No Boring Salads Here & Kid’s Deconstructed Salad

You might think this is boring, but I love salads in the summer.  Sure I am a Health Coach, and you would assume that I love all things healthy.  However, my family would tell you I have a deep love for Cool Ranch Doritos and Crunchy Cheetos.  In fact, a few days ago, Mary and I took a date day and went out to the lake to enjoy these treats on the dock.  It was a special moment for this mom!

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Back to the salads.  As soon as the warm weather arrives, I crave a fresh pile of greens and toppings.  Over the years, I have learned there are so many ways to spice up a simple salad and save a ton of time in the kitchen, leaving you more time to play outside with your family.  Even better, most of the simple ingredients you use, can be plated for kids (or salad hating adults) to enjoy as their meal.

Grab a few ingredients, and you can easily switch things up throughout the week for a different dinner every night.  You can also throw leftovers together for lunch the next day.

It’s all about the base.  These days, there are so many types of pre-washed greens.  You can buy these by the bag or container.  You can also buy salad kits.  I discovered last year that my 2 year old loved Caesar Salad kits and now she loves the kale and Brussels sprout with poppyseed dressing.  The cool thing about kits is that you can use the fixings, or skip their dressing and add your own favorites.  I personally love the kale kit, but usually just use the greens and then make my own creation.

Veggies are great, but think beyond the produce section.  Sure, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, and carrots are great.  But don’t forget about canned and frozen veggies.  Canned black beans, corn, and chickpeas can easily be rinsed and thrown into the mix.  They are also budget friendly!

Frozen veggies are picked at their ripest and flash frozen.  You can often find them in steam packets that go directly into the microwave.  Warm them up and then pop some onto your plate.

It’s okay to add a touch of carbs to the mix.  One of my favorite meals is the Caesar salad from a place called The Noodle.  As you might guess, they are known for their homemade fresh pasta and even the salad comes topped with noodles.  It is a delicious addition.

Orzo is easy to make and let cool off in a colander.  Rice packets are another great addition.  Toast some day old bread and break into croutons.  

You can always add dairy.  Add this for some extra flavor and protein.  There are so many delicious options from shredded cheddar and parmesan, to bleu cheese, feta, and crumbled goat cheese.

Maybe you protein.  Maybe you don’t.  I do love meat, but I have been making a conscious effort to eat more plant based meals.  By adding a bunch of other flavors and textures to my plate, I don’t always need meat.  But when I do, I sometimes think beyond the traditional chicken, steak, or salmon.  You can find tuna packets, which are a lower calorie protein with high Omega 3 healthy fats.

Morning Star farms offers traditional black bean and Mediterranean chickpea burgers.  I also really like their veggie “chicken” patties.  Boca Burgers have a surprisingly great texture and taste pretty darn similar to a regular burger.

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Meat free “chicken” patties with BBQ and ranch.  So good!

 

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The girls had a taco.

Deconstruct your salad and please even the pickiest eaters.  Before I go further, I urge you not to underestimate your kids.  I never thought my oldest would love Caesar salads at 2 years old.  I didn’t know my one year old would beg for bites of cabbage.  Try adding a small salad to a plate.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Don’t refer to it as “healthy.”  Just make it part of the meal.  If they decide they don’t like it, no big deal.

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Whatever “tools” you use to build your salad, plate them out on your kids’ dishes.  For example, if you decide to make a Mexican salad, add cheese, beans, meat, and peppers to your little ones’ plates.  Add some dip or salsa and a tortilla.  Let them roll theirs into a taco or burrito.

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I can’t pass on some Annie’s mac and cheese shells!

What I love about this approach is that you are never eating a salad while the rest of your family eats something different.  This isn’t about healthy vs. unhealthy or one person eating healthy while others are eating a different dinner.  You are eating together as a family.  When you put together ingredients for the week, you can easily whip up a meal in minutes for everyone.

What is your favorite way to eat a salad?

30 Weeks- Do You Want Worms With That

Happy Tuesday!  I meant to do a post for Monday but we had company Sunday night and we went to bed way past our bedtime.  It was a great excuse not to blog.

