with a 98% !!!! 

Yes - I am doing my happy dance. 
No - it is not pretty (think Elaine on Seinfeld. 'Nuff said). 
Yes - my children are mortified. ;-)

I am so excited - not just to be done (which I shared about here) but to have made a great showing, too. It's important to me to do more than just show up, and I care enough about myself and my clients to strive to excel. I'm grateful to have done so.  Here are a couple of the things ISSA said about me...

"Your work on the examination has been second to none. Although I have read countless articles on nutrition, I thoroughly enjoyed your research paper and the way you presented your paper on Vitamin D and Performance. "
"We feel fortunate to have a trainer of your caliber representing ISSA as a Specialist in Performance Nutrition in Scottsdale, AZ. "

How freakin' cool is that??? I'm flying HIGH! I was thrilled to get my A+ but to have ISSA say what they did... it's just amazing!

Several folks asked me on facebook about the Vitamin D paper I wrote. I have it here and hope that it's helpful. It's also located on my main Nutrition page as Vitamin D and Athletic Performance.

And now I'm waiting for the hubby to get home so we can crack open a bottle of red and celebrate! Woot! :-D

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - EASY Lemon & Garlic Shrimp

I'm all about quick and easy recipes, but they've got to have flavor. No matter how strict my diet, great taste is a must! This is a simple way to utilize pre-cooked shrimp that will give you a huge burst of decadent flavor and it only takes 5 minutes!!!

EASY Lemon & Garlic Shrimp
by Chelle Stafford
serves 1

4 oz jumbo shrimp, cooked & tail removed
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced (less if you prefer)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Place cooked shrimp in a medium bowl.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic and cilantro.
Mix well.
Place in glass container or baggie and cover/seal.
Eat immediately or allow to marinate in refrigerator for more flavor.

NUTRITION per 4 oz serving: 201 calories, 27 grams protein, 8 grams carbs, 7 grams fat.

You want me to eat HOW MANY CALORIES????

Quite a few conversations around here lately are starting with that question. "You want me to eat HOW MANY CALORIES???" Followed by, "You do realize that I'm trying to LOSE weight, not GAIN weight, RIGHT???" The answers are YES, and YES.        

And no, RockStar... I am not singling you out ;-) I'm hearing this from several folks - including my dear husband. He and I have had multiple conversations this weekend about what it's going to take for him to get to his goals... and he's fighting me on the calories I say he needs. FIGHTING.  I explain the science, I explain metabolism, I explain efficient fat burning... I explain until I'm blue in the face and still he says, "It's counter-intuitive. It doesn't seem right. I should eat less, and do more cardio."   ARGHHHHH.  Now, I'm about to throw my hubby under the proverbial bus... but it's ok - he said I could ;-)

Conversation 1:  I want to lose weight.
Chelle: Ok, we're increasing your calories.
Conversation 2: Shouldn't I be doing tons of cardio to lose this weight?
Chelle: No. You need more strength training instead.

Conversation 3: I've plateaued.
Chelle: Ok, we're increasing your calories, and changing your macros, and increasing your carbs.

Conversation All as a result of the above: Are you punishing me???
Chelle: NO. I am giving your body what it needs so that it will do what you want it to do.

Here's the deal... most folks are not consuming enough calories, and certainly not the right kind of calories. They're also not consuming the right breakdowns - macros - the % of daily calories that come from each macro: protein, carbs and fat. And here's another little factoid... there is NO one-size-fits-all for calories, or macros, or anything else.

You are unique. Your energy needs are unique. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. Not your situation, not your progress, not anything. You are the only one on YOUR journey with YOUR body. And your body needs fuel. Period. Sure, you can starve yourself, eliminate carbs, and become a cardio bunny. You can probably drop a few pounds and hit your goal. What happens when you start eating again? Or when you stop doing all that mindless cardio? Oh. Yeah. You gain it all back, and usually a little more. And FYI - all that cardio chewed up your lean muscle, meaning that you won't burn fat efficiently, and you risk becoming 'skinny fat', along with a host of health issues to face.

