Meal Prep Burrito Bowls

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Last week I did chicken burrito bowls for my weekly meal prep and they were delicious!  I found myself looking forward to my packed lunch each day instead of dreading it and wishing it were a cheeseburger instead.  I decided to do the same thing this week with ground beef instead of chicken.  I thought I’d share both recipes here.

The recipe for these is exactly the same except for the meat.  For each, I start with the rice first and let it cook while I prep the meat.  I used brown minute rice and did enough to have to have 1 cup of cooked rice in each bowl.  I always do four at a time so both of these recipes are for four.  While the rice is cooking, it’s time to prepare the meat.  For the chicken I used pre-cooked frozen chicken fajita strips and cooked them with a little taco seasoning and a little water to keep it from being dry.  For the ground beef, I used extra lean ground beef and drain and rinse it to keep it extra lean.  Then prepare it with taco seasoning and a little water.  Check out this post for my homemade taco seasoning.

After the rice and the meat is done, it’s time to start plating up the meal prep.  I use square glass bowls that I found at Publix.  I think the glass helps the food stay fresher longer it’s great for reheating.  Divide the rice up evenly between the four dishes, then top with the meat. Next evenly divide a can of yellow corn (drained and rinsed) between the dishes.   Do the same thing for two cans of black beans.  You could easily use just one can of black beans, but I was trying to make it more filling and I love black beans.  You could sub in pinto beans if you don’t like black beans.   Then dice up a small tomato for each one and layer it on top.  Then to finish it off, top it with fat free cheddar.

Voila!  All done!  To serve, reheat in the microwave for a couple minutes, mix and enjoy!

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The points for the chicken are only 4 or 5 points depending on how much cheese you use.  For the beef, it comes out around 7 points.   I like to add light ranch to mine after heating and that adds a few points, but it’s worth the extra points for the added flavor.

What are some of your go to meal prep ideas?   I’m always looking for something new and delicious.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I’ve been trying to eat healthier and one of the pages I follow on Facebook is Clean Food Crush.  I saw a post about a year ago for homemade taco seasoning and I tried it and really like it.  I’ve been using it exclusively for the past year.  I was running out today and decided to make some more.  I use the recipe that I found on Clean Food Crush, but I modify it a bit (no red pepper flakes for me) and I multiple the number of servings so that I can store it and have it ready to go whenever I want.

Here is the recipe that I use:

  • Chili Powder  – 12 Tbsp
  • Garlic Powder – 1 Tbsp
  • Onion Powder – 1 Tbsp
  • Dried Oregano – 1 Tbsp
  • Smoked Paprika – 2 Tbsp
  • Ground Cumin – 6 Tbsp
  • Sea Salt – 4 Tbsp
  • Black Pepper – 4 Tbsp

Mix together and store in a tightly closed container.  I use a jar from one of the spaghetti sauces that we had.    To use, for 1 pound of ground beef I normally use 2 Tbsp of the seasoning, but you can use more or less to taste.  I was scared that moving away from the normal Old El Paso taco mix wouldn’t go over well, but my husband actually loves it and so does my daughter.

Banana Split Dessert WW Style

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At a cookout we had at work a few weeks ago, someone brought this dessert and it was amazing.  I decided that I wanted to make it for our Easter dinner tomorrow, but I want to lighten it up a bit since I’m doing WW.  I swapped out the cream cheese for fat free cream cheese, used lite cool whip instead of regular, Truvia instead of sugar, and sugar free chocolate syrup.   I’ll post a picture later, but wanted to go ahead and get the recipe posted to share with friends.

Here’s what I’ve put together:

No Bake Banana Split Dessert

Servings: 12 to 16 servings  Prep: 30 minutes Chilling time:  4 hours

12 servings = 7 points each or 16 servings = 5 points each

For the Crust:

  • 16 low fat graham cracker crumbled
  • ½ cup margarine (melted)

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 12 ounces of fat free cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup Truvia baking blend
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip Lite

For the Fruit & Toppings:

  • 4 bananas (sliced)
  • 20 ounce canned crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 16 ounces strawberries (sliced)
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip Lite
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Sugar Free Chocolate syrup
  • Maraschino cherries

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or butter spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter with a fork, stirring until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the next layer.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the Cool Whip until thoroughly combined.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crust.
  5. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on top of the cream cheese filling, top with an even layer of the crushed pineapple, and then an even layer of the sliced strawberries.
  6. Cover with the Cool Whip, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with maraschino cherries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Getting Started, For Real This Time

I started this year with my resolution to lose weight and get healthier, specifically to lose 50 pounds and run a 5K sometime this year.   Then I set a couple of daily goals for myself to help me reach those goals.  I wanted to try to walk 7,000 steps a day and drink 64 ounces of water a day.  Well it’s almost February and I hadn’t met either of those goals at all … until today.  Today, I have walked over 9,000 steps and drank lots of water.  Why was today different?  Because I decided to make it different.