Saturday marked 30 weeks in my pregnancy and the end of another pretty good week.  I ran 42 miles last week and felt really great with my running.  It takes me a little longer to run these days and I have to take frequent bathroom breaks, so on days that I am feeling really good, I just break my run into two parts.  For example, last Tuesday I did a 6 miler in the morning and finished the day with a nice easy 5 mile run.

My stomach seems to be growing by the day which hasn’t made running too difficult yet, but it did throw me off a bit the other day when I tried to swim in the deep end of a pool.  Everything seems to have shifted a little bit!

Our treadmill is temporarily out of commission (a belt broke) so I am doing a few runs outside.  This isn’t my preferred mode of running these days, due to bathroom locations, but I leave myself the option of doing two shorter runs.

I’m still working several days during the week and that is going well.  But when I work a full shift, I am exhausted by the time I get home.  I plan to work through the month of August and actually will be picking up some extra hours at the end of the month to help out some co-workers.  However, after that I plan to really scale things back.  You just never know how those last few weeks will go.

On Saturday we drove to Traverse City for Mary’s swim lessons at the Y.  It worked out perfectly for me to get a few hours in with clients while Mary and Rock went for a swim and then a run together.  We then drove back home and loaded up the car and headed to our cottage at the lake for a week.

Rock asked me to stop on the way and grab some worms, because Mary is in love with fishing off of the dock.  When I stopped in the small party store, I decided to grab some butter for the next morning.  There is a tiny diner down the road from our cottage and they make the best pancakes.  I had big plans for take out the next morning.

When I went to pay at the counter, I set the worms and butter down and the girl who rang me up asked, “Is that your weird craving?  Worms and butter?”  I had to laugh.  Some people say the strangest things to you when you are pregnant (such as the woman at TJ’s who proclaimed I was definitely having a boy last time), or just help themselves to a belly rub (not cool).  I appreciated her sense of humor and it made me smile all day.

While summer weather has been a bit odd here in Northern Michigan (lots of rainy days and cooler weather) we had a splendid weekend.  I sat out on the dock and worked on training plans for clients Saturday evening.

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Sunday was bright and sunny and after a giant serving of homemade cinnamon bread and pancakes from Shirley’s, I got a slow 6 mile run in the sun.  It felt great and I now consider any run without the need for a potty break to be a major success!

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Not super pretty, but I had to cut them up for full syrup coverage!

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I admit that this is also how I wrapped up my run.

Afterward we had some friends out to play and grill.  It was a perfect day/evening and we went to bed way too late.  Isn’t that what summer is all about?!

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How was your weekend?  What are your standards for a “successful run?”

29 Weeks Pregnant, Awesome Running, & An Identity Crisis

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great week and weekend.  We had less than stellar weather around here, but we made the best of it.  Summer has been flying by with lots of work and tons of family activities.  I honestly hate to see it going by so quickly, but we are certainly trying to enjoy every moment.

This weekend marked 29 weeks in my pregnancy.  I’m feeling pretty great for the most part.  I had a fantastic week of running and logged 42 miles.  I was pretty excited about that.  The only bummer is that I have moved most of my runs to the treadmill at this point because of my frequent need to make a run to the bathroom.  Fortunately, we have a treadmill at home and I am able to run at the gym at work during my breaks.  Despite my growing belly, I am still feeling pretty good at this point.

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Now that we are into the third trimester I am definitely starting to notice some changes.  I am getting tired more often and try to grab a nap whenever I get a chance.  My belly is certainly getting bigger and my running is starting to slow just a little bit.

However, on Friday morning when I left to go run some errands I was hit with a major hungry belly.  This hasn’t really happened to me and I haven’t had any cravings at all during this pregnancy.  I was going to be on the road for a bit and my urgency for food took me through the Burger King drive-thru.  I never eat fast food.  To top it off, as soon as I got my bag of food, I drove off and later realized I left without my change.  I was that hungry.  My breakfast sandwich was delicious but I did wonder what was happening to me with my bizarre urgency for fast food!

