Affording Fitness on a Tight Budget

I talk with people all.the.time. who LOVE everything I’ve shared with them, really want to be coached by me, but when it comes time to enroll in the plan I’ve laid out, they shy away (often even stop returning messages) and become paralyzed by the price tag.

And I get it!

I know the pain of being financially strapped each month.

I know the embarrassment of bankruptcy.

I know what it’s like to lay awake in bed at night, filled with anxiety, not knowing how you’ll make your payments, and feeling like there is always too much month at the end of the money.

I ALSO know that most of the time it’s not the financial investment that scares us, it’s the fear of failure. It’s the fear of paying for something and “what if it doesn’t work for ME”. It’s the self-doubt of whether or not we have the commitment to follow through and get our money’s worth.

It’s not very often the fear that “IT” won’t work, it’s the fear that WE won’t DO the work.

And that’s real. That’s a real and valid fear!

But, that’s why you get someone like me, who’s been in your shoes to do this with you. To troubleshoot the tough spots with you. To check in and make sure you’re following through. That’s why you get in community with people who have similar goals – so that on days you want to give up on yourself you know that if they’re doing it, you SURELY can do it too!

I know it’s frustrating, feeling like you don’t have the money, but sometimes you have to find a way.

Ask yourself:

  • what can wait this month so I can invest in my health sooner rather than later?
  • OR, what amount can I set aside each month so that I CAN get started after saving up?
  • what deadline am I giving myself to get the funds together?

You’ll never regret investing in your health and if you don’t do it now, you will later…with physician bills, prescription costs, and medical interventions.

Just think: Food is the most unused medicine and exercise is the most underutilized therapy we have available today. We’ll pay thousands in medical bills before adjusting our habits, it’s shocking!

But, in the meantime, while you’re saving, there are a lots of little things you can do to get headed in the right direction and start improving your confidence that your health is, in fact, in your hands!

Here are some ideas:

  • Running/jogging/walking is all free!
  • You can always do body weight squats, modified push-ups, and sit ups or crunches. No equipment required, minimal space needed, and 4 sets of 25 of those each day and trust me your body will start to take shape.

Most of your results are about food choices anyway…so:

  • Work on drinking 1/2 your body weight in oz of water per day (at a minimum)
  • Start each meal with veggies and eat more or those in general (I love a big hearty salad each day but I know that’s not everyone’s thing. Roast them, sauté them, and make sure you spice them up (light on the salt, but fresh ground pepper, Mrs. Dash no salt seasonings, lemon, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning blends…all make veggies full of flavor and more appealing to eat).
  • Focus on good lean proteins, after you fill up on the veggies 😉 – chicken, eggs, fish, the occasional steak, wild game is an excellent source of protein too. Tempeh for those of you who are vegan.
  • Lower your carb intake at each meal (we WAY over-consume in this category so this one small tweak can be a game changer). Also, consume your carbs earlier in the day when you need them for energy and taper your intake so that after lunch you’re sticking with veggies and proteins until bed, giving your body a better opportunity to enter fat burning mode while you sleep.
  • Remember, fruit impacts the body really in the same way bread and grain does because of the sugars, so more veggies less fruit! I’m not telling you NOT to eat fruit, I’m just saying monitor your intake because lowering the sugars coming from them can positively impact your results. Reach for dark or brightly colored, fruits and veggies first – they tend to be lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants anyway. Oh! And don’t peel them (except for citrus…and bananas) because the skin has TONS of good fiber your body needs.

And if you’re looking for more tips….I share TONS of info, from workout ideas to healthy meals and meal prep on my social media pages. Find me on FB at fb.com/jennifermorrowfitness or @jennifermorrowfitness and on IG at instagram.com/jennifer_morrow_ or @jennifer_morrow_

 

Start here friend! All of this is F-R-E-E! It’s just choices and actions. Start putting a little money away in the meantime, even if it’s just a quarter at a time. But you’ve got to make changes if losing weight and/or getting healthy is truly a priority for you.

 

I wish I had an easier answer but things don’t change if things don’t change ya know?

YOU’VE GOT THIS! I BELIEVE IN YOU! YOU ARE STRONG, DETERMINED, AND CAPABLE OF MAKING THE CHANGES YOU DESIRE!

