Memorial Day Fly Over, then Meal Prep

Happy Memorial Day, all! We were fortunate enough today to experience a special fly over of an 18-plane formation of historic war planes over So Cal this afternoon. What an awesome experience, and a humbling reminder that this is a day to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and to honor the military that is out there today protecting our freedom, our democracy.

Weekly meal prep is back for me. At least for the moment. We are heading into a heat wave this week, so I stuck with an easy, no cook salad for lunches. I found this White Bean, Tuna & Roasted Pepper Salad in the June 2020 issue of Prevention Magazine. Unfortunately I could not access the link to the recipe online, but here is the list of ingredients, and what I used:

Serves 4

15 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed – I used garbanzo beans

1/4 small red onion chopped

6 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette *see below*

3 hearts of romaine torn into pieces (12 oz; about 6 cups) – I used 1 5 oz bag of romaine and mixed it with a bag of broccoli slaw

2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained, and cut into pieces

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used a little less, and chopped them up)

1/2 cup pitted mixed olives (I used about 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives, that I cut in half)

5 oz canned tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked – I used a 14.75 oz can of wild caught salmon packed in water

No Cook Garbanzo Bean and Salmon Salad, ready to pack up for the office.
The lettuce and broccoli slaw is bagged separately, the salmon is in it’s own container, and the beans and veggies are combined in another container. All I have to do in the morning is layer one serving of this into my special salad container, and put the vinaigrette in it’s own 2 oz serving container. I am going to have Trader Joe’s 3 Seed Beet Crackers on the side.

*Classic Vinaigrette:

To a jar add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water). Cover and shake until emulsified. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

And I did a breakfast prep today too! I follow a U Tube channel called Flav City, hosted by Chef Bobby Parrish. He is a wealth of knowledge, and a heck of a cook. I saw this and had to try it. It’s a copy cat recipe of Starbucks bacon and Gruyere egg bites. I did modify it Baby Boomer Mermaid style, and I am extremely proud to say that I pulled it off. I had a taste of my finished product and these are delicious. Here is the link to the Flav City recipe and video. Chef gives a lot of great culinary tips in a short amount of time. The video is worth the watch: https://www.flavcity.com/keto-breakfast-egg-bites/#viewrecipe

I followed the technical directions and the measurements of the original recipe, but altered the ingredients to fit my needs. I used 1 cup of egg whites, fat free cottage cheese, 4 slices of light Jarlsberg cheese, diced, I added jarred roasted red peppers to get a little veggie in there, and Canadian bacon in place of regular bacon.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have enjoyed the holiday weekend, and that you are feeling good. The world is starting to reopen. In a new way, but it is coming along, I am happy to say. Take care of yourselves.

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It’s About the Groceries

For me, staying home has become more about the groceries than the meal prep. I don’t want to feel obligated to one or 2 choices for the week during this time, so I have filled my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator with clean, healthy, and mostly “safe” food options…. There has definitely been a little splurging on comfort foods and sweets over the course of the last 6 weeks of quarantine, though. Not gonna lie.

Today I made a broccoli slaw. Super easy with Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Coleslaw Dressing (50 cal for 2 tbsp/ 2 pts). I added a little celery, red onion, and celery seed to bump up the flavors. I put about 1/4 cup of dressing in the entire dish, which will be 3 – 4 servings. Slaw needs to marinate a little, so it’s in the refrigerator getting delicious.

Broccoli Slaw dressed with Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw Dressing
From a couple of weeks ago – Macaroni Salad made with chickpea elbows, roasted red peppers out of the jar, celery, red onions, and a little sweet pickle relish. It is dressed with about 1/4 cup of light mayo, and seasoned with salt & pepper. This prep was inspired by this WW 4 pt recipe – https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/classic-macaroni-salad-1/5626a5f74236657004995d9c

My hearty breakfast was scrambled eggs with caramelized onions and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a solid resource of protein and fiber. Besides the health benefits, it has a cheesy flavor, so mimics that in eggs without the fat, calories, and points of cheese. It is 20 calories a tablespoon (0 pts). Here is a cooking note on scrambled eggs (learned from The Barefoot Contessa, and who doesn’t love her ?) – cook them on low, slowly. You will get a fluffier more uncious finished product. I topped the egg mixture with my favorite jarred salsa, and wrapped it up on an Ole Extreme Whole Wheat Tortilla (50 cal/ 1pt).

