Meatless Monday – Vegan Taco Soup

Are you stuck in a meal planning rut and looking for a new recipe? I’ve got your back with this healthy, vegetable-packed taco/tortilla soup that – BONUS – is meat free and completely vegan. There’s actually a second bonus – it is SO easy to throw together and practically cooks itself! This is a crockpot recipe that is sure to become one of your go-tos.IMG_4911
Serves 6-8
Ingredients
(1) 28oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
(1) 32oz carton no salt added vegetable broth
1 cup fresh salsa or pico de gallo
1 white onion, diced
2 bell peppers (any color, though I usually go for yellow and green)
3 cans beans, rinsed and drained (I use a can of pinto beans, a can of black beans, and a can of great northern beans)
1 bag frozen corn
1-2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
2-3 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like your food
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
Are you ready for this? Combine all ingredients in your crockpot. I have a 6 quart crockpot and this recipe fits perfectly. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. That’s it! Serve with 6-8 tortilla chips (this is my favorite brand) either on the side or crumbled on top – your choice. If you aren’t vegan, you could consider topping your soup with plain greek yogurt (a healthier alternative to sour cream) and 1-2 tbsp of shredded cheddar cheese. If you are vegan, there are plenty of non-dairy yogurts and “cheeses” that you can try – but the soup is delicious as-is!

Portion Fix equivalents (soup only): 1.5 Red*, 1 Yellow, 1.5 Green
*The More You Know: Beans are “typically” considered a Yellow (carb) when following the Portion Fix – but for those following the vegetarian/vegan meal plan, beans are considered a Red (protein)! Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein and make an excellent meat substitution. I suggest trying black bean tacos the next time you’re considering using ground beef!

Tasty Thursday – Portion Fix Bean Dip

When following programs like 21 Day Fix, Hammer & Chisel, and Shift Shop, carbs – the yellow container, for all of my fellow portion fix lovers – are in relative short supply. For my weight and goals, I would usually have 3-4 yellow containers (servings) to eat per day. During Body Beast, we are eating more carbs to facilitate muscle growth – nine servings per day for my calorie bracket!

Brainstorming ideas for how to eat 9 yellow containers of carbs per day left me feeling a little lost. When I eat processed carbs like bread, pasta, or tortillas in excess, I get bloated very quickly. I get bored eating oatmeal. I dislike rice. I can only drink so much nut milk per day! Then, I watched my husband open up a container of hummus…and the lightbulb went off.

Now, I know what you’re about to say. “But Jennie, hummus is a blue container food!” And yes, you would be correct. However, hummus is a blue container food because traditionally it is made with tahini – sesame seed butter – and lots of oil to create a creamy, shelf-stable product. The good news is that you can easily create a bean dip that tastes just like your favorite hummus, as long as you have a can opener, a blender/food processor, and some creativity!

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21 Day Fix Approved Bean Dip (Hummus)
Ingredients
1 (15oz) can garbanzo/chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained (this is optional! You can use any kind of canned beans you want – black beans, white beans, pink beans, pinto beans, kidney beans would all work. You could also just use 2 cans of chickpeas if you prefer the taste)
1 tsp garlic (I always have a container of chopped garlic in my fridge, but you can use 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder instead)
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1-2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (this is optional, but if you like spicy food I recommend it)
1/2 – 1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup water, divided in half
1-2 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil – this is optional)