Now, go after it! Your results are yours for the taking!

-Jen 😉

Fruit Pizza

In celebration of the 4th, I wanted to share this awesome dessert idea with you! Original recipe from lifemadesweeter.com head over there to access a printable copy!

Red White and Blue Fruit Pizza

Ingredients:

Crust
– 2 cups old fashioned oats
– 3/4 cup oat flour (you can buy or make your own but grinding oats in a food processor)
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
– 3/4 cup honey
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/8 teaspoon salt

Yogurt Filling
– 1 – 1 1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt (full-fat works best or use a non-dairy yogurt if needed)
– 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or honey)
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fruit Topping:
– 6 blackberries
– 1/3 cup raspberries
– 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
– 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Grease a 10-inch cake pan with baking spray and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt together. Add the honey and coconut oil and mix until dough is combined and sticks together. Use your hands or a fork as needed.
4. Spread the mixture into prepared pan and press down firmly.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (place in the refrigerator or freezer to cool faster).
7. While crust cools, in a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt with honey and vanilla.  Spread yogurt over cooled crust.
8. Decorate with fresh berries. Enjoy immediately or place in the fridge to cool and set.

Father’s Day Without Our Son

A year ago, on Father’s Day, we were announcing our pregnancy…the excited expectation of our first born. Finally, after all the questions of “when”, we were starting a family.

We announced before we “should” have…we were only about 8 weeks or so along and I remember speaking the words “it doesn’t matter, God’s already got this baby covered” as we began to tell our friends and family…

…never could I have known the road He was about to ask us to walk.

Never could I have known that He’d already called Matthew home before we even had a chance to be excited about him.

I remember being nervous, afraid we’d lose the baby. I didn’t like the feeling of being pregnant, of being out of control of my body, and if I’m being truthful I didn’t feel connected to this little one yet. I was caught up in the adjustments I had to make to my life and my habits, as a pregnant woman. My dog of the last 13 years had just died and I was really overcome by loss. Looking back, I believe something in me knew something was wrong.

I was terrified going into our 12-week appointment, afraid they wouldn’t find a heartbeat and the joy would be over. Everyone told me I was silly, that it was totally normal to worry but that everything would be ok. And, as I laid on the stirrup-hidden OB bed, the sweet thud of his heartbeat filled the room. We had our US scheduled for immediately after that appointment and as we left my OB’s office, my husband asked if I felt better…

“I’ll feel better after the next appointment.” I said…

The maternal fetal specialist called us back to her office and reviewed our health and family history and with no real markers for concern (except our age) she reviewed some of the most severe cases and then promptly said, “But I don’t suspect we’ll have to worry about any of that so let’s go see your baby”.

Off we went! And within seconds of the cold squirt of the US gel, our baby popped up on that screen. I remember being amazed at seeing his body taking shape already. My untrained eye didn’t catch any of the problems. As our tech tried to move the wand around, she said little and just kept expressing she was having a hard time getting a “good angle”. I won’t go into all the details of the different ways they attempted to get good pictures but ultimately the doctor was called in.

I was a newbie at this, so again, didn’t think much of it, just thought they come in to verify everything. More poking, more prodding, concerned looks across their faces. Us none-the-wiser of what they were seeing just that they weren’t seeing things “well”. The doctor said, “ok, I’ve got some concerns, but go ahead and get dressed and meet me in my office”. She did a good job of hiding the severity at this point.

My heart races and my eyes are starting to fill as I type this…

She started with “again, we have some concerns and remember those most severe cases we didn’t think we’d have to worry about, I think you’re facing one of those” (paraphrasing of course). The severity still not resonating with me as I began to ask questions about our baby. I don’t really remember what I was asking but I remember her stopping me, knowing this wasn’t sinking in.

“Jennifer, I don’t think you understand. We’re looking at a child with no figure-able hands and feet. His chin has not fused and the limbs he does have are extremely short. We’re looking at a child with little chance of life outside the womb and any life “he” (we didn’t know we were having a boy) does have will be significantly impaired and not at all functional.”

These were just some of the problems by the way….

She was gentle and kind, and truly sought to help us understand our situation but in short, we were told to prepare for either a miscarriage or a stillbirth. And of course our options were laid out for us. There would be more testing, but we did have a choice to make.