Hearty breakfast – scrambled eggs and onions flavored with nutritional yeast, topped with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla 🙂
The tea is my mock chai latte made with Spiced Chai Tea from Trader Joe’s and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
Yesterday’s lunch – Trader Joe’s shrimp burger topped with creamy srircha sauce and a salad made of baby lettuce, broccoli slaw, and grape tomatoes, dressed with Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing (from the refrigerator section). Calling this 4 points total.
The tea is my home brewed ginger/ tumeric iced tea (also Trader Joe’s)

So it is all about the groceries right now. Here are a few tips to make grocery shopping a little easier during these challenging times:

*Make a list (best if you can do it in the order of the aisles in the store)

*Read the labels (and/ or keep your WW scanner handy) to be sure you are making healthy choices

*Buy seasonal produce and proteins on sale to help adhere to your budget

Just a reminder, I am selling hospital grade disposable masks. Find the details on the previous blog from last week (scroll down). Masks are an essential part of the “new normal” as business start to reopen.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. Please send me any comments, critiques, or questions. I would love to hear from you. Stay safe. Be well.

Coping with Quarantine

Recipe Schmecipe Recap – A Review of A Few of My Best, EASY Meal Preps

Not gonna lie. Although grateful for my overall good health, and the love and companionship of my husband, who’s health I am also grateful for, other than losing my parents, this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. I have lost my way the last few weeks, and in the meantime, tore a muscle in my back while stretching, which has temporarily taken away my ability to get outdoors to walk or to do anything else that resembles being productive. I am healing, taking it a day at a time. Locked up. Chin up. Putting on my big girl pants and moving forward.

Since we all are cooking most of our own meals these days, I thought I would offer you a recap of a few of my favorite past meal preps and tips in the hopes of inspiring you to make something new and fun. If you are new to the blog, my meal prep philosophy has always been budget conscious, pantry based, WW friendly, delicious, and EASY. This will also allow for you to peruse past blogs at the same time, in the hopes that you will find renewed inspiration, and get a few handy tips along the way. Let’s Go!

Pantry tips: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/02/10/your-pantry-is-it-safe-is-it-ready-for-any-emergency/

Cabbage Roll Soup (fan favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/02/18/balancing-act-self-care-vs-obligations/

Slow Cooker Chicken Schwarma (personal favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/04/14/recipe-schmecipe/

Creamy Broccoli Salad (fan favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/06/16/celebrating-the-fruits-of-summer/

Favorite Low Point Gazpacho: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/06/23/tomato-tomahto/

Snacks: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/07/28/routine-vs-yolo/

Scenes from Home, the last couple of weeks

Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to send me your comments, critiques, and questions.

Stay safe, and healthy, my friends.

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Easy Comfort Food Meal Prep

Pinto Bean and Soyrizo Casserole

During this time of the Covid 19 pandemic, meal prep and a “safe” pantry have become even more important than ever. It is so easy to slip back into old habits under these circumstances.

The turkey taco prep I made last week was so good that my craving for spicy Mexican style food has continued. This week I was inspired by a recipe I found on the Skinny Ms. website: https://skinnyms.com/southwestern-black-bean-casserole/, but with the twist of adding soyrizo, which I love, and had not enjoyed in some time.

The basic recipe is great as is, but, I didn’t have black beans in the house. Plus, I wanted to add the soyrizo, so here is how I made it work: I had but one can of pinto beans in the house, the soyrizo, reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend (3pts per 1/4 C serving), our favorite salsa (Herdez medium), chicken broth, Dorot frozen garlic cubes, diced white onions, cumin, salt & pepper, and of course the all important Ole Mexican Whole Wheat Tortillas. Those were my ingredients.

I sprayed my saute pan with canola oil spray, then when it got hot, I threw in the diced onions (about 1/4 cup), then half of the soyrizo, which is about 3 oz (4pts), then added 2 frozen garlic cubes, and the cumin. I let that cook for a few minutes, and added the drained pinto beans, 1/4 cup of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you want a fully vegetarian dish), a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and let that cook down for another few minutes.