What's the solution? 
Excessive cardio eats up your lean muscle.

1. Eat Clean. Dump processed foods and chemi-drinks. Eat whole fresh food and drink more water.
2. Eat Enough Food. How many calories do you need to reach your goals? Use my free calculator to find out.
3. Eat the right type of food for your lifestyle. Bodybuilders need more protein than the average person, while runners need more carbohydrates.
4. Train more with weights. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns - even at rest.
5. Do smart cardio. You do not need to spend an hour (or more) on the cardio equipment every single day. Smart cardio is HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training. Get your heartrate going and work harder - not longer. 20 to 30 minutes is all you need. How many cardio sessions per week depend on your goals and your other activity. Typically 3x/week is a good standard.

So... last night the hubby and I hit the gym together. We warmed up on the elliptical and he went off to do back and biceps while I torched my legs. Afterwards, I hit up the elliptical again for some HIIT. At 54 minutes, we headed back out the door (ok, I wobbled out the door, lol) and compared heart rate monitors. His read a calorie burn of over 1,000 calories. Mine? 469. Darn those men! However... while I was bitching about how unfair it was, his mind was blown. He couldn't believe it! As we walked to the car, he had his "uber-deep-thoughts" look going on. We got in and he turned to me and said, "I get it. I totally get it. I see now why I need to eat more. Now it makes sense why my body would hold onto body fat if I increase my exercise and decrease my calories below what I really need. You're right."

Who are you and what have you done with my husband?  ;-) Wait... say that last line again first.  :-)

While I love to be told I'm right (haha), the greater victory was that the light bulb went off for him. He's now on track embracing the process, rather than fighting it. My home life just got calmer, lol. The best part is that by accepting the process, he's reduced his stress in it - and you know what stress does, right? (among other things) it increases cortisol production. What does stress-induced cortisol do? (among other things) it increases belly fat. By letting go of his fear of eating more, not doing enough cardio, and so forth, he's just given himself a big boost toward successfully reaching his goals.

Stress is one of the greatest forms of self-sabotage we can employ. While there are many things we can't control, and many types of stressors we face, the stress of "dieting" is big - bigger when we don't trust the process. You can be doing all the right things, but if you're letting stress (aka fear) rule your mind, your body will respond accordingly - by hoarding body fat instead of burning it, by holding water, by increasing fat stores, triggering depression and even chronic fatigue syndrome.

I know it's not easy. I've been there. I've traveled the path myself and I know that it can really suck. I also know that fighting the process will only slow down progress - if not halt it altogether. Over and over again my trainer would say to me, "Trust me, trust the process." It was so hard! But, let me tell you - when I did, my progress showed it!

So what about you? Are you fighting your body instead of working with it? Are you struggling because of fear? What will it take for you to buck the bad information and traditional fat loss plans and embrace the healing of your body and your metabolism? You CAN lose the weight, you CAN make a lasting lifestyle transformation, you CAN reach your goals. Trust me, trust the process.

As always, I'm here - if you have questions or thoughts, drop me a line.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Fun and Sunday Food Prep

It's 6pm on Sunday... the laundry is going, the food is prepped, the tasks complete... and I'm sitting here rubbing my sore back and heels. Lol. I spent a bit more time in the kitchen than usual for my one-day food prep, as I wanted to prepare a favorite for my family... breakfast burritos ;-)

Friday was a blur - both my hubby's truck and my daughter's car had to go into the shop, so off we all drove (I was everyone's ride home). We dropped Shi back off at home, then Bill and I ran some errands before heading back home to the perfect end to a busy day - POOL TIME! Ahhhhh! We enjoyed a fun evening then called it an early night since Bill had to go golfing in the morning (FYI - if anyone is looking for a great pair of golf shoes, Bill loves his new Go-Golf shoes from Skechers!).

Saturday Bill golfed with his Dad and friend, then he came home and Shiloh and I left with her bff Briana to go do hair and makeup trials for the wedding. It was a lot of fun, and when Shi was done with her hair and makeup I did have to fight back tears. Can't believe my baby girl is getting married. Yeesh!