And there it was, we were faced with the unthinkable decision of killing our baby or carrying him until he could no longer live.

An impossible scenario. I’m shortening the medical banter, obviously. We had several more tests coming our way to truly help determine what was going on but as I questioned if it was just too soon to see these things, I was assured that no, we should absolutely see these parts formed at this point.

Devestation.

We left the office numb. Trying to wrap our brains around the news. This was a Thursday and the weekend was a blur. I prayed for a miscarriage, it felt the merciful answer. Not because losing the baby was any less difficult that way but because the thought of carrying him only to lose him after birth felt like the 7th ring of hell. I started to spot at one point that weekend and told Brett that maybe it was starting. Within hours that had stopped and this overwhelming sense came over me that I was being asked to carry this child.

I still don’t know why. I don’t know my (or our) purpose for this pain yet. I see little bits of God’s story seeping through but I’m quickly struck by, “God, was there not another way?!” ANY other way! For me to share you with others.

So while last Father’s Day weekend was a huge celebration for us, this year we face the day uncertain, not knowing what’s in store for our family, and without our baby boy.

Surreal. That’s how I would describe it.  As we truck through the 6th month learning to be parents without a child, I often find myself questioning our reality…

I WAS pregnant, right?!

I WENT through labor, right?!

I DELIVERED a baby, right?!

That DID happen…didn’t it?!

How is THIS our reality?????

And as people I express those questions to want to point me to heaven, and while yes, I am incredibly thankful of His promises and the perfection we’ll walk into there…if I’m being honest, that’s sort of not comforting for the next 50 or so years I’m blessed to be on this earth…that’s a long time to hurt.

Maybe I’m just not as good of a Christian as they are. Maybe this has shook my faith to it’s core. And maybe I’m learning how to trust God again because the human side of me feels betrayed by Him.

But these promises of hope and proclamations of “you’ll have a family one day”, leave me frustrated because while I believe God is a good, good father, I also know I’m not owed anything by him. He doesn’t promise that we’re exempt from future hardship just because we’ve endured this one. And just like how everyone wanted to assure me that our 12 week appointment would be “fine”, no one can honestly say that we don’t have to worry about this again or that a family is a certainty for us at any point this side of Heaven.

Oh! And the questions of if we’re “trying” again…

I don’t think people understand what they’re asking of me. See, I know not all women enjoy pregnancy but I’ve yet to meet one who didn’t love feeling their baby interact with them while they were in the womb.

Me?. Well I can count on ONE hand the amount of times I felt “something” during my pregnancy, it was only ever a little flutter and honestly mostly felt like gas. ONE time, only one time, did I press on my belly and feel a thud on the other side. I didn’t get the joy of those moments, my poor boy didn’t have limbs to kick and push with.

Mostly I felt pain, at first emotionally and later physically as my body filled with amniotic fluid that he wasn’t able to process given his condition(s).

Labor, delivery, that was the end of our son’s life. I don’t know the joy of hearing our baby cry, seeing him look into my eyes, nuzzle into my neck, or wrap his little hands around my finger.

Pregnancy, for me, is devastation. A lack of confidence that my body is capable of forming a whole baby.

So when you’re asking about when we’ll do this again, I just shake my head. Because what you don’t know, is that I’m now a part of a club that’s opened my eyes to the fact that pregnancy does not equal baby home, in your arms. And while in many ways, I feel we had worst case scenario, there’s one worse that I can think of. And that is the parents who had nurseries ready, clothes hung, toys, books, diapers, the car seat hooked up. The healthy pregnancies that ended in stillbirth…for a variety of different reasons and sometimes for no reason at all.

I’m part of a club that knows each child is a miracle and that even the healthiest, “perfect”, and “normal” (if there is such a thing), pregnancies can end in devastation.

Another pregnancy will be the be the greatest faith journey I’ll ever be asked to walk. I thought my journey with Matthew was, and in MANY ways, it was. But what I was never prepared for was life after Matthew.

I was consumed by the pregnancy, by the fear of what delivering him and losing him would be like. I looked at it like a means to an end, something to endure so my body could heal and we could get pregnant again.

I never thought to worry about what it would be like living my days after that.

