Squats, squats & more squats. Oh, and Shrimp Scampi

Good morning!

Yesterday was a physically tiring day for me yesterday. Between all those wall ball shots at CrossFit and all the squats I did at physical therapy, I was wiped out! I’m pretty sure I did more than 300 squats yesterday.

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Physical therapy has been going pretty well. I’ve been working hard and I’m hoping to be back out on the road soon. I think I might actually try running today! Woot! *fingers crossed* I feel like I’m ready to try it but I’m also a little nervous. The last thing I want to do is try it and not be ready so, of course, I’m going to defer to Ken (my PT). I’ll let you know what happens!

I’m meeting some friends after work for dinner so I decided to go to CrossFit this morning instead of riding my spin bike and hitting CrossFit tomorrow. I’m not sure what time I’ll get home and, since I turn into a pumpkin at 8:30 on most nights, I didn’t want to try and get up at 3:30 tomorrow morning and make it to the box. I need my beauty sleep! ūüôā

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CrossFit this morning was …. MORE SQUATS! And, some other stuff. No, I didn’t run the warm-up – I rowed 1600m instead. I really gotta get one of those!

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I was pretty stoked with my work this morning! I only scaled the C2B (chest to bar, aka pull-ups and scaled means I used bands) – the rest I did Rx. That means I did 30 shoulder-to-overhead (S2O) with 65#!! That’s a PR for me! I broke them up into 6 sets of 5 to get them done. It took me a little extra time but made them more manageable. I was working really hard to lock my arms out on reps 4 and 5. But, I got them done! Finished the whole thing in 13:19. Yes! ūüôā

I was a hot mess when I finished, though.

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Dinner!

I love shrimp scampi. I love Italian food. Hell, I just love food in general! Except for Brussels sprouts. I’m not even in like with those.

Anyway, scampi is more a style of cooking and if you order it in a restaurant, that style is “drowned in butter.” Delicious? Oh, definitely! Healthy? Um, not so much. So, when I came across this light version of scampi, I knew I had to make it!

Using heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter, this dish is one of my new favorites. Seasoned with garlic and crushed red pepper, this dish is so good you’ll never even notice the butter and excess fat are gone – but your waistline will! Win! And, per serving, making this at home will save you money, too. Double win! Win win! Om nom nom!

What’s your favorite Italian dish on the menu?
As a runner, I’m pretty partial to plain old spaghetti with marinara sauce.

What’s your “go-to” Italian dish that you make at home?

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Shrimp Scampi

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and black pepper to taste
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
Zest and juice from one lemon

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is light brown, about 30 seconds. (Careful! Garlic burns and turns bitter easily.) Add the onion and continue cooking until it is translucent.

2. Season the shrimp with a pinch of salt and add to the pan. Cook, stirring occassionally, until the shrimp are pink and lightly caramelized. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve as is or on top of a small portion of buttered linguine, quinoa, or couscous.

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Per serving (nutrition content does not include pasta, quinoa, or couscous):
Calories 170; Fat 6g (saturated 1g); Sodium 470mg

Recipe from Cook This, Not That!

– jennifer

Easy Calzones

Just over a week until the Salt Lake City marathon and I can tell I’m in taper mode (if you don’t count tough CrossFit workouts) because getting up super early to go run is difficult. I’d much rather hit snooze and stay in bed. But, I know that even though my mileage is decreasing, I’m not at the “don’t run” stage yet. So, I rolled out of bed, nearly tripped over a dog, and got my gear on. *yawn* We’re supposed to get rain and thunderstorms today and I’m glad they held off but boy, was it MUGGY! I was sweating before I hit the door. Blech.

Discovered that I forgot to charge my Garmin up – oops! – so I ran watch-free this morning. Best thing for me, I think. Do you run watch-free sometimes or do you always have it on? Watch-free running can be very liberating. You’re not focused on holding a specific pace and you don’t have the constant mileage reminders which can sometimes make you think of how far you have to go rather than how far you’ve actually gone. Isn’t that odd how the watch can do that? So, I ran by feel this morning. I knew roughly how much time I had and I knew which routes I normally run would bring me back home in time to get ready for work. I needed it and I enjoyed it. Well, except for when 2 neighborhood cats decided to dart right in front of me, barreling out of the darkness through some bushes and trees in some random game of tag. Yeah. I screeched.

The next time you head out the door for a run, consider leaving your watch at home. Enjoy the freedom. Watch out for maniacal cats.

Speaking of cats, I was prepping tonight’s dinner in the crockpot – I just threw some stuff in there; we’ll see how it turns out! – and I realized I was being watched. My little supervisor. She loves watching me cook. And clean, actually. She’s odd. Think she’d wear a little chef hat?

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Warning! This following meal is amazingly delicious! You may be tempted to make this again….and again….and again. ūüôā

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Easy Calzones
Serves 4

3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups pizza sauce, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated French bread loaf
4 (1-ounce) mozzarella cheese slices (I used shredded mozzarella)
Non-stick cooking spray
Grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until beef is no longer pink.  Drain and return to skillet. Stir in 1 cup of the pizza sauce and the Italian seasoning.