Back from that, we ran to pick up the truck and car - but for some reason the shop who has always been very trustworthy wanted to gut us over the work for Shi's car. No go. So off we went to Tempe where the quote was much more reasonable. Back from that, Bill and I headed to our favorite date-night location - Studio Movie Grill.

I love going there... I can either enjoy a treat meal or I can stay on track by ordering the grilled chicken tenders with raw veggies. YUM!! As you can see, I stayed on track this week ;-)

If you're looking for a good film to see... Now You See Me is incredible!! Truly brilliant! We loved it! Wow!

That brings us to today... we drove down to Tempe to pick up Shi's car. They did such an incredible job for such an amazing price, that Bill is having them do some more work on his truck (cosmetic guy-stuff). Then because Bethany had my car, Bill graciously took me grocery shopping (he hates shopping. HATES.). Back home it was time to dive in and get it all cooked up.

I cooked up a batch of taco meat for taco salads and wraps, while I brewed another pitcher of ice tea (we're going through a ton of this! It's soooo good!).

1 lb clean chorizo, 1 lb ground chicken breast, after cooking meat, add 1 15-ozcan drained & rinsed black beans, and 1 8-oz can sliced black olives (rinsed and drained). 
Add 4 tea bags to 1 qt boiling water. Let steep 10-15 minutes. Fill pitcher with ice, pour tea over ice, and refrigerate.
Next up was the meat for the breakfast burritos. While that cooked, I chopped veggies for the meat mix for the stuffed peppers.

The only thing missing from the typical recipe is the rice, which since I want to have these, too, I eliminated (it's already got a tortilla, bit of black bean,and potato for carbs).
View Recipe

That's where it got complicated. Not that the process is complicated, just that I'm a dork. You see, the breakfast burritos are stuffed full of a meat mixture (this time it was clean chorizo and ground chicken breast), scrambled egg whites, diced potatoes, green chilies, diced tomatoes, and a tiny bit of mashed black beans. And bacon. Bacon is the key ingredient in these little jewels. (I use uncured bacon - much, much better for you than that turkey stuff! Ditch the turkey! Eat real (uncured) bacon!). So... I cooked up the meat, the potatoes, the egg whites, mixed in all my tomatoes and green chilies, set up my assembly line and started filling burritos. I had two trays done and was about to begin the third when I turned and saw...

two packets of unopened bacon on the counter. 

You have got to be kidding me. 

I forgot the bacon. DRAT!! Everything stopped while I went back to the stove and made the bacon - and of course, being in a hurry I gave myself more than a couple grease-pop burns. Finally, bacon cooked, drained and ready, I had to reopen each burrito and stick a slice of bacon in it. Ermergerd!!!! At last, they went into the oven to bake, then after cooling I separated them into singles and twos, wrapped and tossed them in the fridge for everyone to grab when they wanted them. Oy!!

Then it was time to make the stuffed peppers... I chopped up a container of brown mushrooms, a green pepper, a red pepper, a red onion and added that to the meat (half lean ground beef, half ground chicken breast). Boiled up some brown rice, added green chilies & chopped cilantro and mixed it all together.

I stuffed the peppers, topped each with 1 Tbsp crumbled feta, and put each in its own ziploc steamer bag, then into a tray and into the fridge. Guess what I'm eating for lunch this week ;-)  [lots of stuffed pepper recipes here:]

Also on the menu is a fun shrimp & scallop dinner, a beef roast (which is marinating in the fridge), and beef-stuffed ravioli (found a clean brand at my grocery store). Everything will be accompanied by the usual steamed veggies (zucchini, broccoli, asparagus) and salad.

My snack shrimp are also marinating (1 tsp olive oil, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1/2 lemon juiced, 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro).

Now, at the end of the day, my kitchen is clean and food is all put away and ready for when we need it. Yay! Bring on the week!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

School's OUT... what do I do now?

