Clean Eating Sloppy Joes

Sometimes it feels like such a struggle to find healthy dinner recipes that are also quick, kid-friendly, and not super expensive or complicated.  I’ve been LOVING my Fixate cookbook to find recipes for me and my family!  (Psst: if you want one too, check out my coach site!)

One of our favorite recipes from the cookbook is the Turkey Sloppy Joe recipe.  It has lean protein and veggies in one dish, and the flavor is great!  I love the versatility of serving it on whole wheat buns, in lettuce wraps, over zoodles, or just in a bowl.  The best part is the my little guy will eat it, too!  I’ve taken this meal as a dinner for new moms, given it to people coming home from the hospital, and shared it with family and friends–everyone raves about it!  It’s not exactly quick if made all at once, so I’ve been chopping the veggies and cooking the veggies/meat the night before so I can just throw the sauce together and cook it all in under 30 minutes the night we want to eat it.  Pre-prepared sauce is a necessity–you can do your favorite homemade tomato sauce or use a simple jarred sauce.  I’ll share my favorite sauce recipe soon!

Fixate Turkey Sloppy Joes (makes 4 servings, 1.5 cups each)

1 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lb lean ground turkey

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

1 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.  Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Add turkey to same skillet; cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently to break up the turkey, for 8-10 minutes, or until the turkey is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add onion mixture, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, pepper sauce, and maple syrup. Mix well.  Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, stirring occassionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.

Serve warm with whole wheat buns, lettuce wraps, zoodles, or plain!

 

 

Decide You Can


This past year has been all about changes for me.  On the outside, it may seem like a lot is the same, between my job and my family, but I have been growing and evolving so much.  One of the biggest changes has been my perspective–toward my job, my roles in life, and my dreams for my future.

I’ve been seeing more and more through my experiences, Bible study, and other reading that life goes in stages.  What is the best decision one day may not stay the best decision forever, and what is right for you and your family right now may not be the right thing four years from now, or even four days from now.  One of my pastors told me once that God’s will isn’t always about making a specific choice, say between this job and that job, but more about who you are–if you’re seeking God and seeking to become more and more like Him, God can use you wherever you are.

This has become more and more evident to me in terms of my job.  If you know me well, you probably know that I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a long time.  All through high school and college I knew that was the career I was working toward.  I didn’t need to take general classes to see what fit me in school–I knew what I wanted and I went after it. I got a job straight out of college and got my Master’s, and then started working toward becoming Nationally Board certified.

But in the 7 years that I’ve been teaching, something has been working in my heart and in my head.  I just didn’t really LOVE what I was doing.  Of course there have been amazing aspects of teaching, and I know that I have been right where I belong for these 7 years, but something was off.  I taught at a private school first, and thought that unsettled feeling was because I was being led to public school instead, so I applied for the public district and got a job there.  I know that was exactly what I needed to do at the time, and I was at peace about moving to a rougher school from what was really a cushy job.  But as I’ve been teaching at my current position, I’ve still felt that unsettled feeling that I just don’t love what I do.  And this year I’ve decided (along with the support of my husband) to take a break from teaching after this year ends and stay home with my son.

This decision has been a really tough one for me to make.  I’ve always either been a teacher or been working towards being a teacher for more than half of my life–it is part of my identity, who I am.  What am I if not a teacher?  What about all the time and money and effort I’ve put into my degrees and the beginning stages of National Boards?  What about the students I’ve taught and built relationships with?  What about the income I’m bringing in?  These are questions other people have been asking me, too, when they discover my plans to leave teaching, at least for a while.

It all boiled down to one question for me, when I really thought about it: Who am I to decide that I want something more for my life?  What makes me different from anyone else who is unhappy in their job?  Why should I get to make a choice to live my life differently?  I’m not the only person in the world who would rather stay home with their child.  I’m not the only one who dreads their job every day.  I’m not the only person who has anxiety every night before work, thinking about the job.  I’m not the only one who is unhappy, so why should I get to do it differently?

I’ve been doing a lot of praying and reading and soul searching, and I’ve come to one conclusion: of course I’m not different than anyone else who feels stuck in their job and dreams of something different.  But I’ve done one thing: I’ve given myself permission to have a different dream.  I’ve decided that I can.  If I feel called to something more, something better, than what I’m living right now, and it doesn’t go against what I know to be true, why CAN’T I make a change?

And so I’ve decided that I can.  I’m taking a leap of faith into what I feel called to do.  I’m scared to death about it, if I’m being honest.  I have so many insecurities as a wife and a mom, and sometimes I take solace in the fact that I work as an excuse for falling short in those roles (falling short in my mind, anyway).  It’s scary to take that shield away, but I know I’ll be a better wife and a better mom when I’m not stuck in a dark cloud all the time.  It’s scary to jump into my coaching business full force and have people that love and care about me think I’m completely insane, but I know that I’m making the right choice for me.

I have spent too much of my adult life feeling stuck, and I’ve decided that I can.  I can get unstuck. I can live a different life and dream a different dream.  And I’m excited to see where that choice takes me!

Meal Plan April 16-22

Cheers to the weekend!  This weekend hasn’t really gone as I had planned, but it’s been a lot of fun!  My husband has been feeling sick for a couple of days so I’ve been on solo parenting duty with the toddler.  Man.  I’m beat!  We’ve had a great time together.

