Welcome to week 5 of the Black Book Challenge! Great job everyone. Here is our schedule of workouts for this week.
DAY 1 – Rest Day – Today, your main focus is to eat wholesome foods, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s rest. Do something you enjoy and focus on your mental clarity.
DAY 2 – Five Alive – This workout is a full body challenge with major focus on the booty and core! Don’t be afraid to go heavy with your weights, and push yourself to complete 3-5 full rounds.
DAY 3 – Core Crazy– This workout is a pretty old one from when I first started fitness blogging. You do not need any equipment for this interval challenge, but remember to push at your MAX effort for each interval to get the most out of it. Work those abs baby!
DAY 4 – Cardio – Today, your main focus is to get some quality cardio. I want to see 30 minutes of intense, heart rate elevating cardio of your choice.
DAY 5 – Rest Day – Today, your main focus is to eat wholesome foods, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s rest. Do something you enjoy and focus on your mental clarity.
DAY 6 – 100 Rep Quickie– This workout is 100 reps of full body shaping goodness. You will not need any equipment, but move quick, because as soon as you complete 100 reps, you’re done!
DAY 7 – Cardio – Today, your main focus is to get some quality cardio. I want to see 30 minutes of intense, heart rate elevating cardio of your choice.
Food prep has become an integral part of my routing at home. I rely on having healthy snacks to take to work or prepary on the fly for myself and my husband. Taking the guess work out of cooking for a few days sets me up for success, and a happy tummy!
These bell peppers are one of my husband’s favorites. I have prepared them several different ways, but want to share this week’s creation with you. The combination of grass fed beef, tomato sauce, garlic and herbs is so comforting, and reminds me of something mom used to make. I hope you enjoy!
BEEF & CAULIFLOWER STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
6 bell peppers
1 lb lean grass fed ground beef
1 small head cauliflower
6 cloves garlic, or 1 clove elephant garlic
1 tbsp Italian herb paste
1 cup brown rice (dry measured)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/2 jar low sugar marinara sauce
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Add 1 cup brown rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer approx. 30 mins, or until all moisture has been absorbed. I am a big fan of this brand, “Better Than Bouillon.” It comes in many flavors, and is great for adding flavor to soups, rice, veggies and more.
Clean bell peppers, cut the tops off, and remove all seeds.
Next, brown ground beef in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and set aside.
Now clean cauliflower well, and cut florets into 2 inch pieces. Add to your food processor and pulse until it becomes similar to rice in size.
Add cauliflower “rice” to non stick skillet with chopped garlic. Saute’ for approx 4 minutes on medium/high heat, or until edged begin to brown.
Add browned beef, herb paste or fresh chopped herbs, cooked rice, and 1/2 jar low sugar tomato sauce to skillet and combine well.
Look for a sauce that is low in fat and sugar, like this one:
Combine mozzarella cheese, and mix well. (Cheese is optional, but adds calcium and a nice melty goodness!)
Spoon mixture evenly into prepared bell peppers.
Bake peppers in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy! These are great re-heated in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Enjoy all week for a well rounded, delicious, home cooked meal!
I love having portable snacks that are high in protein, and easy to prepare in advance. These delicious and simple egg muffins are so versatile, and make the best on the go breakfast. I have prepared these a thousand ways with different vegetable combinations, and they are always a hit.
I hope you enjoy,
TURKEY BACON EGG MUFFINS
Turkey bacon (1/2 package)
1 1/2 cups egg whites
1 cup asparagus (thinly sliced)
1 cup mushrooms (chopped)
Salt & pepper, to taste
Muffin pan (makes 12 muffins)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1/2 package of turkey bacon into half slices, and line muffin pan with turkey bacon in an “X.”
Combine eggs and egg whites with a fork until well mixed. Final mixture should be about 2 1/2 cups.
Next, chop asparagus and mushrooms (or whatever veggies you have) into very small pieces and combine in a bowl.
Pour egg mixture into lined muffin tray, distributing evenly. Now spoon veggie mixture into each cup.
Bake muffins in the oven at 400 for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until eggs set completely.
Serve warm, or reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds, and enjoy any time of day!
DAY 1 – Legs For Days – Get some weight in there for this one, and really challenge your glutes, legs and core. Make sure to keep knees behind toes, and squeeze those glutes with each rep. If you don’t have a sandbag or kettlebell, you may use a dumbell. You may always substitute burpees for KB swings.
DAY 2 – 10 Minute Target: Abs – Today’s focus is all about abs. Use the pre-set interval timer, and push at your maximum effort for each interval. Keep your core engaged and focus on contracting the ab muscles with each rep. Go for 3 rounds if you can!
DAY 3 – Rest Day – Rest up, relax, recover, hydrate, nourish, stretch, etc.. Enjoy yourself!
DAY 4 – Cardio – Today’s focus is to get your heart rate up and keep it up for 30-45 minutes straight. Push yourself!