Directions
Quick Note: due to the volume of the beans, you may need to prepare this recipe in two batches. I used a Ninja blender with the food processor attachment and needed to split the beans in half to process them properly. If you have a big food processor, you may only need to do one batch.
1. Place half of the garbanzo beans and half of the black beans into the bowl of your food processor along with the spices listed above. This is a great time to experiment with different flavors/different proportions of spices – or you can measure the spices out exactly to create 2 batches of identical hummus.
2. If you’re curious, I used the “Mix Dough” setting on my Ninja blender to process the beans. After the first cycle, the beans on the bottom of my bowl were well blended but there were still whole beans at the top.
3.  If you have a yellow container, it’s a handy 1/4 cup measurement. Fill the yellow container with water and add half to the food processor to start (you can always add more later). The water will help mix everything together and move the beans at the top down towards the blades. If your bean dip is still not 100% smooth, you can either decide to keep it a little chunky (not going to lie, I like it that way!) or add the rest of the water in the yellow container to smooth it out. You should only need 1/4 cup of water per batch, but use your judgment if you have to.
4. Optional: add 1-2 tsp of avocado oil and pulse a few times to blend. Avocado oil is a healthy fat. Do not be scared of eating healthy fats – your body needs them, and they actually help promote healthy skin, hair and nails! Plus, each batch of hummus makes 4-5 servings. 1-2 tsp divided among 4-5 servings is not enough to worry about.
5. Transfer your bean dip into a separate container.
6. If you needed to make this hummus in 2 batches, now is the time to repeat steps 1-5!

Now that you’re hummus is ready to eat, measure out a serving. If you’re following a Beachbody program that uses the 21 Day Fix/Portion Fix containers, 1 yellow container = 1 serving of hummus. If you don’t have the Portion Fix containers (but want some!) click here or reach out to me. In a pinch, you can measure out 1/4 cup as a serving.

BONUS: If you are following a vegetarian/vegan meal plan, 1 serving of this hummus would actually count as 1 red container (protein), NOT a yellow!

My favorite way to eat this dip is with baby carrots and cut up bell peppers. I even dip cherry tomatoes into it! It’s an easy way to add some more veggies (green containers) to you diet, and the crunch helps you forget all about chips and pretzels.

 

Let’s Catch Up!

letscatchupIt’s been a busy few months! Not only have I started a new job, moved 1,100 miles, sold AND purchased homes since May, but I’m in the middle of a brand new fitness program! When I last posted about my fitness journey, I was following ChaLEAN Extreme’s Burn Phase calendar. I really loved ChaLEAN Extreme and will probably return to that program at some point in my journey. However, I decided that I needed a bigger challenge to help me burn off the stress in my life. When my coach expressed interest in trying Sagi Kalev’s Body Beast during her next challenge group, I figured – why not?!

We are now in the sixth week of Body Beast and I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past five weeks. First, I’m much stronger than I thought. I remember when I thought 8lb weights were heavy – now I’m lifting 15-25lb dumbbells for arm exercises and 20-45lb dumbbells during leg day. Second, making the shift from a “lose weight” mentality to a “get stronger” mentality has been rough on my self esteem. I’ve been trying to get the number on the scale to drop for so long that seeing that number stall was upsetting at first – but I’ve been steadily losing inches and getting smaller, so I cannot complain! Third, finding a group of supportive teammates who are on this fitness journey has been key to my success and my happiness. There’s a sense of fulfillment that comes from cheering others on that is unbeatable, and having a support system to fall back on during rough times keeps me on track. It’s difficult to spiral out of control when you have a group of fellow challengers asking how your day is, or wondering what you thought of that day’s workout.

Now that we are in November, I thought I’d extend the invitation to join me in December! Whether you want to challenge yourself and try a heavy-lifting program like Body Beast, start with a tried-and-true program like 21 Day Fix, or just have someone in your corner to keep you accountable, I am here to help you on your journey! I know how difficult it is to start, especially when you are doing it on your own. I’ve seen unparalleled success (and sustainability) since joining a challenge group – so if you want to ask me any questions or talk to me about your options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m looking to make Finish Strong December a great month and I hope that you’re in this with me!

Your Fitmiss in Progress,
Jennie

Monday Motivation

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I woke up today with zero desire to exercise. I hadn’t slept well, it was 5:45AM, and I just wanted to go back to sleep. Part of me said – “Go back to sleep. You can do this after work.” But the honest part of me knew that wouldn’t happen, and if I procrastinated further I wouldn’t exercise at all.  I’m sure you’ve been there too.