When the mixture was cooked through, and the liquid absorbed, I sprayed my 9 x 9″ square pyrex pan with the canola oil spray, then placed the first tortilla in the pan. I layered on the soyrizo mixture, about 2 tablespoons of the salsa, and about 2 tablespoons of the cheese. I repeated this process using 3 of the whole wheat tortillas, then topped it off with the balance of the soyrizo mixture, more salsa, and cheese. I would say I used a total of about 1/3 of a cup each of the salsa and cheese. I estimate this recipe at a total of 11 points on the WW Blue plan. It made 4 servings, so just under 3 points per serving. Pretty good for a comfort food recipe, I’d say. I had a piece this morning for breakfast with a couple of over medium eggs. It was yummy and very satisfying.

Scenes from my weekend walks: gorgeous skies, plants and flowers in full bloom, a 25 square hopscotch course, and beautiful sidewalk chalk drawings

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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The New Normal

Challenging Times

Stressed Season 1 GIF by Friends - Find & Share on GIPHY
This has been me the last few days

This morning we had our first virtual WW meeting, and just prior to that, one of my technically capable tribe members set up a group phone call so we could all touch base personally. Normally, we all catch up a little before our Saturday 7:30 am meeting, then have breakfast together. It’s been a meaningful ritual for all of us. Today was certainly new and different, but it was just as meaningful for us to all be together, albeit on a phone call. And the meeting was GREAT. Kudos to WW for getting these virtual meetings set up. Connecting with our coach, studio team, and seeing everyone was incredibly settling and inspiring for me.

I tested a new recipe for breakfast this morning, and want to share it with you. It is Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes from Livestrong.com: https://www.livestrong.com/recipes/cottage-cheese-protein-pancakes-5/. I posted it on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, so I made it today. I followed the recipe as written, except I used fat free cottage cheese 1) because it was one of the few cartons of cottage cheese left on the shelf, and 2) it was on sale. Not sure it would have made much difference in the taste of the final dish if I would have used the 2% cottage cheese. My final product did not turn out pretty, but it did taste good. I garnished it with fresh blueberries, and added about a teaspoon of real maple syrup to the plate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend you give it a try.

Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes

While home, with extra time on my hands I have been doing more interwebs exploration. I came across Flav City on Instagram, and really like his point of view. If you are looking for fun, healthy, and new takes on recipes, and to be entertained, check out this guy Bobby Parrish. https://www.flavcity.com/ and also on UTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/flavcity.

Take care, my friends.

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Fresh Meal Prep Ideas

Thinking Out of the Box Today

I came up with some fresh ideas today for my meal prep. I’ve been getting tired of my breakfasts. I haven’t even posted them recently. I eat at home every morning now, so I don’t really need to “prep” perse, just need to have healthy things in the house at the ready. I have been switching off between cultured cottage cheese and yogurt bowls with cinnamon, ground flax and chia seeds mixed in and topped with berries, oatmeal with the same mix ins, or scrambled eggs topped with salsa and wrapped in an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla. All good, healthy choices. But I’m bored.

A couple of months ago I started a new Pinterest board called Healthy Breakfasts Sans Eggs (https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/healthy-breakfasts-sans-eggs/) inspired by those of you in the WW Facebook groups that were looking for healthy breakfast options, and don’t like eggs. Last week I came across a recipe that I pinned, and have not been able to stop thinking about – Sweet Morning Potato with Yogurt, Maple Syrup & Nuts. I’m not big on anything that is too sweet any more, much less breakfast, but this idea intrigued me. And I know it won’t really be that sweet. Today I roasted 3 large sweet potatoes, which I will cut in half for my servings, and top them with non fat Greek yogurt mixed with my ground flax and chia seeds, drizzled with a little maple syrup, and toasted walnuts. Not only does this fit into my WW maintenance plan, but it fits into my anti inflammatory diet as well. Yogurt and sweet potatoes are both good for that, and for building up my immune system. Here is an article I found showing more: https://www.marthastewart.com/1542077/foods-healthy-immune-system?did=489992-20200212&utm_campaign=martha-stewart-living_newsletter&utm_source=marthastewart.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=021220&cid=489992&mid=29641328065

The fixings for this week’s breakfasts. And here is the recipe:
https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-sweet-morning-potato-with-yogurt-maple-syrup-nuts-recipes-from-the-kitchn-9080

For lunch I hacked a slow cooker spinach and artichoke chicken recipe into a stove top version. Usually slow cooker recipes are my go to, but the poached chicken aspect of the original recipe didn’t appeal to me today, so I reworked it. Here is the original recipe, which is a great one. Love the flavor profile: https://www.thekitchn.com/slow-cooker-chicken-spinach-artichoke-recipe-256184

