Monday, February 10, 2014

Full Body Strength and Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Well, well, well, today turned out to be quite the day! Yesterday, Terry asked me what I would do with my day off (school is on holiday--my district splits up Presidents' Day into two 3-day weekends), and I really wasn't sure. But that never worries me.

As I mentioned this morning, I ate a pancake for breakfast and then puttered around the house--dishes, changing the sheets, playing with Scout--until it was time to meet Jenn for a workout. We warmed up with a lap around the park (maybe a fifth of a mile?) and then completed the following full-body strength workout twice through:

One minute on, 15 seconds rest

  • Walking lunges
  • Push ups
  • Plank (or other core work of choice)
  • Plie squats
  • Bench dips
  • Step ups (right leg) with biceps curls
  • Step ups (left leg) with overhead press
  • Plank (or other core work of choice)

Now, Jenn is getting over being sick and I'm almost six months pregnant, so twice through was plenty.  I also modified for myself:

  • Push ups on my knees
  • Stationary lunges instead of step ups (my balance isn't what it used to be)
  • "Resting plank" (this is my own phrase)--instead of holding for a full minute, I drop my knees but keep the plank position every ten seconds or so

You can kick up the intensity, though:

  • Complete the workout a third time
  • Tack on a cardio or HIIT workout
  • Increase your weights (just make sure you'll maintain form--one minute is a long time!)
  • Add dumbbells to your walking lunges and/or plie squats
We felt decently fatigued after two rounds and enjoyed working the entire body in just ten minutes per round. Hope you like it!

I also had to run a few errands. Terry and I switched off cable in our apartment (we just weren't watching about 95% of the channels and didn't feel the need to pay for them anymore), so I dropped off the cable box, and then I needed a few items for dinner. Sadly, Trader Joe's parking lot looked insane, so I went to Ralph's instead, but that turned out to be a happy accident because some of my favorite cereal was on sale! No, it's not officially "real food," but it's a hell of a lot better than most cereals out there. And since I've been craving cereal, I have to get my fix every few weeks!

(If you're a Cinnamon Toast Crunch fan, the "Cinnamon Crunch" is a much better alternative.)

Before I enjoyed my cereal (ahem, two bowls), I chose a tuna "pizza" and carrots for lunch:

Half a whole wheat pita, toasted with some havarti cheese, topped with tuna salad

But today's real treat was dinner! I mentioned to Terry last weekend that I feel like I've struggled to eat enough servings of fruit and vegetables every day. I have no problem with protein, grains, and dairy, but I need more produce. So dinner tonight was lettuce wrap tacos!

I often notice that--while tacos are not an especially unhealthy food choice--the vegetable-to-meat ratio can be a little sad, especially at restauraunts. I love ground beef tacos, but I always feel like it's so easy to add veggies to the meat, which is what I did here.

Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Serves 4-6
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce, rinsed, leaves separated
  • 1 lb. ground turkey, beef, chicken, whatever you want (aim for organic when possible)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bell peppers (I chose red and green)
  • 1-2 cups black beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons Mexican spice mix: 
  • Preferred toppings for tacos (see ideas below)
Finely chop your onions. I usually get lazy and make it a rough chop, but you know what kind of texture you prefer. In a large pan, heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat. Throw in the onion and let it sweat for a few minutes, stirring here and there. Meanwhile, chop your peppers. Add those to the skillet. Let the vegetables cook on medium for about 5 minutes. Then store the cooked peppers and onions in a dish so you can use the same skillet to cook your ground meat.

Add your ground meat to the pan to brown. You'll want it to cook almost all the way through, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook everything. Next, add in your spices with about half a cup of water. (The water will cook out, but it helps bring the flavors together and keeps the mixture moist.) Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the flavors hang out for a bit--at least 15 minutes on low. 

If you're making this veggie-meat mixture ahead of time, you can stop here, refrigerate for up to three days (in a sealed container) and reheat when you're ready to serve. If you're going to serve immediately, get your toppings going while the pan simmers away.

For toppings, you can get creative, but I suggest:
  • Sliced avocado
  • Diced tomatoes (tomatoes aren't so good this time of year, so we skipped it)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Finely chopped jalapeno
  • Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • Salsa or hot sauce of your choice
Use a big leaf of Romaine as your "tortilla" and pile on the meat mixture with black beans and any toppings you like. 

Anyone notice the baby brain incident here? I forgot the black beans.

This recipe was just a simple, delicious, quick way to load up on several different vegetables (onion, peppers, lettuce, plus avocado) all at once, with plenty of protein, too. Since I'm not struggling to eat my fill of carbs (pancakes, cereal, bread, pita, AND dessert all in one day is not an unusual occurrence around here), I didn't mind skipping the tortilla in favor of more vegetables.

Off to watch some Olympics before bed! Happy Tuesday to you!


Post a Comment