Fit Friday: Taco Soup

There are no words to describe how busy it’s been since the new year rolled over.  I have been working five days a week at the gym with varying hours throughout the day and evening, plus a couple of Saturday mornings.  My client schedule is finally growing as people are making the decision to change their lives for a bit healthier style.
It’s crazy, but I’m having fun!
Despite being so busy, I am still finding time to get into the kitchen and cook for the family.  It may be as simple as grilled chicken and a salad (doesn’t everyone use their grill in 30 degree weather?), but it is made with love and the anticipation of a family supper each night.
It has been a little chilly downright cold around here, so last week I put together a hearty pot of Taco Soup for our supper.  There are a lot of great recipes out there for taco soup, but I created my own lightened up and heart healthy version.
And it was soooo good!!
And it was even easier to make!

 

INGREDIENTS:
64 ounces unsalted beef broth + any extra water for coverage
3 pounds ground turkey breast or extra lean (97/3) beef
2 cups frozen corn
2 cans no-salt added pinto beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans no-salt added black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans no-salt added basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
3 large jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 packages Mrs Dash Taco seasoning
fresh chopped garlic, & chili powder for cooking the ground meat
Fresh chopped cilantro for a garnish
 
 
 
In a large skillet add your ground meat to brown.  Sprinkle with chili powder and add the chopped garlic to cook with it as well.
While the meat cooks, in a large stock pot (or crock pot) add the beef stock, corn, beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, jalapeños, onion and the contents of the Mrs Dash seasoning packets.  Mix together and heat on medium.
When the meat is ready, drain well and add to the stock pot.
Allow to simmer on medium 30-45 minutes to give the flavors time to mesh and the veggies to cook through.
See, I told you it was easy to make!
I served the family’s soup with a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt and thin & crispy no-salt Xochitl corn chips.
I promise, this is so good that you won’t miss the salt.
Or the fat.
In fact you’ll want another bowl for lunch the next day!

I hope your New Year is off to a great start!  Now that things are settling down a bit, I hope to be posting more and I definitely plan on catching up with all of you!

 

Fit Friday: Quick Homemade Salsa

Just a quick recipe for Fitness Friday this week!

I absolutely love salsa! I love it hot.
I love it with a zing.
I love it on tortilla chips.
I love it on rice.
And I love it on just plain chicken.When you adopt a lifestyle that consists of little to no salt and little to no sugar, sometimes you have to become a little creative on your own.  Such is the case with my salsa.  You can buy no-salt added salsa.It’s OK, but honestly, it’s not great.  I want flavor.  Fresh flavor and a lot of it. So I decided to whip up that flavor on my own.Now my tomatoes didn’t do well in the garden this year with all of the rain, so I settled for canned tomatoes, but rest assured, when those flavorful babies appear again next summer, I will be making it fresh all the way!

This recipe for homemade salsa is so simple and quick to make.

When I say this is quick and easy, I mean someone with no kitchen experience can whip this right up!
We ALL love that kind of convenience, now don’t we?!
So here is my winter version of a flavorful, low sodium salsa that was a complete smash at our dinner table earlier this week!
In a food processor or blender puree together: 

**3 cans of Organic Muir Glen no salt tomatoes seasoned with garlic, basil & oregano
**1/2 large vidalia onion, loosely chopped
**1/2 large red onion, loosely chopped
**4 large jalapeño peppers, seeded
** 1 large bell pepper, seeded and loosely chopped
**2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
** 2 cloves fresh garlic
**1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
** 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
**1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

You can adjust any of the seasonings to suit your taste, but otherwise, That’s it …. easy peasy, and absolutely a hit at the table for a fajita salad dinner! Refrigerate what you don’t use.

While this recipe is good whether you are watching what you eat or not, it is ideal for someone who is on a low-sodium and low-sugar diet.   And to let you know how good my kids thought it was, they used an entire half-liter jar as well as the smaller juice jar of the salsa at one meal!