My version of spinach and artichoke chicken

I used all of the ingredients in the original recipe, but I did a stove top version – using ground chicken breast. I started with a diced shallot over medium heat, let that get a little translucent and soft in my pan, then added 1 lb of ground chicken breast, and seasoned that with salt & pepper. I then added 2 cubes (or 2 cloves) of the frozen garlic cubes, and let the chicken cook through. I combined 1/4 cup each of dry white wine, fresh lemon juice, and chicken broth, and deglazed the pan, lowered the heat, and let the liquid reduce to about half. That took about 10 minutes. I added the drained artichoke hearts, which I cut in half, then started adding the baby spinach in batches as it wilted.

I also wanted a “noodle” to go with this, so I cooked the half bag of red lentil penne I had in the cupboard, and combined it with a can of Palmini linguine to use as a bed for the chicken mixture.

I honestly don’t know the calories/ points of this dish, but I do know that it is veggie based, and overall very clean and healthy. It has flavors that I enjoy. And that is what matters.

Don’t be afraid to re-imagine your recipes and experiment. It’s fun, and you might surprise yourself with how well they turn out.

Thank you for joining me today. Make it a great week, and take care of YOU.

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On Topic – Dealing with Stress

If you attended your WW workshop this week, you discussed stress, and strategies for how to cope with it. My job situation has been a source of extreme stress for me for about a year now, and is not letting up. I have to say that this blog has been a therapeutic project for me. It keeps me accountable and focused on my journey and goal to not only continue to maintain my 50 lb weight loss, but to exceed it, and to continue to become physically stronger, and as fit as I can be. And hopefully, it allows me to inspire you to reach your weight, fitness, and overall health goals.

If you are new to the blog, please take a few minutes and scroll through the archives. There are many tips and inspirational stories to help you through life situations that may arise during your journey. Don’t allow yourself to be derailed. Remember why you started your journey in the first place.

It helps when you start to feel so stressed that you are on your way to a panic attack to avert your attention. First, breathe. Take a series of 5 second breaths in through your nose, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Feel your throat and jaw unclenching, and your stomach relaxing. Feel your body against the surface you are sitting on. Feel the cushions, feel your feet on the floor. Slowly you will feel centered again. This has been working for me while sleeping as well. When I wake up in the middle of the night, instead of following my head to all those dark places, I do this breathing exercise, and fall back asleep.

These are a couple of strategies that have worked for me lately. Other strategies are to get outside and go for a walk. Or go somewhere that makes you happy and meditate or read. Exercise. Go to a yoga or zumba class, or an aqua aerobics class. Be with people. If you are dealing with something really serious, seek out a professional to help you through.

Meal prep this week was a little more ambitious than usual. I was in the mood for fresh ideas. Again, I was inspired by recipes I found on the interwebs. Honestly, these days, why not?

Breakfast was found on FB. It’s Breakfast Stuffed Peppers from Recipe Rebels. Here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.thereciperebel.com/breakfast-stuffed-peppers-oven-or-slow-cooker/

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers Baby Boomer Mermaid Style
No matter what ingredients you use here, these are going to be gorgeous, tasty, and healthy

I wanted to keep this dish as low in calories and fat as possible, but to taste delicious, be nutritious, and full of protein. I used egg whites, defrosted, drained, and dried frozen spinach, chopped fresh scallions, and chopped fresh dill as my main ingredients. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning Blend, then added flax seed meal and chia seeds for their health benefits.

Lunch is salmon cakes! I’ve been wanting to make these for some time. I finally found a recipe that didn’t call for bread crumbs. Here is the link to the recipe I used (I actually followed this one, as I had never made these before): https://www.eatthis.com/salmon-cake-recipe/. I gave this a taste when done, and they are delicious! I would not change a thing in this recipe.

Healthy Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki on the side
Made with simple, clean ingredients.

I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup to complete my lunch.

My morning snack this week will be a 2 point fruit flavored yogurt and a banana. My mid afternoon snack will be my favorite – a gala apple and a light string cheese. I also always keep shelf stable snacks in my handbag, as sometimes I get caught away from the office longer than expected, so need something handy. I want to mention that my game plan of smaller main meals, mixed with healthy snacks between meals has worked for me. The scale is going the direction I want it to go, and I never feel too full. I have come to hate that stuffed feeling. Smaller meals and snacks throughout the day keep me satiated, and feeling on my game. And goodness knows, I need to be on my game at work these days.

