Meal Preparation: A Key Element of a Healthy Lifestyle

Hey yall! Aint gonna lie, I am one exhausted little blogger. My flight was delayed and I didn’t get back to NOLA until 8:00 last night, and now I have to drive home this morning and start to get “back to normal”. Never fear, I plan to tell you ALL about my Under Armour experience. I am waiting on some awesome professional pics to share with my posts so it will be worth the wait! For today please show some love for this guest post from http://www.tapaslifestyle.com/.

An important key element to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is meal preparation. In other words, it just doesn’t happen by chance. In our journey to be healthier, the concept of “What should we eat on a regular basis?” came up. We wanted to use Sunday as our meal prep day, which we would cook and prepare food for the both of us for the week ahead.

We started to research ideas and noticed a big trend with quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”. As Wikipedia states, “quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron.”

We already had Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good, and as I was thumbing through it, I saw that she used quinoa in a lot of her recipes. She states in her cookbook that quinoa is, “A must for all healthy contemporary diets, quinoa is a protein-packed grain that cooks quickly and is a wonderful canvas for all sorts of add-ins and dressings.”

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I was interested in Gwyneth’s statement. We started out with the below recipe as a base. Then as the weeks continued we started adding different ingredients such as different kinds of beans and vegetables. We love adding lightly steamed broccoli. We try to ensure that all the ingredients we use in the recipe are organic – the quinoa, beans and vegetables.

Zesty Quinoa Salad recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com

3 cups of Perfectly Cooked Quinoa* (recipe below)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 green onions, finely chopped ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

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Gwyneth instructs the best way to prepare quinoa on page 178 in It’s All Good, as stated below.

*Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

Makes 3 cups –

1 cup quinoa

1¾ cups water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor; since quinoa’s natural coating tastes like soap.)

Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa’s germs look like lots of little spirals, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

In addition to the Zesty Quinoa Salad, we also prepare a crock pot full of organic chicken breasts. We purchase the organic chicken breasts and sauces at Costco. We cut the chicken into cubes and add it to the crock pot. We then add Robert Rothschild Farm’s All Natural and Gluten Free Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce and All Natural Jack’s Cantina Style Salsa to the crock pot until all the chicken is covered. We stir all the ingredients together and cook on low heat for about 4 hours and it comes out delicious.

The Zesty Quinoa Salad and the crock pot chicken make up our main meal during the day while we are at work. I also bring fresh fruit, vegetables and Kind bars for snacks throughout the day. When we get home, we’ll have a lighter meal such as a salad or a light snack. We have restructured our eating habits since we met with the nutritionist at our gym. She said to eat our larger meals during the day and then taper off as the day progresses. We’ve been following the nutritionist’s suggestions and we have been very happy with the balance it has created within our lives.

It takes planning and discipline to prepare our meals every Sunday; however, we know how important it is to take care of ourselves through proper nutrition. It’s a great feeling to know that in just a few hours on Sunday, most of your meals for the week are already taken care of and all you have to do is pack it up and take it with you.

QOTD: Do you eat Quinoa? How do you prepare it?

Sugar Detox

It’s no secret I am addicted to sugar. I have always loved candy and chocolate, ice cream and brownies…and sweet tea.

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I workout a lot, yes, but I am also well aware that my eating habits are not always as they should be. I am STILL having issues getting rid of a couple of pesky pounds from the cruise and vacation, so I know exercise is just not enough for me right now.

I am taking drastic (for me) measures….I am laying off the sugar for a whole week to see if it helps me. YIKES! I know some of you are probably going “geez Heather, that’s super easy, what’s the big deal?” Oh, friends. If only you knew how bad the addiction is….

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I know when some people sugar detox they get rid of ALL forms of any kind of sugar. Well folks, that would be a surefire way to see my head start spinning, followed by lots of crying and name calling.

I started on Monday, and decided to not completely shock my system I would still eat things like fruit, etc, but steer clear of snacks like candy with sugar, cookies, and the like. I also allowed myself to put my flavored creamer in my coffee, but that’s it. I was doing ok on Monday until after dinner when I usually have a sweet dessert…I got really cranky and tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t think about it. I am crossing my fingers I can make it through the whole week without a slip up!

What are your secrets for dealing with a sugar detox? I would love to hear!

QOTD: Any sugar detox tips? Do you struggle with this like I do?

Disney Fantasy: Palo Dinner

I cut part 4 short because I wanted Palo dinner to have it’s own post.