Losing weight is hard.  I’m doing WW and I’ve lost 4 lbs already, with 2.4 lbs of that lost this past week.  I talked my husband into joining with me and it’s been really great.  He’s my accountability partner.  I think having him know how many points things are and understand what I’m going through will really help me to stay on track.  I’ve been thinking about it and how I said I wanted to do 7,000 steps a day and how I haven’t achieved that yet (until today).  I decided that I just need to get out and walk.  I can’t go through my normal day and hope that somehow at the end of the day I’ve magically walked enough to have reached 7,000 steps.  That works for some people, but my job is spent mostly at my desk.  While I do need to get up and walk around every now and then, it’s just no substitute for scheduling the time and taking a walk.

Today, I brought my lunch (boiled eggs, cucumbers, string cheese, turkey, and V8) and ate at my desk while watching a training video.  Then I loaded up a few songs on my Amazon Music app, grabbed my jacket and headphones and headed outside.  I walked (swiftly) around the building a few times for the remainder of my lunch hour, which was about 15 minutes of walking.  I finished all of my songs, had a great time, and felt energized by my walk.  Weather permitting, I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow and the next day, and the next.

For me, the key to success is planning and consistency.  I need to plan my meals so that I am eating healthy and plan my exercise so that I can jumpstart this weight loss and help get some of my energy back.  I have my Bellicon and I’m also going to try to consistently do 5 mins of light bouncing every day.  I’ve done my five minutes for tonight.  So, in the spirit of that – here is my PLAN (not my goal… which was apparently not a strong enough word for me to consistently achieve it):

  • 7,000 steps daily
  • 64 ounces of water a day
  • 5 minutes a day on my Bellicon

I’ll check in with y’all tomorrow to let you know how it’s going!

Book Club

Tonight was our monthly book club meeting.  Our book club is a small group of ladies and we take turns picking a book each month to read together and discuss.  The January book was River Bodies by Karen Katchur.   I was traveling last week for work and didn’t finish the book yet.  What I’ve read of it so far I like.  I’ll definitely finish it this week and post a review later.   We were able to discuss it tonight without giving away too many spoilers.

I finished another book today, The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley.   I have read all of her books and she is definitely one of my favorite authors.   This book was so good.  I definitely recommend – 5 stars!!!  I did the Audible version and the narration was great also.   I listened during my four hour road trip for work last week and all the way home as well.  Sometimes for very long drives that like I’ll get bored and need to switch it up to listening to music or something else.  But this book was fantastic and kept my attention the whole time.  It’s the kind of book that once I got where I was going I wanted to stay in the car and keep listening.   There were a couple of moments where I got a little mad at the author, but I was mostly happy with the ending so all is well.

So, back to book club.  I seriously love my book club, y’all!  And I’m not just saying that because one of the other members has read my blog and might be reading this post!   (Hi!  *waves*)   I genuinely enjoy the time out with other women.  We talk about the book, our lives and how things are going, our family, diet and weight loss tips, our jobs, our kids or pets, and all kinds of just random stuff sometimes.  I think it’s important to have time with friends like that and I’m so lucky to have found them.

So, what about you all?   Any of you in a book club or other fun group like that with friends?   What are you reading currently?

Day 6 – Missing the Gym

Today was a lazy day.  I slept late and then watched a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Yes, I’m that person.  I have about 20 Christmas movies recorded and I’m looking forward to watching all of them.  Then I took the kids and we went swimming at the local recreation center with a friend.  So that was my exercise for the day.  I don’t think it really counts, because honestly I didn’t do a whole lot of swimming.  I just floated around a bit and chatted with my friend.  The water, even though it’s heated, was just too cold to swim.

Afterward, the hot shower made me reminiscent of the steam room at my local gym.  I used to workout and then steam for 15 – 20 minutes.  It was so nice to sit in the steam and just be.  It was a time completely to myself to just relax as a reward for working out.  I haven’t been there in ages but I think it’s time to change that.   I want to commit to one day a week at the gym.  On Thursdays I can bring a friend for free, so that’s a good day to try.  Unfortunately this week I need to travel for work so I’ll be out of town for the later half of the week.  But hopefully, the following week I can get to the gym at least once.  I have the trampoline at home and the online workout videos, but I think it might be good to get back to the gym.

When working out a home, I either need to get up early enough to do it before the rest of the house is awake or try to workout when we get home.   The problem with working out in the evenings is that if I try to do it before I put the kids to bed, I often get interrupted and I just feel too guilty to lock the door and let my husband handle the kids while I workout.  There isn’t that much time between the time we get them from school and the time we go to bed.  I feel bad for not spending time with them.  If I wait until they are already asleep them I’m usually too tired and just want to relax.  I think I should start re-thinking my “me time” and instead of going out to get a pedicure or shopping or Starbucks, spend the time at the gym instead.

Do you workout at home or in the gym?  How do you like to spend your “me time”?