Come to find out, holding your newborn as they die in your arms REALLY messes you up (shocker, I know!) – inside, outside, emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally. You’re really not ready to think about another one right after that (like I thought I would be).

Starting a family prolonged, longer than I ever thought it would. Becoming a mom later in life than I ever wanted to.

Friends on their 2nd, 3rd children already. Not being able to relate to them for that much longer. Them certainly not being able to relate to me, like AT.ALL. anymore. Compassionate, yes! But able to relate, no.

So much uncertainty.

Matthew (7)But one thing I’m certain of this Father’s Day, is this man, this husband of mine, is an amazing Dad.

He saw Matthew first. He brought his incomplete body to me. He cried with me, wrapped his arms around me, held us both. He made sure I had everything I needed. He let me be angry, he let me be sad. He’s seen me through not being the nicest person, and certainly, not the most attractive version of myself. He held our little boy like he was his life and didn’t bat an eyelash at his differences. He’s walked this difficult road with me start to finish….well, you know what I mean, we’re still walking it…and he’s never wavered.

Now you might be reading this going, well, Jenny, this sure paints a pretty bleak picture of your future. Well, the truth is, often our future feels pretty bleak. You nailed it! This is the honest road we’re on. And I believe I’d be doing you a disservice to paint this rosy picture of the Christian struggle. I’m thankful that the God I serve is ok with me where I’m at. He’s ok with my doubts, he’s ok with my questions, he’s ok with my anger.

He’s ok with yours too! He accepts you in your doubts, your fears, your anger at him. He doesn’t ask you, or I, to be someone we’re not in times of struggle. He just asks us to do the journey and walk the road.

I said that consistently throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t feel responsible to think or feel or a certain way. I felt comfortable in my emotions. I didn’t feel called to hope for a miracle. I just felt called to do the journey.

So this is me closing in on a year of this journey. Almost a year since the news and 6 and a half months without our son.

And I imagine you’re in your own kind of hard. Your own kind of hurt. Your own kind of uncertainty. I imagine you’ve asked God why. You’ve ached for answers. You’ve felt rejected and forgotten by Him too.

I don’t have the answers… and while Jer 29:11 remains my life verse, I’m not going to fill you with hope either, because in the middle of the pain it’s hard to hope. And the more people try to pour hope into you, the more you want to scream “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MY PAIN!”

I know, Friend!

What I will tell you today is God chose you, He knows you, He accepts you, and He’s SOMEWHERE in this with you. Just like He is for me. Even though I can’t see it right now. And you probably can’t either. He’s ok with waiting on you. He accepts your anger, and He probably even sympathizes with the “why me”…remember the Garden of Gethsemane?

I do still go to Him. I encourage you to do so too. Scripture often passes me, like I’ll read it but don’t really feel like I’m engaged or that it’s sinking in. I don’t feel spoken to. But I show up, waiting for Him to reveal a nugget to get me through. Some days I feel like I’m getting somewhere and some I don’t. We’re in a valley. We feel like our spiritual line has been crossed. And I’m willing to bet, He gets that.

If you don’t know where to start, beginning to heal, or maybe picking the healing process back up after stuffing it down for all these years, here’s a couple resources that have helped me…

Books:

Through a Season of Grief

Grieving the Child I Never Knew

And I’m currently reading You’ll Get Through This

 

Tools:

I’ve picked up the practice of journaling but I’m really no good at penning thoughts without a guideline of sorts so I’ve put together a template of my journal practices for you to print. A free gift from me to you as you work through this difficult time. Download your FREE journal pages here!

I also studied the Book of Ruth during my pregnancy and I felt like God really spoke to me and revealed his character to me through that study. A created a journal specifically for that and that’s available for purchase in my FB shop. CLICK HERE for your 28-day Book of Ruth S.O.A.P. Journal! And I promise it’s a legit way to purchase, I will package and send your journal personally! *in case you’re like me and have been scammed by FB sellers before too!

 

Let me end this {what turned into a} very LONG blog post by saying to you what I wish others would simply say to me…

I don’t know what you’re going through or the depth of your pain, but I will be praying that you get through this. 

