Eat Clean Challenge: Week Four

 Hip Hip Hooray!!! I finished the 30-day challenge!  I am so proud that I actually stuck to it. I am thrilled with the results, but they could be even better if I stuck to drinking more water….I started to slack on the H2O the third week. I slacked on the workouts too…BUT I am smiling ear to ear with my results. I dropped SIX pounds and the following inches:

¾ inch from my arms
3 ¼ inches from my thigh
¾ inch from my chest
2 inches from my belly (measured above the belly button)
2 ½ inches from bellow my belly
1 inch from my hips

I mentioned in the beginning of this challenge that I was looking at this as a life style change towards eating healthy and not as a diet. Diets always have an end point and once I was done with a diet my weight would go back up.

On the days were I wasn’t sick I had energy to keep up with my walking toddler. Getting back in the kitchen and cooking inspired me again to attempt personal recipes…which Mike gives two thumbs up to.

Read week one, week two, week three.

Started my day off right with oatmeal baked inside a mason jar! Another winning recipe from Fit Foodie Finds! Mine doesn’t look as pretty as the one on that blog, but it sure did taste good….and that is what matters most! Check out the original recipe here.

Oat Baked In A Jar
Adapted from Fit Foodie Finds

½ cup oats
1 tsp chia seeds
orange extract (a drop or two)
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Spray mason jar with non stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
Place a hand full of berries at the bottom of a mason jar and pour oat mixture on top. If you have frozen berries microwave them to thaw them out (about a minute or as directed on bag).
Bake for 30-35 minutes. I placed my mason jar on a cookie sheet.
Optional: top with jam/preserves (I didn’t add any to mine). The reason my oatmeal was so blue was that I mixed my oats in the same bowl I used to microwave my frozen blueberries, giving them a tint of blue. I also stopped cooking mine after 30 minutes as it was starting to bubble over the top (glad I put it on a cookie sheet to bake!).

We took full advantage of the lack of humidity and dined al fresco at a local restaurant called The Surf Shack. We are frequent visitors on their patio enjoying a cold brew and their delicious fresh shrimp tacos. Today I enjoyed their BBQ salad and a Pacifico (my beer of choice at the moment).

We picked up some tender filets at our local speciality shop for dinner and paired it with the lemon orzo recipe I posted last week (read here). The orzo recipe is healthy and perfect for beginners in the kitchen!

Well this day was pretty similar to how yesterday went. I started the day off with oatmeal and lunch at The Surf Shack again! For breakfast we chowed on the same Berry Oatmeal Bake I have made previously (for the recipe again click here). I forgot to mention before that I break up a few pecans on top before I bake it. I love the flavor of toasted pecans and it gives the oatmeal a nice crunch! For lunch I had two shrimp tacos served on whole wheat tortillas with a cold Pacifico.

To keep the Mexican fare going we made some chicken fajitas in the Crock Pot for dinner. Crock Pots are great at making cooking trouble-free! Chop, toss, shred and serve. Love it and loved this recipe from Stacey Makes Scents!

I made these cranberry oat bran muffins the first week on this challenge. The first time I couldn’t find the whole wheat pastry flour or my cranberries and substituted with whole wheat flour and cherries. They tasted good, but a little dense. I finally found the pastry flour and cranberries and baked the muffins the right way this morning and they were still delicious! Lily loves these morning treats and I always save a few for a snack for after her nap (recipe here).

For lunch I had the best smoothie ever….the green monster spinach smoothie of course!

Mike was really excited about dinner since we were making a semi homemade pizza, I was happy because it was healthy! I found the recipe on page 163 of Tosca Reno’s The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2. I say it was semi homemade because I purchased the prepared dough from the bakery and used bottled bbq sauce instead of making my own clean version. I didn’t have all the items to make the sauce, and it was just easier to use the Sweet Baby Ray in the fridge! For the full recipe check it out here (I omitted the pepperoncini).

Ugh, morning was hectic and I almost didn’t have time to make anything for breakfast so I had one muffin that was leftover from yesterday’s breakfast. So glad I had leftovers from dinner for lunch as well. It was a crazy morning of errands with a kid throwing major tantrums!

To keep Lily busy I took her to the mall with my mom to walk around and ride the carousel. You would think that on days where she is having meltdowns being out in public would be the worst idea. Sometimes it is. Yet the lights, gigantic horse and panda (who look scary to me) just captivate Lily….and I will take it even if it’s only for a few minutes! It was also my mom’s birthday so we were treating her to dinner! After we perused Banana Republic and The Loft we decided to head to the restaurant early to help satisfy an angry child’s belly. I split their flatbread with my mom and had a side salad. I have learned that when we eat out to quickly jump to the healthy items like salads and fish, while avoiding the rest of the menu. Out of sight, out of mind right?

Sometimes restaurants don’t have clean options. That is okay. Just make smart options. And the first one would be going to a restaurant that you know makes healthier options. By choosing to go to BJ’s for dinner and not next door to Red Robin I am already winning!