Some of my tips for working out when you have zero motivation:

  1. Sleep in your workout clothes. I’m serious! I work out in leggings and sports bras/tank tops. I sleep in leggings and sports bras/tank tops. I started going to sleep in my workout gear, and when I woke up I was able to roll right out of bed and get going without having to struggle with changing/finding my gear/etc.
  2. Stop snoozing. If you hit that snooze button, you will go back to sleep. Just don’t do it. It’s that easy! When the alarm goes off, get out of bed. I will either put my phone/alarm on the opposite side of the room or just outside my room – somewhere where I can still hear the alarm, but I need to get out of bed in order to turn it off. I also use the most annoying alarm possible so I can’t just put a pillow over my head and ignore it 🙂
  3. Remember your goals. Will your fitness and health progress if you don’t work out today? Think about this: if you avoid working out today, it will be easier to avoid working out tomorrow. Those excuses will pile up and soon you will be back where you started.
  4. A bad workout is still better than no workout at all. Even a half-hearted routine provides more benefits (burning calories, improving cardiovascular fitness, increasing your strength) than staying in bed.

I hope that these tips help! Let me know what tricks you use to push yourself when you need that extra “kick.” I’d love to hear from you!

xo – Fitmiss in Progress – Jennie

Five Friday Favorites #1

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be writing about my top five favorites from this past week. Let me know in the comments below what your favorites were! I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Favorite meal – Skinnytaste’s Asian Beef Zoodle Soup! I’ve made this multiple ways – with and without ginger; with ‘real’ beef and with Gardein beefless tips; with noodles and with zoodles. I actually do prefer this with zucchini noodles instead of regular noodles! I always use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
  2. Favorite workout – ChaLEAN Extreme Get Lean Intervals. This was a fantastic 43 minute workout. I burned 400 calories , and my average heart rate was 142 BPM. That means this routine was just like a high intensity spin class! Do you want to learn more about this program? You can contact me anytime at fitmissjennie@gmail.com or purchase a Challenge Pack here to become a part of my June Challenge Group! We’re going to have a ton of fun (and make a lot of fitness progress while doing it).
  3. Favorite shake – Definitely this morning’s recipe. This was my first time trying Café Latte Shakeology and it was incredible. I blended it up with 8oz unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, 4 drops caramel flavored Stevia, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup butternut squash, 1 cup (green container) spinach, and ice. It was so good – it tasted just like a caramel mocha Frappuccino!
  4. Favorite blog post – I’m reading Fran’s post about packing for Ireland and reminiscing about our time there – we spent a week in Dublin in 2015. This post is also making me want a red raincoat…may need to go shopping this weekend…
  5. Favorite clothing item – Nickel & Suede’s Gunmetal Glam Leather Earrings! So pretty, and they are practically weightless. I also have fairly sensitive ears, and these do not bother me at all (no nickel in them, despite the brand’s name).

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday!

xo – Fitmiss in Progress – Jennie

Meal Plan Monday #1

Another week, another meal plan! This time, I’m sharing my plan with all of you.

As part of my May Challenge Group, I am following the 21 Day Fix food portion guide. If you want to learn more about this program, contact me here or via my coach website. At my current weight (171lb), I am in the 1500-1799 bracket. That corresponds to the following number of containers: 4 green, 4 red, 3 purple, 3 yellow, 1 blue, 1 orange, 4 tsp.

I know some people are super strict on this meal plan. I do allow treat modifications sometimes (you will see that on the days I swap 1 yellow for wine). I will also sometimes swap 1-2 yellows for a “super treat” (my husband likes to get doughnuts on Sundays). Often, I go over the number of allotted green containers because I put veggies in my shakes – I don’t stress about that at all. The hardest part for me is consuming enough protein – if I don’t make the conscious effort to have a protein as part of a snack, I will be short.

meal plan week 1

On Wednesday, I will share some of this week’s recipes.