That comforts me the most! The acceptance that someone does not, in fact, understand this (or even me during this time) but that they’re lifting me up. I can rest in them hoping for brighter days for me instead of feeling the need to defend my pain. If you’d like for me to be praying for something specifically, I invite you to SUBMIT A PRAYER REQUEST and you’ll hear from me directly after that!

We ARE getting through this!

Short Rib Tacos w/Tangy Slaw

We had a big family meal over the weekend and a TON of leftover ribs so I was looking around for ways to enjoy the leftovers.

These tacos were super tasty and are husband approved! You can either make your own ribs or buy a pre-cooked pack from you local grocery store or Costco (you can find them by the rotisserie chickens at the deli in most stores). If you’re looking to save some time and trouble, go for the pre-cooked route. And if you’re not a rib person, cook up your favorite type of meat or veggies and use that instead.

You’ve got 2 choices when it comes to tortillas…

  1. warm corn or flour tortillas in a small skillet over medium-high heat (couple minutes each side, until slightly crispy)….this is what I did for hubs…
  2. go the low-carb route and use romaine lettuce leaves (pictured)…this is how I ate mine

Here’s the recipe for the Tangy Slaw:

ingredients

  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1 tsp liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 drops liquid stevia

directions:

  1. Pour broccoli slaw into a medium bowl
  2. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl and pour over slaw. Toss to combine.

assemble tacos

  1. Choose your base (tortillas or lettuce wrapped)
  2. Top with rib meat (or meat of choice)
  3. Sprinkle cheese of choice (optional; we used mozzarella)
  4. Top with slaw
  5. Drizzle bbq sauce
  6. Drizzle sour cream (optional; we used greek yogurt instead of sour cream)

ENJOY this light but filling meal!

Sloppy Joe Squash Boats

I started a habit quite a while back limiting my carb intake at dinner. I know, I know, that takes away all the “fun” stuff at a meal, right?! Well, I came to learn that the flavor is really in the meats and veggies anyway and the rice/pasta/bread/potato bases really were the blandest part of the meal. And, the fact is, this practice puts your body into a fat burning state overnight rather than storing carbs for energy later. Worth it I’d say! And YES, you do burn calories at night, your metabolism doesn’t shut down like people says it does.

So as I’ve started to experiment with ways to prepare dinner that are veggie heavy and low-carb friendly, I’ve learned to put some foods together that I wouldn’t have thought of in years past.

Here’s last night’s dinner that was SUPER tasty and SUPER low carb! I give you, Sloppy Joe Squash Boats! Here’s how to make ’em:

ingredients

  • 3 summer squash (yellow squash)
  • 1 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) + some to drizzle
  • 1 onion (I used yellow), chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce (any pre-made red pasta sauce works)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. siracha
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup (or honey)

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Half squash lengthwise and scrape out seads
  3. Place squash cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake for 10 min.
  5. While squash is baking, heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring throughout.
  8. Transfer veggie mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  9. Add turkey to skillet and cook until no longer pink, 8 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Return veggie mixture to pan. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire, tomato paste, siracha, and maple syrup. Reduce heat to medium low and stir until sauce thickens, 10 minutes or so.
  11. Remove squash from oven and spoon sloppy joe mixture into the boats. They can overflow as much as you’d like.
  12. Return sloppy joe filled squash boats to oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and divide evenly among plates.

ENJOY!

Lemon Cranberry Almond Flour Scones

In honor of the royal wedding I decided to try my hand at scones and you KNOW I love my almond flour so played around with this grain-free recipe.  They were surprisingly easy to make and came out really tasty! Hope you enjoy them too!

ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan (or sea salt)
  • 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tbsp pure (canned) coconut milk
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • OPTIONAL Lemon Glaze (OBVIOUSLY increases the carb count): whisk together 1-2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Drizzle over scones after removing from oven

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a food processor until blended.
  3. Add in butter cubes and run food processor until dough is pea sized chunks. You’ll need to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
  4. While the food processor is going, grab a large bowl and whisk together eggs, coconut milk, lemon zest and fresh squeezed juice, and honey until combined.
  5. Add dough to bow of wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in cranberries.
  7. Place is fridge for 15 minutes.
  8. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or a silpat (I used a silpat and it worked perfectly) and set aside.
  9. Sprinkle almond flour over a pastry mat (or wax paper will do here as well) to prevent dough from sticking.
  10. Gather dough on mat and press into a 6×6 square, about an inch thick (again, using almond flour as needed to prevent sticking).
  11. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Then cut each of those in half on the diagonal making 8 scones total.
  12. OPTIONAL: Brush top of scones with a little melted coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle with coconut sugar.
  13. Transfer scones to baking sheet and bake for about 16 minutes. They’ll be a nice fluffy golden brown. If you want them a little crisper, add an additional 2 minutes to baking time.
  14. OPTIONAL: drizzle with glaze

ENJOY!!!