While doing my #sundaymealpreps, I often have the Food Network on in the background. Today The Kitchen had a segment on healthy smoothies with surprise ingredients. I wanted to share those with you, because they looked good to me:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/oatmeal-cookie-smoothie-5462885

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/katie-lee/red-velvet-smoothie-5462883

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/zucchini-bread-smoothie-5462881

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I want to wish you all a wonderful and successful week. Take care of yourselves, my friends!

Douse the Flames of your Aches and Pains

Like many of you, I have a good amount of inflammation in my body. I have been dealing with these various aches and pains caused by inflammation and natural deterioration for years. One of the best remedies for me was my 50 lb weight loss. For the last several years I have been eating cleaner, staying hydrated, and working on getting enough sleep, all of which are crucial to reducing inflammation in our bodies.

The other crucial component for curbing pain from inflammation is diet. In a nutshell, the foods to stay away from are sugar, processed fast foods, trans fats, refined carbs, and processed meats. It’s difficult with the fast pace of our lives today to completely stay away from these foods, but we certainly can keep this list in the backs of our minds, and eat them more moderately, or find viable healthier substitutes for them. That has been my goal. Following is a link to a comprehensive list of foods that are anti-inflammatory: https://www.eatthis.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/

In addition, here is the link to my Anti-Inflammatory Diet Pinterest board for you to peruse: https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/anti-inflammatory-diet/

I take other preventative measures regarding my discomfort caused by inflammation and deterioration. I use arnica gel on my lower back every morning. It is a homeopathic product that is applied to the skin for pain and swelling. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-721/arnica. At night I apply magnesium oil to the same area, which relaxes my muscles. https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-oil-benefits.

Every morning I do a combination of the stretches That were prescribed to me by my physical therapist a couple of years ago and yoga stretches that are good for the lower back (see that link in last week’s blog, “Full Throttle – Meal Prep”.) I also use a product called Inflamma-Less, which helps me a lot: https://irwinnaturals.com/products/inflamma-less. Many people swear by Turmeric supplements as well, but they aggravate my stomach, so they don’t work for me.

Meal prep this week consists of Asian flavors. Everything is low cal, low fat, veggie forward, and includes a good amount of protein. I made a fun salad with dark leafy greens and broccoli slaw topped with a mixture of fresh radishes, sugar snap peas, edamame, and shrimp. I’ll dress that with Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Salad Dressing.

This week’s lunch salad, Asian style

I also prepared Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Fried Rice mixture, and their Chicken Cilantro Mini Won Tons to go with my salad. I followed the directions on both, but I added Trader Joe’s Coconut Aminos to the cauliflower fried rice at the end for a little soy/ umami flavor. It came out delicious.

Also for lunch – Cauliflower fried rice with chicken cilantro mini won tons
The dark color on the cauliflower fried rice is from the coconut aminos I added to it.

Breakfast will be cottage cheese and blueberries with ground flax seeds and chia seeds mixed in. My mid morning snack will be a hard boiled egg and a small banana. My mid afternoon snack will be light string cheese and an apple. I also want to mention that I carry snacks with me in my handbag, just in case. I have been carrying a WW Turkey Stick (1 point/ 60 cal), a WW Sweet & Salty Nut Bar (2 points/ 80 calories) and a small bag of Emerald Almonds and Walnuts (3 points/ 100 calories). These have come in very handy. Sometimes you just don’t know how your day is going to end up.

Handy Healthy low cal/ point Snacks to keep in the car or in your bag

Thank you for joining the conversation! I appreciate your comments, critiques, and questions.

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Make it a great week! Take care of YOU!

Full Throttle – Meal Prep

It is very exciting for me to be back to work full time, and back to #mealprepsunday. Here is what I have going this week.

Gotta have my hot tea first thing in the morning
Early Breakfast at home: veggie egg white muffins with a side of turkey bacon

My day starts early. I am usually on the computer at home by 6 – 6:30, since many of my customers are on the east coast. Besides my hot mock chai latte, I like starting my day with veggie or fruit with protein. Last week with was nectarine crumble over plain non fat Greek yogurt. This week I went savory with veggie egg white muffins and turkey bacon. I drained and patted dry frozen spinach and roasted red peppers from the jar, and tossed them with pre-diced red onions, salt & pepper. I spooned that mixture into the muffin tin (2 for each day for a total of 10 muffins), and poured in the egg whites from the carton. Could not be easier. They baked in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. I let them cool to the touch, then carefully lifted them out of the pan with a butter knife and small rubber spatula.