Breakfast and lunch were two options I have had before, Baked Blueberry Oat Bran (recipe here) and the infamous green monster spinach smoothie for lunch.

With the seasons changing and leaves falling (everywhere else BUT Tampa) I tried out a quinoa chili recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod (original recipe). This was easy, delish, filling and made plenty. I put all the leftovers in a freezer safe container and stored it in the freezer for the future.

Quinoa Vegetarian Chili
Adapted from Two Peas in Their Pod

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 yellow squash, chopped (called for medium zucchini, chopped
but I forgot to buy it!)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste (we used 3)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream

In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook over low heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic, carrot, celery, peppers, and squash. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
Stir in the cooked quinoa.
Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Note-garnish the chili with green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, if desired. This chili freezes well.

I had my favorite smoothie ever when I got home from the gym today. Lily took a taste and she said “Mmmmm”. With four cups of spinach she can get her veggie fix!

Today was all about keeping it simple. Smoothie for breakfast, my favorite grilled cheese with avocado for lunch and dinner was cooking all day in the crock pot. Thank God for the Crock Pot! You can just throw ingredients in the pot and a few hours later you have a tasty meal!

I found a delicious recipe for Santa Fe Chicken from Skinny Taste. We served it over brown rice, with avocado and a dollop of low fat sour cream.

Started this Friday off with a new oatmeal recipe to try from The Gracious Pantry….and it was Mmm Mmm Good! Check out the recipe here. The only change I made was omitting the nutmeg, and that was only because I didn’t have any.

After some errands and a dip in the pool, Lily and I noshed on some leftovers with some whole wheat macaroni.

We went out for dinner with the family to Datz Deli in South Tampa. My brother’s girlfrien’s dad and brother were in town and it was the first time we got to meet them. Whenever we can get the whole family together it’s a good time. Mix that with great food and great wine = awesome night! Datz has a pretty incrediable menu and I was a good girl looking only at the salads. The one I ended up picking was field greens with oven-roasted turkey breast, smoked gouda, seasonal berries, tomatoes, candied almonds and berry vinaigrette.

Great weekends start with pancakes….healthy pancakes! These banana pancakes have become a favorite of mine and today I smeared a little peanut butter on top instead of syrup.

After running a bunch of typical weekend errands at Lowe’s and Target we stopped at Panera to grab lunch before Lily ate her arm off. Before I had Lily I could run tons of errands and totally forget lunch (I might have stopped at Starbucks twice), but you can’t skip when you have a kid. I chose the half sandwich (roasted turkey & avocado BLT, no bacon) and half salad (chicken cobb salad with avocado, no bacon).

For some reason my Super Mom powers don’t allow me to make the weather cooler, so I made chili instead. Boy OH boy was it good! There was plenty for lunch the next day to pair with our grilled cheese sandwiches.

Creamy White Chicken Chili
From Eat Live Run

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, small diced
1 T vegetable oil
2 cans cannellini beans
14.5 ounces chicken broth
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup half & half
8 ounce reduced fat sour cream

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and chopped onion and saute for about six minutes, or until the chicken is seared and the onion is translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.
Add the beans, spices, chicken broth and green chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the sour cream and half & half. Serve with cheddar cheese and additional sour cream to top.

Not having breakfast was not the way I had planned my morning and my last day on this 30-day challenge. It was one of those mornings you get caught up in house chores (Mike was feeding Lily) and by the time I finished taking my measurements it was time for us to leave to get our much needed haircuts! Mike went first so he could take Lily back home while I stayed behind to get a cut and color job.

Not having breakfast…bad. Getting your hair done….fabulous! If I had put makeup on, changed out of my SF Niners shirt (YAY for the win!), I might have taken a picture of my new do. I added a bunch of blonde highlights on the bottom to jump on the ombre train…I know I’m pretty late getting my ticket punched.

I LOVE the holidays and I took out all our Halloween décor. Last year Lily was only a few months old and could care less. This year she went nuts for the lanterns, cobwebs, spiders and some realistic black birds. I got caught up decorating and Mike forced me to stop so I wouldn’t go without another meal. He had a bowl of chili leftovers while I made our grilled cheese and avocado sandwiches.

After decorating and watching the Niner game I started to prep dinner, Baked Turkey Croquettes. I grew up eating my mom’s salmon croquettes (I’ll share the recipe soon!) and had to try the recipe on Skinny Taste. These were delish! There are several steps to this recipe (cook potatoes, mash them, cook turkey, chop cooked turkey in food processor, chop veggies and sauté them, mix everything, form croquettes and then dip and roll them in bread crumbs). There were a lot of dishes to clean after…but it was really good! It made enough for us to save for tomorrow’s lunch! I served mine with a little ketchup, that’s how I eat the salmon ones! And to celebrate the 30-day challenge I enjoyed a cold beer!


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  1. By Lily & Bliss | A Week In Already? on January 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    […] by purchasing only what I needed. Read all about it here and here’s week one, two, three and four of the first journey. If you are looking to get healthy and loose some lbs try eating clean. […]

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