DAY 5 – Adore Your Core – Today’s workout is a 32 minute HIIT workout designed to burn fat and shape a lean strong core. Get ready to sweat! Push at your max rep for each interval, and don’t forget to breathe.
DAY 6 – Rest Day – Rest up, relax, recover, hydrate, nourish, stretch, etc.. Enjoy yourself!
DAY 7 – 10 Minute Plyo Fat Burn – Today’s workout is a short, intense cardio blast. This workout takes only 10 minutes and requires zero equipment. Try not to stop moving the whole time!
Welcome to Week 2 of our Black Book #2 Challenge! This week, we have 2 rest days, 2 focus/sculpting workouts, and 2 short Interval workouts – plus 1 day of cardio. Are you ready?!
Let’s get to it. :-)
DAY 1: Thighs To The Sky – This workout is designed to sculpt lean strong legs and glutes, with a sprinkling of core and shoulder training. You will need some dumbells, a sandbag or a kettlebell. If you do not have access to weights, use something heavy from around your house or yard! Squeeze through the glutes, press through the heels, keep your back straight, and engage your core!
DAY 2: 10 Minute Target: Shoulders– This workout is a short approach to training your shoulders, back and core, while getting your heart rate up as well. Today we are doing TWO rounds of this circuit – for a 20 minute session in total. Use weights that are moderately challenging for you, as we are going for a high level of reps within each interval.
DAY 3: REST DAY – Use this day to nourish yourself with healthy foods, lots of water, and get enough sleep so you are well rested for tomorrow!
DAY 4: CARDIO – Today’s task is to complete 30 minutes of high intensity cardio. The object here is to get your heart rate up and keep it up for 30 minutes. Get it! Try setting an interval timer to take walking, and every minute, sprint for 15 seconds. Mix it up.
DAY 5: 20 Minute All Over Fat Blast – Today’s workout is an interval style, full body sculpting workout that is designed to burn fat at an accelerated rate. Get some weight in there and really challenge yourself to push at your MAX effort for each interval. If you do not have access to a kettlebell, you may substitute a dumbell. You may also substitute burpees for the kettlebell swings.
DAY 6: REST DAY – Today is your day to relax, stretch, hydrate and nourish yourself!
DAY 7: 10 Minute Full Body HIIT – Today’s workout takes only TEN minutes, but is definitely not for weenies… It will make you sweat!! Push hard for each interval, and go for maximum reps. If you are struggling with the elevated reptiles, leave out the push up and just bring your knees to your elbows, alternating right to left. Smile, you’re having fun! :-):-):-)
When I am traveling, camping, working, or simply just have a busy week, I always turn to this Go-To Chicken Salad recipe. It is so quick to prepare, and I love having a big batch to enjoy for a few days. I usually prepare a few pre-cooked chicken breasts every week by baking them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. You may also use canned chicken meat, but it is always a healthier option to prepare your own so they are free from added sugars, oils and preservatives.
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe.
CHICKEN SALAD LETTUCE WRAPS
You will need:
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1 cup red grapes, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped or sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
1 head butter or Boston lettuce, cleaned
Begin by combining celery, grapes, and chopped almonds in a large mixing bowl.
Next, slice, shred or chop chicken breasts into small pieces and combine into your mixing bowl.
Combine mixture with Greek yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper and mix well.
Serve chicken salad over your cleaned butter lettuce leaves, and enjoy!
Today, we will be preparing everything we need for the next 5 days. Prep time approximately 1.5 hours.
On the menu for the next 5 days: Broccoli soup, Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Pesto Quinoa, Fruit Salad, Oats & Berries, Green Salad w/Black Beans & Chicken, Cilantro Avocado Dressing, Sweet Potato, Grilled Artichokes, Pesto Turkey w/Kale, Chocolate Bananas & Scrambled Egg Wraps.
You will need:
Chicken breasts (3)
1 Cup Quinoa (rinsed)
Broccoli (3 lg. bunches)
Celery (3 cups, chopped)
Onion & Bell Pepper Mixture (2 cups, chopped)
5 Cloves Garlic
Basil & Cilantro (1 bunch ea.)
Berries & Other Fruits
Grapes or Apples (1 cup sliced or chopped)
Butter Lettuce (1 head)
Spring Mix (half container)
1 Can Low Sodium Black Beans (rinsed)
Pine Nuts (sm. bag)
Sweet Potato (1)
Extra Lean Ground Turkey (1 lb)
Kale (1 lg. bunch)
Dark Chocolate Bar
Almond or Peanut Butter
Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Raw Almonds (1/2 cup, chopped)
***Store turkey meat in refrigerator to thaw out, and place kale in fridge until later this week.
To begin, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a pyrex dish with 1/2 inch water, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place dish in oven along with your sweet potato, and set the timer for 35 minutes.
