Motivation Monday: Consistency

Hello! I hope you all had a great weekend.

Weekend Recap

I landed in Boston on Friday night around 7pm.  I had a successful work trip, but was so happy to be home.  After getting back to my apartment, Tim and I made a homemade harvest pizza to eat while we watched the season première of Homeland.

Harvest Pizza

We also drank the organic Spanish red wine that Dawn bought me for my birthday.  Oh, and look what was in our apartment waiting for me when I got in:

Flowers

Yayyy.  I love fall flowers.

On Saturday we decided to just have a relaxing day around the house instead of going apple picking.  Maybe we’ll go next weekend instead, but we just weren’t feeling it this weekend.  We also did our grocery shopping for the week and prepped some food for the dinner party that my friend Shannon was hosting for my group of friends from home.  Tim made butternut squash bruschetta, and I made chocolate chip cookie bars.  I’ll post more about our eats in my Weekly Eats post this week, but dinner was delicious and I had fun catching up with my home friends.

Fall Dinner Party Finally, on Sunday I woke up and went to Emily’s 20/20/20 class, had a quick catch up coffee/smoothie date with Liz, and then braved the rain with Tim.  We headed downtown to the Boston Local Food Festival.  It was cold, but we got to try yummy treats and still enjoy the day.

Boston Local Food FestivalAll in all, another fun fall weekend!

Motivation Monday: Consistency

I follow Kyle Clarke on Facebook and Twitter.  Kyle is a fitness model and an MRI athlete, and one of his recent posts really caught my attention.  He talked about a weekend where he really splurged – ate a lot, drank a lot:

“Olympia weekend is over! Time to head back to LA. I ate everything I wanted and I drank quite a bit as well this weekend. It just goes to show you that one bad weekend does not ruin your physique, just like one weekend at the gym won’t help it. It’s all about consistency with any goal. So envision your goal, determine the steps you need to take to accomplish it, and chip away at them every day until you get there.”

Does this resonate with anyone else? Do any of you get hung up on one “bad” weekend? Try not to!  Like Kyle said, with any goal it’s all about consistency. Commit to a certain # of days at the gym per week, and shoot for that every week.  If you mess up, that’s okay.  You might need to be patient when it comes to consistency, but all that matters is that you get back in there.  Consistency might seem boring to some, but it is consistency that can create powerful habits.  And it’s the lack of consistency that forces you to start building the habits all over again.

Just some food for thought on this rainy Monday morning!  And to keep up with consistency, here’s my weekly workout recap and plan for this week:

Weekly Workouts

Last Week’s Workouts

Last week’s workouts were pretty much on the road style!

Sunday
Ultimate Bootcamp workout at City Sports in Porter Square with Lauren, Monique, and Jess.

Ultimate Bootcamp

Monday
Off

Tuesday
Morning workout – did 25 minutes on the elliptical, followed by a total body superset strength workout in the hotel gym.  At night I did my reverse lunge jumps for Fall Into Fitness.

Wednesday
Another morning workout.  This one had to be a quick one, so I did a mile run on the treadmill, followed by a 12 minute timed cardio and core circuit, and I finished up with 5 minutes of planks.  Did my pushups at night in the hotel room for Fall Into Fitness.

Gym Workout

Thursday
Off, except for the heismans tabata before bed!

Friday
Another 5:30am workout.  Did a 15 minute elliptical pyramid, followed by this upper body tabata strength workout, and Friday’s Fall Into Fitness glute exercises.

Hotel Workout

Saturday
I had grand plans to wake up for a workout in the morning on Saturday, but I was feeling so “crunchy” in both my shoulder and in my hip that I listened to my body and took an extra off day last week.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Sunday: 20/20/20 class
  • Monday: Planning on coming up with a circuit to do at the gym tonight.  Craving some rowing!
  • Tuesday:  Back to Two A Day!
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Teaching 6am class
  • Friday:  Workout TBD
  • Saturday: Rest

And of course, my Fall Into Fitness moves of each day!

How were your weekends?  Any advice on keeping consistent to meet your goals?  How were your workouts last week?

Have a great week!

Another Giveaway! Effie’s Homemade Cakes

Good morning, readers!