*Recipe Note: I always zest the lemons then cut in half and squeeze the juice out. It’s much tastier than the store-bought lemon juice and since you need the whole lemon for the zest might as well make use of the juice!

5 Cinco de Mayo Faves

Happy Cinco de Mayo Friends! As I’m always on a mission to find healthy options for some of my favorite holidays I wanted to present you with my 5 FAVORITE Cinco de Mayo recipes!

We’ll start with the one I get asked to make most often – Guacamole! Guac is so simple and easy to make from home and this recipe takes all the slicing and dicing out of it and is SO full of flavor:

GUACAMOLE: makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 avocados, mashed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic (I buy the pre-minced kind)
  • 2 tbsp. pico de gallo salsa (the best ones are in the deli section of the store)
  • Himalayan salt (or sea salt)  and fresh ground pepper to taste ( I like A LOT)
  • OPTIONAL: ½ jalapeño, diced (only if you like spice)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a large bowl, mash and stir to combine.  Serve immediately or store in fridge for an hour to serve later.

 

And who can skip out on margaritas?! 

margarita recipe:

  • 1 shot tequila (omit for mocktails)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/4 orange
  • shake over ice
  • 4-6 oz. sparkling water
  • give a stir and serve up!

 

 

 

And we’re gonna need tacos right?! Here is my favorite taco seasoning mix!

taco seasoning blend:

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Stir together and use liberally over any meat or veggies to fill your tacos!

 

But wait, we’ll need chips! And it’s actually REALLY simple to make you’re own!

baked corn tortilla chips

Ingredients

  • 15 corn tortillas cut into wedges
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375° F.

  2. Lightly coat both sides of tortillas with spray. Arrange in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.

  3. Sprinkle with salt.

     

And lastly, how bout a traditional salsa recipe?!

roasted tomato salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ medium onion, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, cut in half
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.

  2. Place tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet.

  3. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Season with salt.

  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, until soft. Cool for 10 minutes.

  5. Place roasted vegetables in blender or food processor; cover. Blend until slightly chunky.

  6. Add lime juice; blend to desired consistency.

  7. Place salsa in a medium bowl. Add cilantro; mix well.

     

OK friends! Enjoy the day and

tag me on IG @jennifer_morrow_ or FB @jennifermorrowfitness

if you try any of these recipes!!!

Be safe and have fun!

 

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Swapping veggies for some of our traditional carbs is SUCH an effective way to add nutrients to your meals as well as lower your intake of those foods that tend to “stick” to you instead of burn off easily.

I served this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna up for a family dinner last night and it was a total hit!

I didn’t miss the pasta, we all loved the flavor, and I woke up feeling lean rather than bloated.

So here’s the recipe if you want to try it for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 cups all-natural marinara sauce (1 jar)
  • 3.5 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides (seeds and strings) and leave the fleshy part.

3. Place spaghetti squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender.

4. While squash is baking, brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning while cooking.

5. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and reduce temp to 350 degrees.

6. Scrape spaghetti squash flesh into stringy noodles.

7. Lightly coat 4-quart baking dish with spray.

8. Evenly layer half spaghetti squash, half marinara sauce, half ground beef, and half ricotta cheese in baking dish. Repeat with second layer.

9. Evenly top with Parmesan cheese.

10. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

11. Garnish with parsley if desired.

 

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

The Snack Bar Dilemma

Alright, I don’t know about you but in an effort to put clean, whole foods in my body I’m always at a loss when it comes to picking up a protein bar.  I’ll stand in the aisle comparing labels for dayyyyys and I mean, who has time for that? Ain’t NObody!