2.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Unroll the French bread loaf onto a lightly floured surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 16-inch square. (Please note that this dough needs to be cold to do this.)

4.  Cut into 4 squares. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased baking sheet.

5.  Spoon ground beef mixture evenly into center of each square. Top each square with mozzarella cheese.  Fold dough over mixture to form a triangle, pressing edges to seal.  Coat triangles with cooking spray and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned.  Serve with remaining warmed pizza sauce as topping or for dipping and a tossed salad.

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Recipe from MomsWhoThink.com

Note: I don’t normally use the Pillsbury products because of the trans fats. Next time, I will make my own dough. Also, the dough must be cold to unroll and roll into a square. Don’t think you’re going to get away with stopping at the store on the way home on an 85 degree day and have that stupid French loaf unroll like a champ as soon as you get home and start making dinner. Oh no. That’s not going to happen. If that’s your plan, I advise you to go with pizza dough. THAT stuff is actually meant to be unrolled. Consider yourself warned.

Protein Power Baked Ziti!

So, I had a 20-miler today. ¬†While all my friends running the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in 2 weeks are on their taper, I’m still in training for the 50k in December and I had a good, long run to do today. ¬†I knew the training plan was meant to be when I discovered there was a 26-miler schedule for the weekend of the MCM. ¬†So, yes, I’m running the MCM in 2 weeks – YAY! ¬†I’ve been pretty busy training and trying to avoid all the early fall sickness that seems to be making its way through my building at work. ¬†It was a good run this morning and my appetite has been through the roof all day long. ¬†Seriously, you should have seen the breakfast I ate! ¬†And, you should have seen the server’s face as I continued to order when she thought I was finished. ¬†Ha!

Anyway, as you know, I bought a couple new cookbooks a couple of weeks ago and I’ve only had the time to make one recipe out of the crockpot cookbook. ¬†Tonight, however – and, honestly, tomorrow night too so get ready! – I planned on a recipe out of the other one. ¬†Have you heard of the Eat This, Not That books? ¬†I LOVE them! ¬†They are chock full of great information on how to make excellent choices at the grocery store or even the restaurant. ¬†Seriously, I have learned more about food and how to read and decode labels. ¬†If you haven’t yet, you should definitely check them out. ¬†They’re inexpensive and they’ll really change the way you think about your pantry/freezer/refrigerator. ¬†Anyway, this cookbook is by the same guy who does those books – Dave Zinczenko. ¬†Yeah, that’s his name. ¬†Try saying it 3 times fast. ¬†Ha! ¬†I’m still trying to say it just one time. ¬†He’s the editorial director of both Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines. ¬†The cookbook is The New Abs Diet Cookbook. ¬†There’s a TON of fabulous information in this book about foods and how they benefit you and how you can eat the things you love – changed up a little bit – and be doing good things for your body. ¬†Me? ¬†I’m in it for the recipes, which are all AMAZING looking. ¬†So, first up? ¬†Protein Power Baked Ziti. ¬†Yes, the recipes have ridiculous and silly names. ¬†Who cares? ¬†It’s about the food, not the title, and this dish is designed to (in his words) “turn a carb bomb into a muscle-building feast that keeps blood sugar balanced.” ¬†Sounds great, doesn’t it? ¬†I mean, who doesn’t love lasagna or baked ziti or all things pasta-y, saucy, and cheesy?! ¬†Well, as you know, most of those dishes seriously are carb bombs (yes, I know I’m a runner and carbs are my friend but I have a husband and teenagers that aren’t and I want to do good things for them) and can also be loaded in fat because of an excess of cheese. ¬†So, I saw this and I knew right away I had to try it. ¬†The addition of lean chicken breast adds delicious protein and using a moderate amount of cheese allows for terrific cheesiness without being overly greasy. ¬†And seriously, this is awesome. ¬†My one complaint? ¬†The recipe says this dish serves 4. ¬†Now, I don’t know who they think I’m going to be feeding but we have leftovers. ¬†4 people…really? ¬†I don’t think so. ¬†ūüôā ¬†So, yummy baked pasta, chicken, and cheese. ¬†Mmmmm……..

Oh wait! ¬†There’s dessert, too! ¬†(clue crazy Kermie dance!) ¬†Ginger-Chocolate Pumpkin Custards. ¬†O.M.G. ¬†(psst….click here to get to that recipe!)

Protein Power Baked Ziti

1/2 pound whole wheat ziti

1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 can (28 ounce) tomatoes in a thick puree

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

1. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook the ziti according to package directions. Place in a large bowl.

3. Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the chicken, and cook for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Place the cooked chicken in a bowl.

4. Spray the skillet again and cook the onion and sun-dried tomatoes for 5 minutes until soft. During the last minute, add in the garlic. Add the vinegar and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to loosen any bits that may be sticking to the pan. Stir in the canned tomatoes (including puree), Italian seasoning, and chicken. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add to the bowl with the ziti and toss.

5.  Place half of the ziti mixture in the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup cheese. Add the remaining ziti, top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 370 calories, 30g protein, 52g carbohydrates, 6g fat (3g saturated), 541mg sodium, 7g fiber