I am excited to announce that I am holding another free giveaway for all of you!

This should make your Monday mornings at least a little more exciting, right?  I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff?

A couple weeks ago I attended the Boston Local Food Festival and had the privilege of sampling so many delicious locally grown and produced products from all over Massachusetts and New England.  One of my favorite booths was Effie’s Homemade, where I got to taste three different flavored samples of their wholesome and all natural cakes!

What stood out to me about the cakes were how good they were for something so simple!  And this is exactly what the Effie’s Homemade owners, Joan MacIssac and Irene Costello, try to accomplish with their products.  The inspiration for the company comes from Joan’s mom (that’s Effie!) who grew up on a rural farm in Nova Scotia.  During her childhood she learned to bake oatcakes and has since passed on the recipe as a family tradition through the generations.  Oatcakes were such a simple flavored staple in farm homes then, and Joan and Irene continue to use this as a basis when giving new spins to old-fashioned recipes.

Effie’s Homemade products (and the ones I sampled at the festival) include oatcakes, corncakes, and nutcakes.  Below is a brief description of each and a link to their product pages on the Effie’s Homemade website.

Oatcakes
Effie’s Oatcakes are a 4th generation family recipe with origins in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Crisp, lightly sweetened, with a nutty flavor, oatcakes are a perfect snack any time of day.”

Corncakes
“Inspired by regional recipes of the Americas – cornmeal flatbreads, corn pones, johnnycakes – Effie’s Corncakes are crisp tea biscuits with a homey, toasted corn flavor and a hint of anise.”

Nutcakes
“We combined the sweetness of Southern pecans with stone-ground whole wheat and wildflower honey to create these irresistible nutty tea biscuits.  Effie’s Pecan Nutcakes have a comforting flavor and buttery texture that make them perfect with your favorite hot or cold beverage.  Try topping with stone fruit preserves, or pair with goat and blue cheeses.”

Definitely click on each of those links to read more about the products – each product page includes pairings, fun facts, ingredients, nutritional information, and recipes!  Really cool, huh?

When Tim and I were driving home home from the festival, we couldn’t decide which of these three we liked best.  I think my favorite were the oatcakes – but they really were all so good.  Since I enjoyed the oatcakes so much and also have been really into making anything with apples lately (see Apple Topped Pork Chops and German Apple Cake) I decided to try out one of the recipes listed on Effie’s recipe page.

A couple fun facts:  While I was reading through the recipe link, I learned that the cakes can be substituted in any recipe that calls for graham cracker crusts or crumb toppings.  Most of the recipes they post also come with an instructional video!

Anyways, I decided to go with the oatcake topped apple crisp.

Individual Apple Crisps with Oatcake Topping

Ingredients

  • 4- 8 oz. ramekins
  • 1 t. butter
  • 5 crisp tart apples
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. corn starch
  • ½ pkg. Effie’s Oatcakes
  • 2 T. melted butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the ramekins and set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Toss the apples to macerate then add the cornstarch and toss to coat. Taste the filling. Add more sugar or lemon juice to taste. Set aside.
  4. In the meantime place the Oatcakes in the bowl of a food processor or Cuisinart and pulse to a coarse crumb. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the melted butter forming a moist meal.
  5. Pour the apple filling evenly into the 4 buttered gratin dishes and top with the Oatcake topping.
  6. Transfer the ramekins to a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover the gratin dishes with aluminum foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes or until there are syrup-y bubbles oozing to the top.
  7. Cool and serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.


Interested in giving Effie’s Homemade a try?  Well, one of you will be in luck because they have kindly offered to give away a free Effie’s gift box to one random commenter on this post.  The gift box will include one package each of the oatcakes, nutcakes, and corncakes.

These gift boxes are perfect with the holidays right around the corner, don’t you think!?

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you think you’d like to try the most and why!  You get a double entry if you share the link to this giveaway on Facebook (but you need to leave me a second comment on this post telling me you did so). 

I will announce the winner on Wednesday.

Good luck!

Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese, Sage, and Toasted Pecans

Morning!

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far.

Before I head out for a family filled Saturday, I’d like to share yesterday’s meals with you guys.