The all-natural and fewest ingredient ones tend to be LOADED with sugar (mainly from the dried fruits).  The low sugar, low carb ones tend to be loaded with crap.  And it just goes round in circles.

I’ve pretty much given up and started making my own, which I don’t mind doing at all (you can find the recipes HERE!)

But it’d be nice to find a bar that sort of meets all snack/protein bar needs without pumping my body full of sugar or junk.

In the meantime I thought I’d give you a rundown on my go-to bars and how I evaluate labels to try and at least make the best decision with what’s available.  Hope you find it helpful!

Protein/Snack Bar Selection Tips:

  1. Number of calories is less important than what makes up those calories
  2. Look for 3 things:
    • grams of protein
    • grams of sugar
    • grams of fiber
  3. Look for highest protein, lowest sugar, and highest fiber to get the most nutritional bang for your buck

Remember the key is SMART SNACKING!  And you serve your body well by choosing a bar based on those categories.  And sometimes, you just have to make the best choice with what’s available!

These are just SOME of the leading bars on the market.  Here’s what I like and dislike about each…

CLIF BAR – I’m honestly not a huge fan of this one in general…it’s super high in sugar which means it loads you up on carbs and it contains soy which I work to avoid and seems to upset my stomach.  I do like that it’s made with organic ingredients, it’s got a decent amount of protein, and it’s made without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Nutrient breakdown (varies by bar): protein 9g, sugar 21 g, fiber 4g.

KIND Bar – This one is a little more friendly on the system.  First of all it’s gluten free and low glycemic index.  All low glycemic index means is the sugar is absorbed more slowly by the system rather than giving you that quick sugar high then crash. And it’s non-GMO and made with all-natural ingredients which is always great! While it’s lower in sugar than other bars on the market, it’s doesn’t really contain enough protein to promote satiety and you’ll likely just end up hungry within an hour anyway. It’s also super low in fiberNutrient breakdown (varies by bar): protein 4g, sugar 10 g, fiber 2.5g.

LARABAR – Ok what I love love love about this one is it’s simple ingredient list.  It’s also non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, and soy free (so it’s great for those with food sensitivities).  What I kinda hate about it (bc they are so freaking good) is they are LOADED with sugar! Like it’s the highest sugar content on the market.  It’s also super low fiber and super low protein so really you’re getting a quick sugar hit and that’s about it.  Not ideal, but dude, seriously delicious! Of course right?!

RXBAR – Similar to LARABAR what I LOVE about RX is the simple, no BS 😉 ingredient list.  It’s got a good amount of protein and a decent amount of fiber too, and it’s gluten free which I always find to be a plus.  It’s still higher in sugar than I’d like but I do tend to default to this bar in my has of ingredient analysis lol.

Bottom line, the store bought bars are not “ideal” but are convenient.  Can you make a bad choice in a pinch, probably not, none will kill you.  Can you make a better choice with the options available, yes for sure!  Especially if you follow the advice I gave you! Remember: high protein, high fiber, low sugar!

If I ever find a better recommendation, you KNOW I’ll letcha know!

Keto Bagels

So I am a HUGE fan of breakfast sandwiches and there is no better way to have a breakfast sandwich than on a bagel…ok well except for maybe buttermilk biscuits ;).  But again when you’re trying to cut down on carbs neither will do so I am constantly on a mission to find low carb swaps for bread based meals.

These keto bagels came out pretty well and you can always swap out the seasonings recommended here for those of your choice!

Here’s how to make em…

ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp. himalayn salt (or sea salt)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder

Seasoning topping used in this recipe:

  • 2 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend (if you don’ t have the blend, equal parts parsley, oregano, and basil will do the trick)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. garlic powder (depends how garlicy you’d like it)
  • 1/2 tsp. himalayan salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a donut/bagel pan with coconut oil
  3. Using a stand or electric mixer, combine eggs and sour cream.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients (except for seasonings blend)
  5. Pour dry ingredients into went and mix until combined.
  6. In a small bowl, blend seasonings.
  7. Sprinkle part of seasoning blend into each donut ring of pan.
  8. Spoon in dough.
  9. Sprinkle remaining seasoning blend over top of dough.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Cool on wire rack.

Serve warm/toasted with cream cheese.

Store extras in fridge.

ENJOY!