To help you use up some of your zucchini

These “zucchini boats” are good.  Really good.  AND good for you.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey.  Maybe because when I cook it, it has a weird gray color.  But when you add the Taco seasoning it’s a game changer.

Recipe.

Cut zucchini in half and carve out the middle (I use a spoon)
Cook 1 pound of Jenni-O ground turkey on the stove.  When it’s fully cooked, add a little water and Taco seasoning (as much seasoning as you prefer–I like it more mild)
Spoon cooked turkey into the zucchini.  Add cut up fresh mushrooms and olives (or whatever toppings you like).

Cook at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes.  Then add some mozzarella cheese and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes or until zucchini is tender when stabbed with a fork.

Fast.  Easy.  And healthy.

I’m still trying to warm my kids up to zucchini.  They aren’t big fans.  So I just put the extra ground turkey and toppings in a corn taco shell for them.

The original idea for this came from an Instagram account I was following but now can’t find.  Probably because one of my kids accidentally un-followed them.  Anyway, it was tweaked from that to our liking.

100 Burpee Challenge

I get a little burned out on my various workouts every now and then and am always on the lookout for new things to help me stay in shape.


I’m planning to run the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon this September so I’ll be doing a lot of running, but I’ve been looking for something new for cross-training throughout the week.

In my searching I came across a site called the 12 minute athlete.  I haven’t fully looked into it yet, nor have I done any of the workouts so I can’t say it works, but I saw her post something about a “100 Burpee Challenge”.

So today, I decided to try it.  I’m always up for a challenge.  And she said “Doing 100 burpees in a row is an awesome way to gauge your fitness level”

Here were the guidelines for time:

12+ minutes:  You’re an athlete in training!  Way to work hard, and don’t stop pushing.
10-12 minutes:  You’re an athlete!  Awesome job getting past those mental blocks.
8-10 minutes:  You’re a super athlete!  You’re strong and in great conditioning shape
6-8 minutes:  You’re a total badass!  You have some serious burpee skills.
4-6 minutes:  You’re the ultimate badass!  Be very, very proud.


I’ve never done a burpee before.  I’ve done a few things that are kind of similar in Insanity, but never done an actual burpee.  Like, ever. 

And I ran 8 miles last Saturday.  So I’d like to think I’m in pretty good shape.

I did the 100 burpee challenge.  After I did 20 I was seriously questioning whether I was going to be able to finish.

I finished.

And it took me SIXTEEN minutes.  16.  16 1/2 actually.  But I didn’t cheat on a single burpee.  I went all the way down and I jumped after every.single.one.  I did consider lying about my time just now.  But I resisted.

It was humbling.  And made me realize I have some work to do on my overall body strength.  I’m going to work on my burpee skills and try again in a month.  I’m blaming it on my arms.

Anyone want to try this with me??  It kicked my butt, but I’m up for the challenge of improvement.

{I wore a Heart Rate monitor while I did it and will post about the benefits of having a HRM and how many calories I burned during this exercise in a future post coming soon.}


And because no post feels complete without a picture.  Photo Credit:  Carter, 4 years old.  Added blur for artistic expression.  


My truth about running.

I spent some time watching the Live camera on the Boston finish line on Monday.  It was a much different experience than the year before, when I was glued to the TV and on the phone hoping my friends who had run the race were okay.

This year, I was tracking 2 of my cousins and a friend and was hoping to see them cross the finish line.  Running the Boston marathon is a BIG deal.  And I hope I can do it one day.  Just gotta shave large amounts of time off my race pace.  ūüôā  But watching all those people cross that finish line got me thinking about running.  And why I’m compelled to do it.

Here’s the truth about running for me.

It’s not always easy.  Or fun.  In fact, more often than not, it’s HARD.  And it hurts.

But there’s something about running that cleanses the soul.  Clears the mind.  Squashes the stress.  And makes life feel just a little bit (or sometimes a lot) better.

Running is a lot like parenthood.  90% of the time it’s hard.  And painful.  And sometimes you’d rather not do all that hard stuff.  But then there’s the other 10%.  The days where you feel like you could run forever.  And you feel great.  And strong.  And “light”.  And that 10% of running euphoria makes the other 90% worth fighting through.  

I love to run.  But I didn’t always feel that way.  I remember one of my college roomates was an accomplished marathon runner and I used to think she was crazy.  Why on earth would anyone want to run that far and hurt that much?  And then I ran one.  And I understood.

There’s something pretty profound about pushing your body to its limits.  And forcing your mind to be stronger than the pain.  The feeling that comes after a race (and even during) is why all those “crazy” people run long distance races.

And I don’t run every day.  My main source of exercise when i’m not training for a race is either Insanity, T-25, or Body Pump.  But when I really need some good think time and soul cleansing, I run.

The hardest part about running for me, is the first 5 or 10 minutes.  Even though I enjoy running (usually when I’m done), it’s often hard for me to get myself going.  And sometimes, I can tell within the first 5 to 10 minutes what kind of run I’m going to have.  “This one is going to feel good”, or “I’m going to hurt the entire time.”  But once I’ve determined how far I’m going, I always just do it.  Good or bad.  I do the miles.

If you think you weren’t cut out to be a runner, read the book “Born to Run”.  You might change your mind.

Oh, running.  It’s not just for criminals.

 (All images were found on Pinterest)

Family friendly hiking.

In an effort to continually expose our kids to new things, especially in nature, and keep them (and us) active, we hiked to the Fifth water hot springs in Diamond Fork Canyon in Utah.

It is a MUST do for a hiking adventure.

Annnd because I had to heft a human child on my back, the big girl camera was left at home and these are all iphone pics courtesy of myself and my husband Mike.

It was more of a walk than a hike.  Our girls, who were 8 and 6, easily made it with minimal complaining.  Our 3 year old probably could have done it as well, but we didn’t want to go that slow.
So we packed him and our 1 year old in on our backs.  I think it was a little over 2 miles each way.

We brought swimsuits and a change of clothes, as well as lunch to eat by the springs.

On the internet it said a lot of things about naked people being there.  Mercifully, we didn’t see any.

The hike up was beautiful.  Kind of reminded me of hiking in Hawaii.  Seriously.  Super green.  Trees branching over the paths.  Little stream running by.

As you get closer you can start to smell the springs.  And the water in the river starts to get warmer.  Our kids thought that was pretty awesome.

When we got to the top, we ate lunch, then played around in the different pools.

Definitely worth a visit.  We’ll be going back.  When the kids get a little older, I want to do it in the winter.

White Bean Chicken (or Turkey) chili

I never thought I’d be one to have a blog where I post recipes. ¬†But since fixing food for my humans consumes a huge portion of my life, I think good, healthy recipes deserve a space on my blog. ¬†Every once in a while at least.

If you haven’t checked out Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog, you probably should. ¬†Awesome, almost always easy, and usually not time consuming recipes. ¬†It’s my “go to” recipe site.

And with that, I give you this little gem that has become a part of our winter meal rotation.

White Bean Chicken (or Turkey) Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken (or turkey)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup salsa (I use Pace Chunky Medium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the mozzarella cheese. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup comes to a simmer. Add the mozzarella cheese one handful at a time, stirring to let each addition melt before adding the next. Stir to combine and make sure all the cheese has melted and serve.
 
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It’s good. ¬†Trust me. ¬†And healthy. ¬†Bonus. ¬†I’ve made it with turkey and chicken. ¬†Tastes great either way. ¬†And once I was out of mozzarella cheese, so I ripped up a bunch of string cheese and put that in there. ¬†Took a little longer to melt, but it still worked. ¬†I’m brave in the kitchen like that.
 
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