Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Advocare Challenge Update: Put my Patriotic Salsa, Grilled Pork, and Chocolate Balls in your Mouth

Still rocking out on the challenge and I'm still hating taking a bunch of the pills.  I know it's all herbal stuff, but there are these green pills I take with lunch and no matter how fast I try to swallow them or how much water I swallow them with, there is still this really awkward after taste.


I snagged a new flavor of Meal Replacement Shakes since I'm almost out of the chocolate. Trying to mix things up, I decided to grab the vanilla thinking "what could be so bad about vanilla?"

I will tell you what is so bad about vanilla.

While the flavor is great (it's like drinking cake batter), the consistency is a little off-putting.  I'm not going to go into detail about what it reminds me of, but it's not thin and not thick and...yeah.


I will say that I still have a ton of energy, I don't have any weird cravings, I'm not willing to mug a toddler for a cinnamon roll and I'm not as hungry as pre-challenge. It's great - I used to absolutely devour plates of food previously, but I find myself filling up a lot faster.

I've also been back to living at the gym.  I go after work and can easily find myself losing track of time.  I love it.  When I walk out of the gym, every single little bit of stress I carried into the gym is just left there.  There is something about pushing myself  to the point of exhaustion that makes me almost giddy.

In fact, as I was pounding away on the treadmill yesterday before starting my lifting routine, I found myself thinking about how I got to the point where I am.  I've always been an athletic and active person.  Granted in high school I was the chubby cheerleader, but I have always been incredibly driven and I've loved being active.  I push myself and motivate myself to do more, but yet I slipped into this weird sedentary lifestyle.  That's not me.  I don't know who that person is, but that's not me.

When I am going and doing and drenched with sweat, panting to push myself just 30 more seconds, or just 10 more reps, I'm happy.  I'm accomplished, and there is this little voice inside me that is cheering and screaming her lungs out.  It's like she's been locked away, tucked in a corner for so long that she is finding her voice and celebrating her ass off.

It's a fucking great feeling.

Anyway...yesterday I asked some of my Facebook friends what their favorite songs are to work out or run to.  I got some awesome answers, tweaked my Workout playlist a bit, and added some songs.  Since I was at work I didn't have a chance to listen to a lot of the artists that were suggested (I hope to actually start doing that later this week or this weekend), some of the suggestion did remind me of bands and artists I had forgotten about.

I wanted to share with you my own Workout Playlist.  If you like the songs and use Spotify, please feel free to follow the playlist.  Chances are it'll change since I get bored with music and my tastes are ever changing (seriously - pop to hard rock, offensive rap to EDM, punk to "what the fuck is that?", I'll listen to just about anything), but this is a bit of what I listen to to push me.

I will say that nothing makes me run faster or lift harder than "Enter Sandman".  I blast that through my earphones and I'm in the zone.

I was craving chocolate and needed something a little sweet this past weekend so I decided to make some flourless chocolate cookie balls.  They're fantastic. Seriously. Absolutely fantastic.  I love them so hard.

And since I love you so hard, here's the recipe.

Flourless Oatmeal Chocolate Balls (makes 28 or so...depending on how much dough you eat while making these bad boys)

3 medium bananas, overripe
2 c. plain oats (I used Quaker old fashioned oats, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
1/3 c. all natural, no sugar added applesauce
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. all natural creamy peanut or almond butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.

2. Mash bananas in a large bowl until relatively smooth.

3. Add oats, applesauce, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and vanilla, mixing well.  Allow to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

4. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonful onto a nonstick cookie sheet (I used a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat) and bake for 10-12 minutes.

5. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for about 1 week... if they even last that long.
For dinner Monday night, I made the spice rubbed fish that I had a couple of weeks ago.  The seasoning on the fish was ridiculous.  This time instead of topping it with the orange-avocado salsa, I tried a blueberry and strawberry jicama salsa that was out of this world. If you'd like the recipe for the fish, click above or here.  The new salsa follows!

Strawberry and Blueberry Jicama Salsa
Oohhh so patriotic!  This salsa is all red, white, and blue up in your face and goes great on seafood, chicken, burgers, chips, or just on a spoon while you shovel it in your mouth.

1 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. diced strawberries
1 c. diced jicama
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
2 T. minced jalapeno (stemmed and seeded and more or less depending on how much spice you like)
Juice of 1 lime

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.

2. Refrigerate until you're ready to eat yo food.

And one more (bonus!) recipe I stumbled upon and tweaked a bit.

Cilantro, Garlic, and Lemon Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops
Sometimes I think pork gets a bad rep.  Sure you've got fattier delicious bits o' pork like bacon or boston butt, but for the most part, pork can be good for you!  If you select the right cut, it is loaded with protein and pretty low in fat.

And while the pork chops I selected weren't the leanest cuts (it's what the grocery store had), I really like to grill and I managed to trim the fat off of my cut.  Bonus?  Try this rub on chicken or a tenderloin roast and dazzle your own pants off.

Fun party fact to wow your friends:  There are actually 5 different pork chop cuts. Pick the one that best suits your cooking needs.

3-4 pork chops, 3/4" thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. extra virgin olive oil (you can also use grapeseed oil)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Chop the garlic and cilantro and add to a bowl.  Whisk in lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper until you have a thin, wet rub.  Taste and add more of any particular ingredient to get the rub the way you like it.

2. Rub both sides of your chops with the mixture.  Give them a lot of love here. Massage them like you're on a third date.

3. Place your rubbed and relaxed chops in the fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes while you prep your grill.

4. Clean the grate on your grill.  Seriously. There is nothing worse than a dirty grate with last week's leftover barbecue sauce on it.  You just made massage-love to your porkchops. Give them some respect.

5. Get your grill nice and hot.  Oil the grate and grill your chops over direct heat, turning once to medium-rare doneness.  Typically this takes about 5 to 6 minutes per side.   Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes.

Only a few more days left of the challenge.  This weekend Chris has a friend from Germany coming into town. We'll be hosting him and a few other people for a cookout before heading out Saturday night.  I'm already planning recipes and making out shopping lists.  I'm getting excited about the stuff we're going to be cooking.

What a nerd.

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