Easy fajita salad: London broil grilled medium & seasoned with Mrs. Dash Fajita seasoning, no-salt corn tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, red and green onion, cucumber, and fresh tomato, topped with salsa.
Healthy and on the table in 40 minutes.
Linking up with Foodie Friday this week.

Fit Friday: Turning Point

This week has been almost overwhelming for me.  It has also been a week that makes me thankful for the lifestyle change in mine and my family’s lives.  A year and a half ago I know that I would not have made it through this week with out either getting sick or sleeping away my day while the kids were in school as well as my weekend.
I probably would have done both, and I would have cried a lot too with the stress because Audley was out-of-town.
 
 This week has consisted of 
*five workouts; two weightlifting sessions and three 5 mile walking/running sessions as I prepare for another 5K (one I fully intend to run the entire distance this time),
*a double-header softball game where I discovered that 41 is too old to cover home plate because you refuse to let a certain hot shot guy score against you (not that it really made a difference in the score…..),
*2 long swim meets where Bradley debuted his first competition backstroke (and finished first),
Bradley was my training partner most of the summer in the gym …. his physique is quite impressive for a 13 year old!
Swimming a freestyle event
*MacKenzie’s Academic Excellence awards night at the high school,
MacKenzie had the highest science grade in the school
*a meeting with the guidance counselor to discuss MacKenzie’s graduation test results (she passed with above average marks her first time through)
{Thankfully Madeline is in her off season!!}
And this…
I finished my last chapter quizzes in my class….
Took a practice exam….
And unlocked my final exam.
As if the events of the last 14 months have not been enough, today is truly a turning point in my life.
By the end of the day I will know if I am a certified Fitness Trainer.
I’ve already had a job interview, but that is a story for another day.
Next week should be much calmer and I plan to wrap up my summer vacation series before the first day of fall arrives with our visits to Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama and a photo journal of a relaxing weekend in Palm Beach, Florida.  I also have some easy (and healthy) variations of vinaigrette for you that are just perfect for autumn salads and a DIY project Audley completed for me.
Have a wonderful weekend!
 

Fit Friday: Greenville Color Vibe

A couple of months ago I created a bucket list of things to accomplish as I began to reach certain weight goals.  One  of those was to run a 5K.  Originally I had planned to do this in November, but my sweet Madeline discovered the super fun Color Vibe run was coming to the area in August and insisted that we do it together.

So, with just 3 1/2 weeks to prepare, I got ready to run my first 5K.

There are several programs out there to get ready for running events, but I didn’t use one.  I just went with my gut and started walking the hills and roads through our subdivision, then added jogging to the mix.  In three weeks time, there is really no way to be ready to run, but I was determined to be close.

Madeline & me just before the start of the race … we had already been dusted with a little color.
And, I was close.  I ran about 3/4 of the 5K race, mainly walking the hills that totally kicked my bum.  WOW!  I wasn’t out of breathe or exhausted from being out of shape, just from not training long.
Madeline ran off and left me, which was quite expected and alright (she is a distance runner for the high school track team).

I passed people who started before me and finished the entire thing in just under 45 minutes, which pleased me greatly.

My three super encouraging kiddos, as well as one of my reasons to be fit!

 

No matter how big or small, accomplishing a goal is always satisfying.

But that is the fun in a 5K like the Color Vibe.  Everyone is there to raise money for a local charity; in our case a local food bank.  Costumes and personality is encouraged, and you don’t necessarily have to run.

In fact there were several groups that participated that were there to walk the entire event and have fun!
That’s what is so awesome about living a fit life.  You can walk your journey, or you can run it, but you’ll always enjoy it!
I did enjoy having my biggest cheerleader present to encourage me along my route and waiting on me at the finish line.
2012 (on the left) & August 31, 2013 (on the right)…. And yes, I am wearing a tutu!
There is a 100 pounds less for him to love on, but I really don’t think he cares.

Find something that peaks your interest and motivate yourself this weekend to do something different!  You will be so glad that you did!