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I am glad I am writing this one after dinner, or I would be dying to eat all of the delicious food! If you have been on a Disney cruise and have not dined at Palo you are missing out on a great experience. I can’t believe we waited this long to do it!

We checked in and waited in the waiting area for only about 3-4 minutes, when Ivan, the server we had for Palo brunch appeared! I was so happy we had him again, it felt more comfortable since we had already seen him before and he knew what we liked.

We had a great table facing outward towards the ocean, it was nice and cozy. Just like at brunch, I loved how we didn’t feel rushed at all. We ordered our drinks and enjoyed the view while Ivan brought us some antipasti (I have no idea why I don’t have photos of this!) Ivan did a great job of explaining everything, and I tried some things I have never had before.

Ivan also did a great job of explaining everything on the menu to us. After appetizers we were also brought a lemon sorbet palate cleanser.

Bobby ordered some kind of shrimp

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Veal

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tuna

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I had white bean soup (not pictured) and  Beef tenderloin. I can only speak for what I ordered, but the soup and beef were both excellent! There were two sauces for the beef and I liked them both, so delicious!

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Of course soufflé with vanilla gelato and chocolate and vanilla sauce. Holy yum. So rich but so delicious.

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Ivan prepared mine for me. It was amazing. I am so glad I left room for this dessert. My hands down favorite of the whole week.

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Again, we were never rushed, and loved how our waiter only had one maybe two other tables so we got taken care of very well. We will definitely be back!

Here are a few things to remember about Palo:

– Palo is an adults only restaurant. That’s why God made kid’s clubs. Smile

-Reservations for Palo can be made online for cruise guests:   Concierge Guests: 120 days in advance
Platinum Castaways: 120 days in advance
Gold Castaways: 105 days in advance
Silver Castaways: 90 days in advance
First Time Cruiser: 75 days in advance

-It costs a little extra to eat at Palo, but SO worth it! Brunch and dinner are both $20* per person.

(*price has since gone up to $30 per person but still worth it!)

– There is a dress code to dine at Palo. We like to dress up anyway so it was no problem, but make sure you pack something appropriate if you plan to dine here!

-Palo holds back some reservations on the boat for when you embark, so if you couldn’t get a reservation online be sure to visit Palo asap to try to snag a reservation once you get on the ship.

QOTD: Are you more likely to try a food you have never liked before at home or at a restaurant, like me?

*I would love to get you a cruise quote! Email [email protected] for details

Disney Fantasy Part 2: Palo Brunch

Check out part 1 of this trip here. Then come back and check out Palo brunch!

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We left off after the first night onboard the beautiful Disney Fantasy. We slept in the next day because we had Palo brunch reservations at 11:00. This brunch is all you can eat, and Bobby’s favorite part of the cruise. Not only is there a buffet selection, but there is food you can order from the kitchen as well. You get a complimentary glass of champagne or a mimosa as well. It’s nice and quiet (adults only) and they don’t rush you which I love.

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Dressed up for Palo brunch

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We went up a few minutes early and sat in the beautiful waiting room that Palo shares with the other adults only restaurant, Remy. Soon our server came to greet us and sit us down.

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We had a beautiful table looking out the window at the water. After you are given your drinks, your server takes you over to the buffet and shows you every single thing and table you can order or get yourself, and answers any questions you may have. I even saw them taking plates of food back to people’s table for them so they didn’t have to carry it!

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Bobby loves the crab legs, and the eggs benedict the best.

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I had some lasagna and chicken parmesan as well as some delicious fruit, cheese, and pastries.  I like that they give you small portions so you can try everything! My favorite part however, has to be dessert.

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Please note I did NOT bring all of this back myself. Our server offered to go up to the buffet and get me a selection of his favorite desserts and this is what he brought back for me!

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I went up to the buffet and took photos of some of the food tables. They have samples of food you can order from the back like these pizzas.

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Below is more food you can order from the back

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It’s safe to say we had an amazing brunch and weren’t hungry for quite some time afterwards. Our server, Ivan, was wonderful, and did a fabulous job. The $30 charge is a small price to pay per person for such a wonderful experience! This is always a highlight of a Disney cruise for us, and we have considered going more than once on a sailing it’s so wonderful. I highly recommend Palo Brunch to anyone sailing with Disney

QOTD: Have you ever eaten at Palo? Are you more of a main dish person or do you love the desserts?

 

Outshine

 

I was recently introduced to Edy’s Outshine fruit bars, and they did not disappoint. I tried three flavors: coconut waters, strawberry, and raspberry.