Since I’m eating breakfast so early, I find myself getting hungry by 10 am. Last week I brought a hard boiled egg seasoned with “Everything but the Bagel” and fresh ground pepper, and a small banana. This week, I prepared small containers of cultured cottage cheese mixed with flaxseed meal and chia seeds. Because it’s a snack, not a meal, I just used 1/3 C cottage cheese to 1 tablespoon each of flax and chia seeds. Not gonna lie, the finished product is not pretty, so I didn’t photograph it. I did taste it though, and I like the nutty flavor that came out of it. Plus I get that punch of protein and the nutrients of the seeds. I am pairing that with a small organic banana.

Mid morning snack: Good Culture low fat cottage cheese with flax & chia seeds mixed in paired with a small organic banana
https://www.goodculture.com/#our-story-1

It’s still super hot outside, and oh so humid. I am so spoiled having grown up in So Cal where the weather is usually mild and dry. So it’s salad again. This week I’m going with Mexican flavors. I have a 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast in the slow cooker with salsa, and seasoned with fresh ground black pepper, cumin, and dry oregano. That will be shredded, and paired with a salad of mixed baby greens, baby spinach, and broccoli slaw and pinto beans. The dressing is my own concoction of Bolt House Farms Ranch (my favorite) mixed with the same salsa the chicken is cooking in.

Mexican Chicken Salad for Lunch: shredded slow cooked chicken breast , mixed greens including broccoli slaw, and pinto beans dressed with salsa ranch. Notice in the background of the photo is my box of WW corn chips. Those will be the perfect accompaniment to this salad.
https://www.salsas.com/herdez/
https://www.bolthouse.com

I also have an afternoon snack planned, so I’m ready for my late afternoon water jog at the pool.

Simple afternoon snack: Protein and fruit. In this case light string cheese
and an organic Gala apple

I want to tell you about last night’s dinner. We always splurge just a little on Saturday nights, since I weigh in on Saturday mornings. We happen to love carnitas, and it had been a while since we had indulged. I had this interesting recipe on my “What’s for Dinner” Pinterest board: https://www.recipetineats.com/pork-carnitas-mexican-slow-cooker-pulled-pork/. I want to mention that I only started with about 2.5 lbs of pork shoulder, so I eyeballed the seasonings instead of measuring according to the recipe, including the fresh orange juice. I used just 1 orange instead of 2. It turned out perfectly.

Carnitas tacos with traditional toppings of fresh onions, cilantro, avocado, and salsa

I came across an article this week that I want to share with you. As you know, my workouts of choice are lap swimming and water jogging. I know that many of you have hesitations about the pool such as getting into a swimsuit in public, protecting your hair (these were big issues for me when I started), fear of putting your head in the water, making the time for swimming, to name a few. First I want to address the swimsuit issue – no one cares. No one will look at you at the neighborhood municipal pool or the pool at the gym. You are all there for the same reason. Frankly, the swimming community is very supportive and welcoming. As far as protecting your hair goes, there are good conditioners on the market you can apply before putting on your swim cap. By the way, if your hair has color on it, I recommend wetting it down with regular water before applying the conditioner for an extra layer of protection. Here is the conditioner that I use (from Amazon):

https://www.amazon.com/AquaGuard-Pre-Swim-Hair-Defense-Bottle/dp/B01BMYYHAG/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?hvadid=3527178819&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&hvqmt=p&keywords=aqua+guard&qid=1567985364&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVkhXU1ZDMVFXQlBIJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODM2NzIyMVMyTTRXWUxMT0RVMiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTU1MzczNVRRMDdJQ1RPUUVRJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

And here is the article. I hope it inspires you:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/13719762-swimming-for-exercise/

Being the amateur blogger that I am, I read a lot of blogs speaking to healthy lifestyle, weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness. This one came into my inbox today. I have degeneration in my lower back, and actually do many of these stretches every morning, so wanted to share. I hope this inspires you as well:

https://mailchi.mp/skinnyms/tired-of-living-with-back-pain-try-these-helpful-yoga-moves?e=262b867f92

Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week, my friends.

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