After a heinous push, mentally reminiscent of childbirth, my latest foray into higher education is complete. It took me FOREVER to finish. I meant to do it while I was competing, and that was just too much. Then I started again, but my family had a crisis and I couldn't focus on anything extra. Then I was busy launching my business and store, rebuilding parts of my personal life and searching for my own strength, then my daughter got engaged and wedding planning began, then more personal challenges including losing our family dog... and then it just simply slid to the back-burner and forgotten. Thankfully, a terrific counselor gave me a call and re-lit the burner. Which then led to the aforementioned heinous push, mentally reminiscent of childbirth. ;-)

And now... school's out ;-) I still have to wait for all the final stuff to be graded and such, but it's out of my hands, my textbooks are put away, and my brain is mush. Stick a fork in it folks, 'cuz it is DONE. Phew! So... What do I do now??? LOL!

Don't get me wrong... I've got a million things on the to-do list. Getting the t-shirts available in the store, continuing to build my business, working with my incredible clients, planning my daughter's wedding, battling injury/disease as I strive to put muscle on this broken body, along with freelance work I'm doing, and my amazing family.  But now that the huge push is over, and I can take a deep breathe (mostly, asthma is still an issue), I find myself a little mentally... lost.
The worst part about reaching a goal is that moment when you realize you're not reaching anymore. There's a sense of loss that comes with the accomplishment. 
I went through the same thing when I hit my goal weight (the one I NEVER thought I'd get), when I finished the Burlesque challenge, when I got my first certification, when I finished my competition, and over and over again - every time I've reached a goal, there is this emptiness that accompanies it - and that looming question... "What do I do now?"

I don't think this is a negative thing. Not at all. I believe it's an opportunity to take stock - to assess where I've been, where I'm at, and where I want to go. As I work on that ever-growing To-Do list, I'll also be figuring out what to grow next. Because that's what it's really all about - growth. The continued evolution of myself. Each day I want to be better, more, than I was the day before. I want to give more, be more, do more, know more. And the only way to accomplish that is to keep moving forward.

So... while I contemplate my next steps, today I am celebrating the completion of the last. I'm gonna go have me so me fun ;-) School's OUT!!!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Champion Performance Recipe of the Week - Protein Fudgsicles

Summer is HERE! Well, at least in Arizona it is. We're already hitting the 100's and reaching into the 110's. Know what that means? Ice Cream!! Kind of. It also means we're in the heart of the "lean" season - whether you're prepping to hit the stage for a competition, or reaching toward other fitness goals, there's probably not a lot of room in the diet for fluff. No worries! I've got enough Protein Ice Cream recipes to keep you cool and still on-diet, and today I'm sharing another fun variation! Protein Fudgsicles!

There are a ton of great "recipes" for protein freezer pops floating around the internet, but I wanted a pop that wasn't "icy" (like frozen milk), or full of dairy (which doesn't fit everyone's in-season diet), or have a ton of ingredients. So... I went back to my banana-protein ice cream recipe and kept it simple.

You can add a fat if you've room for it (like nut butter, coconut butter, avocado, etc), or you can keep it like it is - a great post-workout, hot weather treat!

Banana Chocolate Protein Fudgsicles
makes 4 large popsicles*

2 large bananas**
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Champion Performance Pure Whey)
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweeetened chocolate almond milk

In a blender or food processor, blend bananas until smooth. Add protein powder, and while still blending, pour in almond milk, a little at a time, until smooth and creamy.
Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze a minimum of 2 hours.
To remove from molds, run under hot water until you can wiggle the popsicle out.

per pop (based on 4 pops per batch): 128 calories, 12 grams protein, 17 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 62 mg sodium, 9 grams sugar.

whole recipe (divide by however many pops/cubes you make): 513 calories, 49 grams protein, 69 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 7  grams fiber, 248 mg sodium, 37 grams sugar.

*You can use frozen bananas if you prefer, but it's messy getting the mixture into the molds.
**You can use any type of popsicle mold or even ice cub trays.