 

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The best part about these fruit bars is that you can enjoy them without the guilt! There are so many delicious flavors to try (coconut waters and strawberry are my favorite). As someone who drinks coconut water on a regular basis for hydration, I was so excited to try this flavor. Coconut waters has banana in it as well, and reminds me of drinking a nice frozen cocktail out on the beach in the summertime. It’s so creamy and full of flavor, I was tempted to eat two at a time for my snack! The portions are great for all ages, and the consistency sure hit the spot. These yummy snacks can make any moment brighter. Living in the hot and humid south, I am always looking for a more healthy snack to eat while I am enjoying being outdoors on my porch with my family. My dogs love when I sit outside with them, but I get hot so quickly and want to enjoy these special and fun moments without melting in the heat. These bars keep me cool and help make these moments with my family out on the porch even brighter. Not to mention, you get a great tasting snack without the extra calories (only 60 in the coconut waters!) They are made with real fruit or fruit juice as well.

 

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As a person with an active lifestyle, I am also outdoors a lot walking, running, playing sports or doing yoga. This snack fits in perfectly with my sweet tooth, love for fruit, and the desire to stay cool outside. When I go to the beach with my husband this summer, I plan to bring some Outshine bars with us to enjoy as a better for you option after a long day of playing in the sand and water. These are also great alternatives for kids instead of some of the other snack bars on the market today. With the weather warming up and everyone spending more time outside, I hope you will give these fruit bars a try next time you go to the grocery store!

 

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Be sure to check out Outshine on Facebook or Go to the website and tell me what flavor you would like to try for a chance to win a $100 Visa giftcard!

 

*I was provided compensation to purchase this product and to review it.

 

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/8/13 – 6/12/13.

Be sure to visit the OUTSHINE brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

There are times when I crave something that doesn’t exist. Sometimes a version of it exists but it’s still not exactly what I have a taste for. Then I have no choice but to try to develop a recipe for it. That’s exactly how my Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp came into being. While Heather’s off enjoying some major fun in the sun, I wanted to share this with you just in time for grilling season. I’ll have the complete recipe at the end.

There are really only two tricks to this recipe. Number one, use good, quality shrimp.

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I live in Tennessee, about as far from an ocean as possible so I don’t have access to fresh shrimp. I did get the best thing I could find, and these guys are colossal!

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Next, the thing that really makes these shrimp fab is the sauce. You’ll want to make it an hour or so before you add the shrimp. Otherwise, if you add the shrimp to the heated sauce, you’ll end up boiling them, and grilled is what we are going for here, not boiled.

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About the sauce, as you are heating it, be careful not to let it boil over. I really just heat it until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated well.

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Don’t be squeamish about the whole stick of butter! Remember, this is more of a marinade and most of it will end up getting tossed anyway. The same holds true for the beer. Even though you won’t cook the sauce long enough for the beer to evaporate, once you grill the shrimp, there will be no alcohol left. Even the little ones can eat them. You will also notice I have cayenne pepper in the recipe. It’s not really enough to make them too spicy, but it does add a slight kick. It can be omitted if you want zero heat. If you want more, add more. I’ve also used Tobasco sauce before so whatever heat source you like will be just fine. You will also notice that this sauce recipe works for 1-4 pounds of shrimp. It works for 4 pounds, and it’s just easier for me to make the whole thing even for just 1 pound.

I also sprinkle my shrimp with salt and pepper and let them sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes before adding the sauce. If you add the sauce right after seasoning, the salt and pepper will just sort of wash off of the shrimp and become a part of the sauce. Once I add the sauce, I let them bathe in it for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Any more than that will completely overwhelm the shrimp, and sauce is all you’ll taste. Since there’s lemon juice in the sauce, you also run the risk of making the shrimp mushy if you let them sit too long.

Once you are ready to grill, make sure your grill is at the right temp. They are going to go FAST! About the time you have them all on there, it’s going to be time to turn them.

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What you are looking for is for them to start curling (yes, I know they are already curled, but they will curl even tighter once they start cooking) and for the edges to start turning opaque. About 1-3 minutes is all this is going to take. Then you just flip and repeat.

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These are best served hot right off the grill. I don’t anticipate that being a problem because every time I’ve made them, they’ve been eaten about as quickly as I can get them off. Enjoy!

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Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

Ingredients

1-4 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 17.5 oz. bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

1 12 oz. bottle of beer

1 stick of butter

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce, heat the barbeque sauce, beer, and butter just until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated. Add the cayenne pepper and lemon juice and let the sauce come to room temperature.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then add the cooled sauce and let it marinate for another 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your grill to 300-350 degrees and grill the shrimp for 1-3 minutes per side.

