Chicken Burrito Bowls

These bowls are not only super easy to make but they are packed full of flavor and as you all know – flavor is an important element of any recipe for me! I’ve been wanting to try these for a while now and I’m so glad I did.

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I made these for the week along with some steak and peppers (which I will post as well) because they use a lot of the same ingredients and by pairing the 2 recipes together this week, I was able to make sure that nothing went to waste.

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The only thing I would change with this recipe is to add thicker chunks of onions as opposed to thin slices because they shrink up in the oven.

Chicken Burrito Bowls

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 orange pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, sliced into strips (I didn’t have a yellow pepper so I substituted for green)
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lime cut into 4 wedges
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, divided
  • 1/4 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Line a baking sheet with foil (trust me you don’t want to skip this step, it makes a HUGE difference when it’s time to clean up 😉 ) and place chicken, peppers, and onions on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the taco seasoning over the chicken breasts and then turn them over and sprinkle the remaining seasoning over them. Finally, season the veggies with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 30-40min. or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

While the chicken is baking, cook the brown rice and divide it between 4 containers. Once the chicken is done and cooled cut into slices. Top each container with a scoop of black beans, cooked peppers, onions, and sliced chicken. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Enjoy immediately or if meal prepping you can store in sealed tight containers for up to 4 days in the fridge.

*If you are not eating dairy free or lactose intolerant than you can add some shredded cheddar cheese to the bowls as well

**Adding salsa to your bowl is another great way to amp up the flavor in this dish

Nutritional Information (per 1 serving):

Calories=308, Fat=8.8g, Carbs=47.3g, Fiber=3.5g, Sugar=3.7g

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Better Late Than Never!

Wow! I honestly cannot believe that is has been 2 weeks since the final weigh-in of the 6-week challenge!!!!!. I have been so busy battling an infection, studying for a massive exam and volunteering for an upcoming event that I haven’t had the time to get on here and provide an update on my final weigh-in.

So let’s get right to it…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Right before the final week of the challenge, I noticed a small lump that had formed at the base of my right breast. I didn’t think much of it because I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa which essentially is just a skin disease that is known for producing inflamed and swollen lumps. I’ve never had a lump in that area before but was fairly confident that was what I was dealing with and although it was painful, it posed no actual harm. Turns out I was wrong in my diagnosis and within 3 days the lump (which I now know was a sebaceous cyst) had burst internally and infected all of the surrounding breast tissue. I was given some heavy duty antibiotics and a referral to see a general surgeon about “next steps”. This, of course, all had to happen the weekend before my final week of the challenge. I was so upset that I couldn’t work out in that final week. I had come so far and was doing so well and to not be able to finish strong like I had intended was incredibly hard on me. I didn’t expect to feel so defeated but I did. I don’t think I realized until that moment just how much this challenge had meant to me.

I will admit that I did let my emotions get the best of me and my food choices in that last week were less than stellar. I suppose at the time that I felt it wouldn’t matter because I had already “lost” the challenge. I allowed myself to feel that way for a few days before taking a long hard look in the mirror and deciding that I had come too far to let some muscle infection undue all my hard work over the past 5 weeks. There was no way I was missing out on my final weigh-in and I messaged Josh to let him know that despite the fact I couldn’t participate in any classes, I wanted to finish this challenge. Josh was incredibly supportive and understanding during my last week and encouraged me to complete the challenge by showing up for my final weigh-in.

I arrived at the gym that day feeling determined to finish this challenge but with no real hope that I would meet the 20lb weight loss goal. I had assumed that my inactivity and poor food choices in that last week were enough to ensure my failure and AGAIN I would be wrong……………………………………………..

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I stepped on the scale and nearly fell over when I saw the numbers appear on the display! I had lost exactly 20lbs! I made my goal! I succeeded in what I set out to do and at that moment I couldn’t have been happier!

I had already made the decision to sign on with Josh and GFN and I am continuing my regular workout schedule 3 times a week along with following the nutrition plan. I will continue to post updates as well as recipes as I go. I hope you find them helpful or inspiring…… or both 😉

3rd Weigh-In!

This weekend was my 3rd weigh-in which would mark the 4-week point in the challenge. I can’t believe how fast its flown by. I only have 2 more weeks to go. I am proud of everything I have accomplished so far on this challenge and it was an easy decision to make to stay on this journey with Josh and the entire GFN family. So despite the fact that the challenge itself may end in 2 weeks, my journey is just beginning and I have no intention of stopping!