Let me know in the comments what you are eating this week!

Have a beautiful Monday –
xo – Fitmiss in Progress – Jennie

 

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I will be taking some time to detail the workouts that I completed this week. Right now, I am aiming to complete the ChaLEAN Extreme 30 Day Burn Phase, so my strength training is focused on that program’s workouts. If you would like me to help you figure out what the best workout program would be for you, just let me know! May’s Challenge Group has already begun – but June is right around the corner. If you would like more information on how to join, please let me know either with a comment below or an email to fitmissjennie@gmail.com!  🙂

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Just a few screenshots from my Apple Watch this week!

Saturday
9:30AM – 35:58 min Burn Circuit 1 – I decided to try the first ChaLEAN Extreme workout before my official Challenge Start Date. I didn’t know what to expect – and this workout did not disappoint. Heavy weights + slow, controlled reps = serious burn! I made sure to write down the weights used, and especially admitted to myself when I could have used a heavier weight.
10:10AM- 32:38 min Indoor Cycle – 20 min Tabata Ride with Jessica King (from Monday 5/1/17 @ 2:30PM), plus extra time to get to 15 miles. Damn that woman makes me laugh. She’s so crazy, but in a fun way! 
Sunday
8:45AM – 45:07 min Indoor Cycle – 30 min HIIT Ride with Robin Arzon (from Wednesday 5/3/17 @ 1:30PM). Robin’s smile is infectious. I love her shorter rides. I finished this ride on my own with 15 minutes of speed work to get up to 20 miles. 
Monday
6:00AM – 38:20 min Burn Circuit 1. Monday was officially Day 1 of my second Challenge Group – and my first as a coach! I increased my weights per my “test workout” on Saturday. I need to work on slowing down my reps. 
Tuesday
6:00AM – 47:45 min Indoor Cycle. While Day 2 is a rest day on ChaLEAN Extreme, I love my Peloton classes. This one was a 45 minute Hip-Hop class with Ally Love (from Monday 5/8/17 @ 8:00AM). She is my favorite Peloton instructor, by far. She chooses the best music and her workouts always give me a high calorie burn. 20 miles complete!
Wednesday
6:00AM – 38:31 min Burn Circuit 2 – this one was harder, mentally, than Burn Circuit 1. Again, my primary goal moving forward will be slowing down my reps and avoiding swinging my weights to create momentum – that does not generate the resistance necessary to see Extreme results! 
Thursday
6:00AM – 46:54 min Burn Intervals. When Chalene said she was going to use 5lb weights, I laughed and thought…this is going to be too easy! Well, by the end of the workout I was sweating and wishing the weights were lighter. This is a great cardio-strength hybrid workout, and breaks the usual low rep pattern. 
Friday
6:00AM – 33:46 min Burn Circuit 3. I think this one was my least favorite of the Burn Circuits. I have to be super careful with lunges since I have a bad knee, so programs that are lunge-heavy tend to turn me off. I will say that I did a much better time slowing down and controlling my reps this time, so that’s a success!
6:00PM – 45:00 min Indoor Cycle

Highest calorie burn – Tuesday’s Peloton class with Ally Love (451 calories/103BPM)
Lowest calorie burn – Wednesday’s Burn Circuit 2 and Friday’s Burn Circuit 3 (both were 200 calories/~90BPM)
Favorite workout – Tuesday’s Peloton class with Ally Love 🙂
Least Favorite workout – Burn Circuit 2. I was tired and didn’t feel like workout out. I got through it, but not with perfect form.

Goals for Next Week
1. Take a rest day – a real rest day! I’ve been doing “something” every day, and I need to give my body a day to recover.
2. Work on slowing down my reps and controlling my form, especially with the heavy weight/low rep combination.
3. 3 indoor cycles – average 15 miles each.