You can also reserve some of the sauce before you add the shrimp, reduce it by half (just keep cooking it in the pot until you have half the liquid you started with), and use it as a dipping sauce or drizzle over the cooked shrimp if you want even more sauciness on your shrimp.

So pull up a lounge chair, crack open your favorite beverage, throw these shrimp on the grill, and maybe you, too, can at least feel like you’re on vacation!

Be sure to stop by my blog at http://www.myglasssneaker.com/

QOTD: What is your favorite way to eat shrimp?

Top 5 Disney Restaurants in the Parks

Last week I wrote a post on my favorite restaurants at the Disney resorts. Now it’s time for my top 5 favorite Disney restaurants in the parks!

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This was a tough decision, and I tried to spread them out amongst the parks as best I could so there was at least one place per park (all sit down restaurants). Just know there are a lot more great places to eat other than these, but the ones below are some of my favorites!

1.) Coral Reef: Enjoy your meal while sitting next to a gigantic fish tank! You are even given a fish guide so you know which ones you are looking at. Bobby gets fish, I get steak, but we both get warm chocolate lava cake! This is a more fancy place for a park, but kids stay entertained watching the fish. Ask for a seat next to the tank if you can. You may have to wait a little longer but it’s worth it.

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2.) Liberty Tree Tavern I love Liberty Tree for lunch in particular. Why? Four words: Ooey gooey toffee cake. This my friends is the best dessert on Disney property. I also order the pilgrims feast (turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans) it’s a nice break from fried fried fried that I eat at a lot of other Disney meals. It’s a nice sunny restaurant, very well themed, and of course it’s right in the Magic Kingdom.

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3.) Be Our Guest: I ate here for the first time in February and think Disney did a fabulous job with the theming. We sat in the West Wing and I was bummed at first but ended up loving it. It was much more quaint and quiet than the main ballroom. I love that you can take a picture with the Beast after dinner, and the menu is very nice for a park restaurant.

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4.) Yak and Yeti: This is in Animal Kingdom, and has great theming. It is Asian inspired, so again a nice break from what a lot of the other restaurants offer. I usually get sweet and sour chicken with rice and Bobby gets some kind of shrimp which he really enjoys. We typically do lunch here, and love sitting in the room that has giant windows overlooking the park. People watching at it’s finest!

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5.) Sci Fi Dine In: Best atmosphere of the park hands down. Who doesn’t want to eat in a car at a drive in movie theater? With that being said, the menu is limited, and I honestly don’t ever order anything but a cheeseburger and fires and a cookies n cream milkshake, which is to die for. If you are looking for a fancy culinary experience, this is not the place. However if you are wanting a unique experience don’t miss this one!

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Others I love but couldn’t choose them all:

Le Cellier (Epcot)

Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

Splitsville (Downtown Disney)

QOTD: Did your favorite make the cut? What am I forgetting?

*Remember I can book your trip for you at no additional cost to you! [email protected]

 

 

 

Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about my favorite Disneyland restaurants. It was such a hit, I had people asking me to do the same for Disney World resort restaurants. There are SO many great places to eat in Disney World that I decided to break the post into my top five favorite places to dine in the resorts, and then another post with my top five favorite restaurants in the theme parks. Also keep in mind these are all sit down or “table service” restaurants in this particular review. Enjoy!

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1.) Trails End Dinner Buffet

We “discovered” this buffet on a recent trip. It’s one of those places I always knew existed, but didn’t get a lot of hype. Luckily, I went out on a limb and booked it, in an effort to try something new. This place is now a must go to for my family and a hidden gem among Disney World resort restaurants! It’s a good old fashioned country buffet with all the comfort foods you could imagine. Not to mention, the price point is great for a Disney buffet. For sweet tea drinkers: this is the real deal. Only place on property that makes tried and true “homemade” sweet tea. Everything from ribs, to fried chicken, to mac and cheese, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and cornbread is yours for the eating. For dessert there is red velvet cake and soft serve ice cream with toppings like gummie bears and hot fudge, as well as some other southern favorites. You won’t leave here hungry and the servers are very friendly. *Please note there is NO PARKING at the restaurant. You have to park at the front of Fort Wilderness and take an internal bus to the back.

