Hi, everyone! I know I kind of went off the radar for the last two-ish weeks. I’ve been a busy little birthday-loving bee, to say the least.
Birthday Weekend Recap
Last Saturday marked my 25th birthday. Friday night, Ryan and I had a fancy dinner out in west Austin. Lobster macaroni and cheese and fried avocado didn’t fit my macros for the day, but I enjoyed every last bite nonetheless. Special occasions aren’t necessarily an “excuse” to go overboard and binge, but I still wanted to try dishes that sounded enticing (which, at restaurants, usually means they’re higher in fats/carbs). I ordered whatever I wanted, devoured about half of my portions, boxed the leftovers up, and moved on with my life. In my perspective, I know that I make the decisions around what food I put into my body. 90-95% of the time, I stick to my macros and eat healthy, whole foods. I don’t have anxiety about the other 5-10%. I still try to order things that are “healthier” when we do have date nights (for instance, I’ll order a grilled chicken dish before getting any pasta with a super-heavy sauce, mainly because I know that the latter option would make me feel sluggish and nauseous after eating it), but I know that the key to creating the life-long habit of making healthy choices is all about balance. Feeling guilty about food is not a healthy mentality.
Saturday morning, Ryan woke me up at 5:30AM by singing me Happy Birthday en español before he went to work. (Typical.) A few hours later, I was off to boot camp for a butt-kicking birthday workout with LOTS of birthday burpees included. To my surprise, at the end of the workout, my mom, her boyfriend, and my coach had set up a brunch buffet in the Synergy office. My sweet mom had made several of my recipes (blueberry oatmeal bake, bacon and egg muffins, sausage casserole, and banana protein muffins) for all of my boot camp family to enjoy as a post-workout meal. It. Was. Awesome. To top it off, my coach got me a pair of Versa Grips as a birthday gift. I’ve been using them all week, and I don’t know how I ever lifted without them! I can go heavier on lat pull downs, bicep curls, and pretty much any other movement that is really dependent on my grip. Pull-ups are much less terrifying with them, too. :o)
After boot camp, it was off to the spa for me. I spent the rest of the day getting massaged, styled, and dolled up (which are things I normally don’t make time for). I can’t even express how much I loved being able to RELAX. I got my ‘do fixed, had my makeup done at MAC, and even bought a new pair of heels (NOT Nikes!). In college, this was a totally regular weekend. Last Saturday, it seemed so incredibly foreign, but I still had a blast. That night, Ryan and my mom arranged a “surprise” party at Top Golf. We had a buffet with the healthiest options possible and a few bays rented for us to hang out, hit balls, eat, and enjoy the company. To everyone that was a part of this special day: THANK YOU for making it the best birthday I’ve ever had. Seriously. It was perfect, and I won’t ever forget it.
Maple-Sriracha Salmon and Grilled Zucchini
I never used to consider myself a fish-lover, and to be quite honest, I usually only order shrimp or oysters on occasion. Salmon is almost never something that I choose to cook or order for myself. This recipe is the only exception. As a bonus, you just need about 20-30 minutes of marinating for the flavor to really pull through a 5 ounce filet. This has quickly become a favorite for myself and friends that I cook for on a regular basis.
Tips: DON’T SKIP THE ZUCCHINI! It’s so simple and delicious. If you have a grill, it’s so easy to throw everything on at once. If you don’t have a grill, roast everything in the oven at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
Note: The macros/details listed below are for the full meal: 5oz. salmon filet, 1/2c brown rice, and 1 sliced/grilled zucchini.
Serves: 1 full meal
Cook time: 40 minutes (25 marinating, 15 grilling)
- 5oz salmon filet
- 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 small zucchini
- Low-sodium Lawry’s seasoning salt, to taste
- Ground pepper, to taste
- Garlic powder, to taste
- Parsley, to taste
- 1/2 c brown rice, cooked
- Combine Sriracha, maple syrup, and lime juice in a bowl. Add the salmon and marinate for 20-30 minutes
- While your salmon is marinating, preheat grill to medium (or oven to 425 degrees F)
- Slice the ends off of your zucchini, then slice into 1/4″ slices lengthwise (I used a mandolin — so easy). Place all slices in a large bowl
- Sprinkle generously with seasoning salt, pepper, garlic, and a little parsley
- Spray your grill down and lay your zucchini slices onto the grill horizontally
- Throw the salmon on the grill
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning everything (zucchini slices and salmon) once midway through
- Serve salmon on top of brown rice with zucchini on the side
PrettyFit Box Review
A couple weeks back, I stumbled upon a website for something kind of like NatureBox, but with a bigger focus on fitness. I’d been waiting for something like this ever since NatureBox, Bark Box, and all of the other “Box”-type companies gained popularity a while back, so I IMMEDIATELY signed up for it. They featured a Protein Pack for August with several items that I’d already tried and loved along with a few others that I’d had my eye on for a while. After weeks of (impatiently) waiting, I finally got my first PrettyFit Box in the mail yesterday. Here’s the low-down on everything that they shipped me! (And no, this post isn’t sponsored. I know I’m always looking for fun new products to try, so I want to share my unbiased opinion with all of you who are in the same boat.)