My meal plan for the upcoming week is one part “survive the end of the school year” and one part “enjoy the summer weather.”  I’m in the mood for summer flavors, but in dishes that are simple and quick.  The recipes for this week are mostly ones that I throw together from memory and don’t really know where the original came from, so please feel free to request the recipes!

Saturday: Fixate Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sunday: Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Monday: Chipotle Burgers

Tuesday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Mild Italian Sausage

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Verde

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade Cheese Pizza with this whole wheat dough

 

My fitness plan for this week is to continue with this round of 21 Day Fix.  I missed Cardio this past week (oops), but I’ve been doing really well other than that.

Saturday: Dirty 30

Sunday: Yoga

Monday: Total Body Cardio

Tuesday: Upper

Wednesday: Lower

Thursday: Pilates

Friday: Cardio

What does your week look like?

Clean Eating Taco Bowl

  
I love Mexican food.  I could eat chips and guacamole all day long.  Quesadillas, beans, chimichanga…I love it all.  When I was pregnant with my son, the only true craving I had was for a giant margarita with lots of salt.  What a sad craving for a pregnant woman!

One of the biggest adjustments I’ve had to make with my clean eating lifestyle has been with Mexican food.  I used to eat a giant chimichanga (which is essentially a fried burrito) covered with queso and dip in refried beans covered in cheese.  YIKES.  Too many carbs, too much fat.

I’ve discovered that I can still enjoy my favorite part of Mexican food without compromising my eating plan.  For me, it isn’t really about specific foods, but more about the flavors.  Fresh cilantro, lots of cumin, sauteed onion and garlic–the flavors of my favorite Mexican dishes can easily be found or added to healthier options.

When I saw this recipe for Paleo Taco Bowls, I was so excited.  I love me some carbs, but I prefer to save my carb portions for something a little more satisfying than a tortilla or chips, so eating the filling from a bowl is no problem for me.  This recipe is full of veggies, so it gives some good volume without a ton of calories, and it is easily modified to add the more decadent ingredients depending on what your focus is with your eating.  You can add grated sharp cheddar, or cubed avocado, or eat it as a burrito with a whole wheat tortilla.  It’s a great base recipe and can be easily modified to include different proteins and even different veggies, like the tomato in the original recipe.  Add more spices, don’t add any spices–it’s so easily adaptable.  I want to try it with fresh jalapeno next time!

One thing that gave me the slighest moment of pause was the zucchini.  “In a taco?” I thought.  “I don’t know if the husband will eat that…”  And then I decided to just go for it.  Lol.  Honestly, you really can’t taste “zucchini” at all.  They absorb the flavor of everything else!  My picky husband really enjoyed this meal and even said that he liked the zucchini in it because it added some “meaty” quality.

  
The best part of this recipe is that my 2 year old actually ate it!  And he asked for seconds!  In picky toddler town, this is a huge win for mommy.  I might raise an adventurous eater yet!

Busy Mom Tip: The most time consuming part of this recipe was chopping the veggies. This can be done the day before! Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also cook the turkey the day before and keep it in the fridge, or cook the turkey in a separate skillet while the veggies cook.

Clean Eating Taco Bowls (adapted from Sweet C’s Designs)

1 tsp coconut oil

1 white onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 small zucchini, cubed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey, browned

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, and zucchini.  Cook until softened and onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add cooked ground turkey and stir to combine.  Add all the spices and stir to evenly coat the veggie mixture with spices.  Cook on med-low until turkey is heated through and flavors have had time to blend together, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the veggies don’t stick to the pan.

Serve in bowls, lettuce wraps, whole wheat tortillas, or with whole wheat tortilla chips.

Makes roughly 4 servings. (I had one serving, the toddler had the equivalent of one serving, the husband had 1.5 servings, and there was enough for lunch the next day!)

 

 

Meal Planning Tips and Meal Plan 4.3-4.8

After meal planning with one of my friends last week, I realized that sharing a few tips on how I meal plan might be helpful!  I hosted a live meal planning video call last week and it was fun!  I was able to share some tips with people to help them make a meal plan for their families that fits their tastes and their budget.  I’ve shared the video below!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/161255902″>Meal Planning Tips 4.1.16</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user48091217″>Whitney Weaver</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Using those tips, this is the meal plan I made for this week.  Some are repeats from last week because they just didn’t get made.  Oops.  Life happens.  But it’s spring break now (FINALLY) and I’m looking forward to a low key week of relaxing and being refreshed for the last 32 days of school.  Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself!

Sunday: Cilantro-Lime Honey Garlic Salmon

Monday: Sweet Potato/Chicken/Spinach bowl

Tuesday: Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan from Fixate

Thursday: BBQ pork in the crockpot with this sauce

Friday: Homemade pizza (with this dough recipe)

 

I finished my 30-day program this past week, which I was really proud of.  I wasn’t strict enough with my nutrition the last two weeks like I was the first two weeks, so my results aren’t super.  I did lose a few pounds and little bit on inches, but it was more important to me to just finish the workouts this round without missing any.  I didn’t get sick, I didn’t get hurt, and I didn’t give up!  I’m using spring break to ease into a little running again, and I’m planning on starting 21 Day Fix next Monday before I do another 30 day round of Chisel again.

I’d love to hear how my meal planning tips helped you!  Feel free to share what stood out to you the most in the comments!