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2.) Citricos

This has been a long time favorite of mine at the Grand Floridian. Beautiful, elegant, and delicious are a few words I would use to describe Citricos. It has my favorite steak in the world, as well as a great drink menu. The sweeping views of the grounds are relaxing, and the open kitchen is fun to watch. A great fancier meal while not being stuffy, Citricos gets two thumbs up. it is on the second floor of the Grand Floridian, so you can stand at the railing and listen to the orchestra or pianist at night while you wait for your table. So romantic!

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3.) California Grill

Situated on the top floor of the Contemporary, California Grill is the place to be when the sun goes down to watch the Wishes fireworks show. There is even a private viewing deck outside for diners to visit. If you love sushi, you have to try the food here. I personally don’t eat sushi, but the husband loves this restaurant, and I enjoy the steak. It has a fun lively atmosphere, with wall to wall windows looking out over Bay Lake. It can get a little loud, but the food and views make up for it. *Check in for the restaurant is not on the top floor, please follow directional signs

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4.) Ohana Dinner

This place is pure fun, and we always leave so full! Ohana serves food family style at the Polynesian resort. They bring a huge portion of different menu items in big bowls or platters, and you can eat as much as you want. For the meats, food is brought around on giant skewers and then pieces are put onto your plate. Be sure to save room for dessert, the bread pudding is delicious! For those with little mouseketeers, there are fun games going on during meal times, and celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries are always acknowledged.

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5.) Cape May Café Breakfast

Cape May is a character buffet (at breakfast only) at the Beach Club resort, and serves your standard breakfast fare, but plenty of it! I love that the characters come around to your table for photos, and really seem to take time with you, even if you are a “big kid” like me. The restaurant is beautiful and open, and the food is plentiful. It’s a great way to start your day before heading off to the parks. I have seen Minnie, Goofy, as well as Chip and Dale in their beach gear at this restaurant.

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RELATED: Sign Up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course

QOTD: What are your favorite Disney World resort restaurants?

Favorite Posts of 2012

 

I am loving this short week business. Thursday already? I’ll take it! Does anyone still have outside Christmas decorations up? Guilty. I promise they are coming down today, it’s just been a little crazy around here. I thought it would be fun for me to share some of my favorite posts from 2012 with you, and break them into categories. For new RWS readers this will be a fun way to get to know me more, and for my old faithfuls (I love you!), hopefully still entertaining!

Most Read Post of 2012:

IT Band Stretches

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Most Commented on Post of 2012:

Under Armour Bra Giveaway with 315 comments

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Most Inspiring Post of 2012: To Be Great

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Favorite Race Recap Post of 2012:  Disney Princess Half Marathon

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Post with most Surprising Success in 2012: Castaway Cay 5k take two. This is a post I wrote recapping the 5k I ran in the Bahamas on Castaway Cay. I was definitely not expecting the success of this one, and it is still the third highest searched post on my blog and gets hits daily!

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Post I am most Proud of in 2012: How It All Began (my running story)

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Favorite “Tips” post of 2012: Now What? What to do after you run a 5k

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Favorite Recipe post of 2012: Enchilada Casserole with Ground Turkey

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I hope you enjoyed my little look back on some of my favorite posts of the year here on RWS, I can’t wait to share even more with you in 2013! Cheers!

QOTD: Do you have a favorite post on your blog? Share the link in the comments! If you don’t have a blog, do you have a favorite post from a blogger? Share!

Thanksgiving In Pictures 2012

 

Happy Saturday! Today Bobby and I are headed out on a long run, hopefully 14-15 miles, and then hopefully decorating our Christmas tree! My camera cord is still at home but I wanted to share some phone photos I took on Thanksgiving day.

We drove to my parents Thursday morning and then my cousin and her family arrived for lunch!

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We ate a great spread prepared by mom and dad, and enjoyed some awesome desserts as well (hello pumpkin pie!)

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Bella was very aware of the turkey carving going on and stayed close to my dad as he got the bird ready. She was being so funny, growling and barking at him to get some scraps (which she of course did get).

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Bobby and I took some Christmas card photos outside and I tried to take a photo of the picture on my camera to show you one but they are coming out blurry.

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I will post some “real” ones later on, so sorry.

Then later in the evening my aunt and her boyfriend came over to hang out and watch football….and we ate some more. Friday morning mom and I went shopping and got a lot done/gifts bought, and we brought pizza back to the house which we ate while watching LSU beat Arkansas! I would say we have had a great weekend so far and it’s only halfway over! Hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend, see you tomorrow.

QOTD: Favorite Thanksgiving food?