FlapJacked Protein Pancake Mix (Buttermilk)
This was one of the items I’ve been wanting to try for MONTHS, but never got around to actually ordering it on my own. (Thus, the awesomeness of sample boxes like PrettyFit.) I got a sample pack of Buttermilk and tried them out before lifting this morning. The best part about these is that they’re a “just add water” product — all you have to do is add water, mix it together, let is sit for a few minutes so that it thickens, then pour it onto a lightly greased pan over low heat and cook them like you would any other pancakes.
The verdict: SO MUCH EASIER than my usual whey protein/oat flour/applesauce/stevia/etc. pancakes, and much simpler clean-up. I’ll be ordering the Cinnamon Apple flavor from FlapJacked once this sample size runs out. Sounds deliciously appropriate for the beginning of Fall. :o)
Chike Protein Coffee
I’d seen this product on Instagram before, but I was skeptical and never ordered it. Turns out I’m obsessed with this stuff. I’ve been cutting coffee out of my morning routine for the last few weeks because I keep forgetting to grind up more beans. Conveniently, I’ve had individual packets of protein coffee for my enjoyment the past two mornings. Y’all, the flavor of this stuff is on point. I used a regular shaker bottle, ice, 1/2c unsweetened almond milk, and 1c cold water the last two mornings. Perfection, and it’s got 20g of protein per packet. My only gripe is that it’s a little difficult to mix, but a blender would solve that problem.
The verdict: ordering in bulk. Forever. Sample packs are $2.50 each here.
AMIN.O. Energy Sample Packets (Green Apple)
These weren’t included in the Protein Pack as advertised. Sadly, I think PrettyFit ran out of the protein cereal they were supposed to send. (Major bummer, considering that was the one item that I was most excited to try.) However, these didn’t disappoint! They came in a flavor that I normally wouldn’t order (green apple), but I love love love the taste. It’s a welcome change from my usual fruit punch. I drink aminos during workouts to keep me fueled, focused, and help with recovery. I’m convinced that this stuff helped me dominate back/biceps yesterday and pushed me through one of the toughest (in a good way) workouts I’ve had in a while. This stuff makes me feel like Super Woman.
The verdict: new favorite. I’m pretty glad they didn’t send the cereal, actually. :o) I’ll be ordering this through bodybuilding.com on the regular.
Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar
Favorite Quest bar ever. I’ve tried every single flavor, and nothing beats this one (except maybe a broiled Cookie Dough Quest bar. Maybe). I scarfed this down as I was examining the remaining contents of the box. Bonus points: they sent a cute little Quest Recipe Book in the box, too! You guys already know about my love for Quest bars. No verdict is necessary here.
Protein Bakery Minis
No shame — Ryan and I split 3 of these for dessert last night. We tried the Black & White Mini Blondie, the Peanut Butter Blondie, and the Peanut Butter Brownie. We both agreed that they’re not anywhere near as good as my homemade blondies, but they do the job of satisfying a sugar craving.
The verdict: I’ll stick to making my own blondies. These were so-so, but not phenomenal.
Top Secret Shaker Bottle
I have an embarrassing amount of blender bottles in my cabinets. I’ll probably give this one away or leave it in my gym bag.
NLA Her Whey (Chocolate Eclair)
I’d ordered and tried this before, along with the Vanilla Cupcake flavor. If you’re looking for a Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, absolutely DELICIOUS whey protein powder, I highly, highly recommend NLA’s Her Whey. I don’t know what it is about this flavor, but I think it’s my favorite protein powder in the books. It mixes evenly (zero chunks when you mix it with ice and water!) and doesn’t have a weird aftertaste. Plus, I’ve baked with it — works like a charm. 28g of protein per 2 scoops! NLA is quickly becoming one of my favorite supplement lines out there.
The verdict: I’ll absolutely reorder this stuff. I add one scoop to my overnight proats for breakfast on leg days.
Overall, I’m a big fan of these boxes (so far). An added plus: the pamphlet that they send in the box gives a detailed description of each item, recipes, and a workout routine from the box curator. So convenient.
Next month’s pack has a ton of stuff from About Time, which I’ve never tried before. I’m already excited to get it in the mail. :o) If you want to give PrettyFit a try, order through this link to get $10 off your first shipment!