Beyond that, I do have to say that pregnancy brain is a real thing.  I am a list maker.  I live by lists and sticky notes.  But now, more than ever, I rely on these lists to keep my life in order. I can’t recall a darn thing I say I will do or have planned.  Last week at work I was making an appointment for a client and quoted them a time that I thought they gave me.  The client laughed and said we hadn’t yet discussed a time but the one I gave them would work.  I felt a bit foolish but she said she was an OB and knew what was going on.

When I got home from work that night I pulled in and thought I closed the garage door.  Later in the evening when Rock went to take the dog out, he asked why both garage doors were open.  Apparently I opened the other door instead of closing the one I parked at.  Doh!

Besides work and running, we have been spending a lot of time as a family doing fun activities.  We hit up a great charity event last week and I scored some awesome silent auction items.  I had a brilliant idea to put Rock’s name on the items I bid on so that he would have to pay for them.  But he had to run an errand when they announced the winner and I was left forking over the cash.  He made a point to snap a pic of me with one of my winnings.

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We also got to spend an evening with my family out on Torch Lake.  If you have never heard of this lake, I encourage you to Google it.  Torch Lake is huge and has a beautiful sandbar right in the middle where you can park your boat and play.  The water is crystal clear with colors reminiscent of the Caribbean.  You can rent a SUP on the sandbar, even get a burger from a boat that grills right there, or call and have a pizza delivered from nearby.  It’s a boater’s/pregnant woman’s paradise.

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Life may be slowing down but work is getting busier and busier these days.  The gym is keeping me plenty occupied and I am having such a fun summer with so many runners preparing for races this fall.  I almost wish it could be summer year round!

It rained a lot this weekend, but we took advantage of the indoor time and got a bunch of cleaning and errands taken care of.  After naps yesterday we pulled out the finger paints and Mary went to town.  It was a huge mess and we enjoyed every moment of it.

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How has your summer been going?  Are you as big a fan as I am?

Summer Weekends Are Meant To Be On The Go

Happy Monday!  I hope you had as active and wonderful a weekend as we did.

Thursday morning we got up bright and early for our Sports Conditioning Camp.  We had a great group of kids who definitely kept us on our toes last week.  Immediately after class, we loaded up the car and headed south to Chicago for a wedding weekend.

We arrived in Chicago to hot and humid weather in the 90’s.  Michigan has been going through a cool spell, so I was loving the change.  As soon as we unloaded the car, we threw on swimsuits and headed to the beach to play with cousins.  Mary loves the beach and covering herself in sand!

Friday morning was a big day for me.  I did my first outdoor run in over month since I injured my back.  I managed to get in 7 miles with Rock pushing Mary in the stroller.  We had a really nice run together despite the super humid conditions.

We spent the rest of the day at the beach again and I got to have a fun afternoon with my sister-in-laws getting our nails done.  It was a great treat.  Who doesn’t love having nice nails for a fabulous wedding?!

Saturday morning was another outdoor run.  The weather was a little cooler and far less humid.  This helped make things much easier and we got eight miles in at a bit faster pace.  By the end, I told Rock that I felt like I was really “running.”  That is a great feeling at 25 weeks pregnant and post injury!

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We loaded up our bags and headed into the city to stay with more family.  The weather had warmed up by the afternoon and I was able to enjoy some sun and nice adult time while Mary took a nap.

After nap time it was a quick clean up and the adults headed out for Rock’s cousin’s wedding.  She got married at the Crystal Gardens Ballroom on Navy Pier.  It was my first time visiting Navy Pier, despite having lived in Chicago for a few years.  We definitely got to do it in style.

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Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures.  We were having too much fun and just enjoying being in the moment.  We did get one blurry and not so flattering selfie though.

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By 10:00pm I was adulted out and headed back home in an Uber.  It seems that I have a knack for being pregnant for all of the fun family weddings.  Someday I am going to be able to really party, or at least I would like to think so.

Sunday was another early up and out morning.  We loaded the car and headed back up to Michigan.  After a quick grocery run and a stop to pick up our dog, we headed out to the lake where we are going to spend the week.  Mary and our dog love the water.  The weather doesn’t look like it will be great but we are going to make the best of it and have one heck of a summer beach week!  I truly believe that summers are meant to be constantly on the go, or at least that is how ours seems to work.

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How was your weekend?  Is it rainy and cold where you are?