Fitness Friday- Family Time

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Happy Friday! I had an absolutely outstanding week, and as I write this Fitness Friday post, I am feeling so grateful and happy for everything that has happened in my life since last Fitness Friday. I had my mom and my two aunts come into town and hang out with me for a week and it was magical. Shopping and good food are my therapy and it was just what the doctor ordered. I haven’t seen my family since March, and I won’t see them again until September, so the short week we had was very special! 
Growing up, dinner and snacks at my house were nothing special- a whole lot of trail mix and peanut butter and Hamburger Helper. No pop, no sugar, fat free everything. Nothing had flavor or was really that enjoyable. Eat to live, don’t live to eat, right? Yuck! It was very hard for me to transition into adulthood and fend for myself and learn to cook after growing up on a combo of tasteless, fat free, preservative filled garbage and boxed dinners. Luckily, my mom and her sisters have been really into learning how to cook over the past year or so. I don’t know where it came from, but I wish my mom would have learned to cook 20 years ago like she can cook now! They really pampered me with a week full of meals I didn’t have to make that were delicious and nutritious.

Creep on me @justinalayne on instagram! That’s where I take lots of pictures of my daily life and you can double tap and tell me how tasty my lunch looks every day! Follow me, you know you wanna!

We snacked on pieces of bread that were warmed in the oven and dipped in a combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So flavorful and tasty. Although bread is obviously high in carbs, this is a satisfying snack that is inexpensive and requires very little effort. A couple small wedges of bread dipped in oil is enough to sustain you until dinner is served!

This was one of my favorite meals of the whole week! I’m going to share the recipes with you below! It’s for Green Chicken Masala and Curry Cashew Cauliflower Mash.

Green Chicken Masala  (not Marsala, it’s Masala…they’re different.)