Next, fill a large pot with both artichokes, and fill 3/4 with water. Cover and let boil until artichokes become soft at the base – appx. 45 minutes depending on the size.
Next, get another large pot to make broccoli soup in. Add 2 cups chopped celery, 1 cup chopped carrots, and 1 cup chopped onion, along with 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, & 5 cloves garlic (peeled.) I used the leftover mixture of bell peppers and onions from earlier in the week when we made fajitas!
Sautee all ingredients until they become soft and fragrant. Next add chopped florets of broccoli, 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, and 1/4 bunch fresh basil (stems and all.) Add about 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until broccoli becomes fragrant and slightly soft. Set aside.
I like to use this bullion as seasoning, but you may use whatever spices you like, or whatever you have in your cabinet! I used 3 tablespoons “Better than Bullion,” and salt and pepper to season my soup.
While your soup simmers, and while the chicken, potato and artichokes cook, it’s time to prepare the pesto sauce, fruit salad, chicken salad fixins, and snacks.
Slice all of your fruit and mix together until you have approximately 4 cups of fruit salad. I used blueberries and strawberries. :-)
Next up, grab a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup sliced red grapes or apples, 1 cup chopped celery, and 1/2 cup chopped or sliced raw almonds.
Set mixture aside for later. Next up, gather 3 medium sized containers to pre-make salads in. Add spring mix, carrots, cabbage and cucumber. While you have the carrots handy, portion out 3 small bags for snacks.
Add leaves from 1/2 bunch of remaining cilantro, and rinsed black beans. I chose to leave a small amount of beans off my salad to enjoy with my eggs later on in the week!
Next up, you will need a food processor or blender. We are going to whip up that pesto before the chicken is done!
In the food processor, add remaining fresh basil, including the stems. Add small bag of pine nuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from 2 lemons, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste, approx 3 mins. Transfer mixture into a new bowl, and rinse food processor.
Now it’s time to pull the chicken out of the oven. Leave the potato in there, and turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Set your timer for 35 more minutes.
While the potato and artichokes continue cooking, let’s move on. In a medium sauce pot, add 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 1 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to a simmer and let sit for 25-30 minutes, or until all the moisture is evaporated. This should time well with the remaining cooking time of your potato.
Now it’s time to whip up our soup. Using a blender and a large bowl to store, add soup mixture in batches until it is pureed nicely. I like to add a little nutritional yeast, and any last minute seasonings during this part. We will be eating this yummy soup for the next few days!
We are almost done! It’s time to whip up some dressing for our yummy salads.
Using your food processor, add 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon Ms. Dash fiesta lime, 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil,) all remaining cilantro – leaves and stems, and blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to an airtight container. This stuff makes a great dipping sauce for those carrots, a tasty dressing for salads, or a spread for eggs!
It should be time to take your potato out of the oven. Turn the oven onto broil HI. Take your artichokes off heat, and drain all the water. Pour cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
Add 3/4 of the pesto to your quinoa, and store the remaining pesto in a small container.
Stir quinoa thoroughly and portion into 3 containers.
Now slice your sweet potato into rounds, sprinkle with cinnamon (optional) and store in 2 baggies or tupperwares.
Now slice each artichoke into halves, and using a spoon, remove the inner prickly leaves. Lay halves onto a cookie sheet, and spread a thin layer of your extra pesto sauce onto each one. Store the remaining pesto for dinner later this week. Place artichokes under the broiler for 10 minutes, or until top sides begin to brown. Remove, turn off oven, and store artichokes in a tupperware. I used little tiny baby artichokes, hence the full cookie sheet. You should be left with 4 halves of regular size chokes.
We have 2 more tasks! Great job keeping up. :-) Next up, let’s deal with that cooked chicken. Take 1 breast and store in a plastic bag for dinner in a few days. Use your remaining 2 breasts to finish the chicken salad.
Chop chicken into small shred like pieces and add to bowl of grapes, celery and almonds. Add appx. 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. (If you have it.)
Combine all ingredients with a spoon or fork. Transfer to an airtight container to store.
Clean all butter lettuce leaves, dry on a paper towel, and store in a baggie for quick access.
Our last task for today is dessert! Well done! You will need to cover a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper, and lightly spray or coat with coconut or avocado oil.
Slice bananas and lay out on the cookie sheet. Coat each banana with a small amount of almond butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you so desire. I did. :-) Top each banana with a small piece of your dark chocolate bar. Place tray into freezer for 30 minutes, remove, and transfer bananas to a ziplock back. Store in the freezer until you are ready to eat! YUM.
Alright, guys. I know that was a lot of work, but you have just prepared EVERYTHING you need to eat for the next 5 days straight. Think about how much more productive you can be, and more focused on your workouts too! Now everything is laid out for you, and ready to go at the exact moment you are. :-)
Don’t forget to refer to Part 1 of the food prep to see a daily meal schedule for all this delicious food you’ve prepared.