Breakfast

I tried to get fancy with my pumpkin oatmeal.  Instead of using instant, I used real oats and cooked on the stove with skim milk, one sliced up banana, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.  And pumpkin of course.  But I accidentally put way too much nutmeg in and it really ruined it for me.  It was just too much flavor.  Next time I’ll stick with the one I made last time.  Or just use the nutmeg sparingly.  Either way.

Lunch

…was for two!  Tim and I were both able to work from home on the same day, which hasn’t happened in quite some time.  I whipped up another batch of the chicken salad I posted about yesterday.  This time I added in the apple slices since I forgot about them last night.  We had it with the Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup (served with Kashi TLC 7 grain crackers) that I bought on Monday during my grocery run.  This was a very filling lunch.

Dinner

Remember a couple weekends ago when Tim & I went to the Boston Local Food Festival?  Well, while we were there we watched a butchering demonstration (presented by Michael Ehlenfeldt of Stone Hearth Pizza Co) and learned how to cut up a whole chicken.  Tim has been talking about this nonstop ever since, so we decided last night would be the night he attempted to cut one up himself.

Success!

After he cut it up, he put the chicken in a bowl with lemon juice, pepper, sage, and cilantro.  We let this sit for about 20 minutes and then tossed it on the grill.

What’s nice about buying a whole chicken is that for $15, we got:

  • 2 chicken thighs — grilled + eaten last night
  • 2 chicken breasts — grilled last night + saved for leftovers
  • 2 chicken wings — frozen last night for a future meal
  • Chicken soup from the rest of the meat — made with broth last night while the thighs were grilling, will refrigerate and add veggies for a meal next week

Pretty good, huh?  I think 4 meals + 2 wings + multiple soup servings = pretty damn good for $15.

For a side, we wanted to try another butternut squash recipe since we loved the one we made a couple weeks ago so much.  This particular recipe was for butternut squash with goat cheese, sage, and toasted pecans.  I found it in Self Magazine as part of their Eat Like Me blog.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goats cheese
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped –> We left this out too, since it was just going to be for garnish
  • 2 tsp. orange zest –> We didn’t have this, so we left it out

Directions

For the toasted pecans:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  2. Spread pecan halves into a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until fragrant
  3. Remove from heat/oven.  Let cool.  Roughly chop.  Set aside.

For the squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile peel the skin off the squash and cut in half long ways.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Cut ends off squash and then chop into equal size pieces (about 1 in. cubes).
  3. Transfer squash cubes into a large bowl and toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray, spread squash into a single layer onto the tray.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chopped sage evenly over the squash.
  5. Roast squash in the oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes is up, take the squash out of the oven and flip over.  Turn oven up to 350 degrees.  Return squash to oven and continue roasting for another 20-30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.
  6. Meanwhile, pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Then turn down heat and let simmer until it thickens and reduces by half.  Then add 1 tbsp brown sugar and stir until it dissolves.  Continue to simmer until it becomes like syrup.
  7. After removing squash from the oven, put onto serving dish and sprinkle with the goat cheese, chopped toasted pecans, and orange zest.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction (you will not use all of it).  Garnish with basil.

A couple lessons learned:

  • I hate peeling the butternut squash.  It takes forever, I find it really difficult for some reason, and I get cranky while doing it.  Next time I’ll buy it pre-peeled I think.
  • Start the balsamic reduction earlier than you think you need to!  We ended up waiting forever for it to be ready, and it still wasn’t fully ready when we served it.  I think if I were to do this again, I’d save the time and just drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the squash instead.
  • The pecans definitely add a nice crunch to the side dish, but next time I will chop them up for even smaller pieces as part of the mix.  I thought the pecan halves were just a little too big.  If you aren’t a big nut fan, these could definitely be omitted altogether.
  • Goat cheese + perfectly timed butternut squash = to die for!

If you are looking for a fall plate full of flavor, this is your answer.  We will definitely be making this one again.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite way to cook butternut squash?

I’m off to my little cousin’s baseball game, my aunt’s birthday get together, and then Tim’s sister’s graduation dinner.  Told you I had a family packed day!