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces;
1/2 cup coconut milk;
1 onion, finely chopped;
1/4 cup lemon juice;
1/4 cup water or chicken stock;
4 garlic cloves, minced;
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves;
1 cup fresh mint leaves;
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped coarsely;
1 1/2 tsp turmeric;
1/2 tsp cinnamon;
1/2 tsp ground cardamom;
1/8 tsp ground cloves;
3 tbsp coconut oil or clarified butter;
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add the onion with the cooking fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
Add the chicken thighs as well as the turmeric to the skillet and continue cooking, still while stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the lemon juice, water or stock, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and garlic in a blender or food processor and process to obtain a smooth puree.
After the chicken has cooked for about 7 minutes, add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
Pour in the coconut milk, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the herb puree. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked and tender.
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Curry Cashew Cauliflower Mash
1 head cauliflower
6 oz or 3/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C raw cashews
3 finger pinch curry powder
1 tsp salt
Boil cauliflower, coconut milk and cashews. Simmer 20 minutes. Mix in spices as you you mash the cauliflower. Puree in food processor until it’s a mashed potato like consistency. 
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Cooking with my family this week reminded me that it’s actually fun to be creative in the kitchen instead of following eMeals all the time. I haven’t used eMeals in a week since they were here and cooking, and look forward to starting it up again next week for dinners, but I’m going to start branching out on my own a bit for lunches from now on. There is so much good food to be eaten and creativity to be had! 
By the way, if you try either of the above recipes, the green chicken masala calls for a jalapeno pepper. A little tip- the seeds make the jalapeno really spicy. If you accidentally forget to take the seeds out, don’t fear! You may need to calm down your dish, but you can do so easily by adding a little greek yogurt and/or sugar. We had to do that and it helped significantly. It does change the texture of the mixture though so add little by little until you’ve tamed your spices to your liking. I read online you can add beer too to neutralize the spice! 
If you get jalapeno spice in your eye, you can get it out by splashing milk on your eye. We didn’t do that this week, but it was a previous kitchen accident for my mom! Try to avoid touching your face at all if you can. 
Coffee is also a must have and we drank a lot of it. I just love the wire basket the coffee came in at the cafe we went to. It was like a little coffee hamper. Black coffee, creamer, and sugar with napkins at the bottom. Since I’ve started my quest for clean eating, I’ve tried to avoid having a lot of extra crap, but I do like a little sugar in my coffee from time to time. I had a choice between splenda and raw sugar and of course I chose raw! I don’t know what chemicals are found in splenda but I don’t think they’re very good for me!
You can barely see it, but there’s lemon in my water also. They served us just barely colder than room temperature water that had a lemon floating in it. It was fantastic. I need to get a pitcher for the fridge and fill it with lemon and cucumber. It makes the water taste that much more refreshing in my opinion! And lots more special!
I have a more in depth review on this coming next week, but for now I wanted to mention my SPF that I’ve been turning to daily. Kate Somerville’s Daily Deflector Waterlight Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ has been finding its way onto my face, neck, and shoulders daily in this 80+ degree weather. You won’t catch me with a sunburn! My goal is to stay as close to my natural color as possible this summer and avoid getting any sunspots. Every summer I end up with pesky sunspots and I have a hard time getting them to fade. This summer I have a baby to take care of so it’s easy to remember to stay sun safe since I can’t be out in direct sunlight for too long with her anyway. I use this or another SPF I have on rotation on my face, and I use something cheaper on my body. 
This is a picture taken from our super long walk through Manito Gardens in Spokane. Look at the reflection of the bridge and the trees into the water! If you look at the rock on the left of the screen you can see a bunch of baby ducks! 
Another gorgeous picture. Isn’t this so beautiful? I want to make it into an art print for my wall. 
Here’s a picture of a Koi Fish underneath a waterfall. Seriously, so peaceful! This fish was enormous. I got really close…so close I thought I might drop my phone in the water!
This is one of my favorite pictures from the week. It’s as picture of Duncan Garden at Manito Park. I just think it’s so beautiful! Doesn’t it remind you of a garden you’d find in the Queen’s backyard? I’ve never been to London but I think if I had, I would see gardens like this one. The symmetry, the beauty in the landscaping, the gazebo…just beautiful. I think people get married here too, and I’m sure they walk all the way through the garden to the lovely gazebo at the end to say their I do’s.
We walked all throughout Manito Park and it was over 10,000 steps! For the first time since I started this fitness journey post-baby, I reached my walking goal! I did find it pretty humorous that on our huge shopping day, we actually walked over 13,000 steps. Shopping is quite a workout if you’re in my family! And for the record…during their stay here we went to every mall and entered every neat store, and went to every boutique there was in existence in the whole city. I’m kind of shopped out for awhile! Except for that’s not exactly true…I did a mini haul today since I was sad my family left. I set aside some cash knowing I’d need a little pick me up! But NOW…officially shopped out.
Another thing I wanted to share with all of you:
These Cafe Cups are amazing. Before you skim past this paragraph and think psssh I already have a K-cup reusable coffee thing and I don’t need this, hold on! You’re wrong! I found this product on the Target site so they must have them there, but I got mine at the kitchen store in the mall. For $10, you can get 4 of these reusable pods. They are similar to the one that you can buy that’s the Keurig brand, but not quite. 
With the ones Keurig sells, you have to take out the black insert and put the gray K-cup replacement filter that you’ve scooped coffee into into that hole. These don’t require any tampering! Simply fill it with coffee or tea, and put the lid back down (I much prefer the lid on these too) then put it directly into the Keurig. You don’t have to remember to take out the black insert! I always forget to put it back in afterwards and spray hot water everywhere the next time I use a K-cup. I can’t believe I never knew about these before my aunt told me, and it’s only $10! The Keurig brand one looks different, is more expensive, and inferior in my opinion. Just had to share a great find!
Another adventure I had this week was at Trader Joe’s. I had my first shopping trip there! It was amazing but I need something to post about next week so I think I’ll save it.
This week was phenomenal and I miss my family so much! They went home on a 7 am flight Thursday morning. I was having a really rough day when they left but recapping all my fun times with them in this post was really nice. I can’t wait to see everyone in September and I have lots of great pictures to enjoy and memories to think of until then. I have a lot of beauty stuff to review, articles to write, walks to take, memories to make, etc until September. I hope the time flies!
One of the best parts of their visit was how healthy and active I was the whole time. Walking and shopping was wonderful and was a big calorie burner. Eating fresh and delicious food was awesome too! When we went out for dinner, I made healthy choices for the most part too. It’s becoming more second nature each day. Unlike when most people come to visit, I think my weight stayed about the same from the time they came until the time they left. It’s hard not to gain when you have visitors!

Have a fabulous weekend, and see you Monday!
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  1. 6.14.13

    I have those k-cups and love them. I use loose tea in them. My dad bought them for me awhile back. I’m planning a trip to Trader Joes this weekend and I’m super excited!

    • 6.14.13

      They have so many healthy snacks! You should get the Meyer Lemon cookies for a treat. I also have their edamame in my fridge, and even Jocelyn can eat it. We’ve been buying the Annie’s Bunny Graham cookies too and I find that keeping them in the diaper bag (they’re too big yet for Jocelyn but not for me!) keeps me from buying something if I find myself hungry and not at home. I love tide me over snacks that are tasty and feel indulgent but are still pretty healthy.

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