Now concerning this weekend’s weigh-in, I was super nervous going into it. I had a 13lb drop the first 2 weeks which was a bit intimidating because it was going to be tough to match. I also had a minor setback after the Playhouse event in the beginning of week 3 so I was worried that may have hindered my progress.

Nerves aside, I arrived for my appointment and headed over to the scale with Coach Corey and Josh. I stepped on the scale and kept my eyes straight ahead (silently praying that the number went down and not up), as is my typical routine for weigh-ins. Josh and Corey looked at the scale, Corey wrote the number down in the tracking book and they proceded to confirm the math. I stepped off the scale and prepared for the progress pics which is when they confirmed I was down another 5lbs!!!!!!

Now I know this is great and I should be proud (believe me I am) but in that initial moment I was slightly disappointed that it was ONLY 5lbs. Josh and Corey could see as much and it wasn’t until they took the time to explain to me that 5lbs in 2 weeks may not seem like much if you only think of it like that……..BUT……… they reminded me that in total I have lost 17.5lbs in 4 weeks (that’s an average of just over 4lbs/week!!!) which is amazing and something I should be very proud of. When it was put into those terms and I changed my mindset, I could see what an accomplishment that really was. The other crazy part is that those 17.5lbs were fat – I’ll let you think about that for a second – 17.5lbs of fat shed from my body. Josh pulled up some photos on his phone to show me just how much that is and I couldn’t believe it! (seriously, google it!). I certainly felt more motivated and proud walking out of that weigh-in then I did walking in lol.

So here’s to kicking ass the next 2 weeks and crushing this 20lbs goal. I know I can do it and I now know that I’m physically stronger and healthier than ever before. For the first time in YEARS, I am not dreading the summer and trying to plan out how to survive it!

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BBQ Honey Mustard Chicken & Shann’s Potatoes!

This weekend was a crazy one with my daughter starting gymnastics, my weigh-in and Mother’s Day! I did, however, make time for groceries and meal prep so that I would be prepared for the week ahead. I decided to take a trip to Costco because I hadn’t been in a while and some of my fellow challengers recommended some of their products. I may have gone a bit overboard but it was well worth it lol. I ended up leaving with a giant package of stewing beef, a package of haddock fillets, a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts and a package of lean ground beef already formed into patties for grilling. I was seriously excited for all this meat as it would last me quite a while and was far cheaper than buying it individually at the grocery store. I have already prepped more of the beef & broccoli from last week because it was a huge hit with the entire family, so now we can enjoy that through the week when no one feels like cooking. We pan-fried the haddock for dinner on Sunday night which turned out great and paired well with brown rice and green beans. My favorite meal of the entire weekend though ended up being the bbq honey mustard chicken and my famous potatoes (not ‘world’ famous, but they should be lol). Since it turned out so well, I thought I would share 🙂

The first thing I will mention is about the chicken…… I learned a trick this weekend that I had never heard of previously. Chicken can be a difficult meat to grill depending on the thickness and shape, as well as which meat you are using (breast, thigh etc.). If you are using chicken breast, which this recipe does, you could run into issues with one end of the breast being thicker than the other which can result in the thinner part getting overcooked by the time the thicker part is done. To prevent this, simply put your (fresh or thawed) chicken breasts in a freezer bag and beat with a meat tenderizer if you have one (I don’t so I used a rolling pin instead). The goal is NOT to flatten out the breast, you simply want to try and achieve an even thickness across the whole breast.

Now, onto the fun stuff :)……..

Ingredients you will need for this recipe:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 because mine were from Costco and were quite large if using smaller pieces add an extra piece)
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 4-5 medium sized red potatoes
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper chopped (I usually use green pepper as well but didn’t have any on hand this time)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp turmeric

 

Directions:

Combine the apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until mixed well. Place chicken pieces in a large freezer bag and add marinade. Carefully squeeze out as much access air as possible and seal. Place in the fridge and allow the chicken to sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.

While you are waiting for the chicken, wash potatoes and cut into circular chips (as if you were making scalloped potatoes) about 1/2″ in thickness. Combine cut potatoes, onion, peppers, remaining olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper,  Italian seasoning, and turmeric in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix ingredients together ensuring that potatoes and peppers are coated evenly. Once the mixture is mixed up well, transfer into a foil pack or wrap tightly in foil, ensuring it’s sealed all the way around. Place on a pre-heated at medium-high heat. Turn foil over every 10 minutes to prevent charring on one side. Potatoes should be ready in 30 minutes or so.

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Once potatoes have been on for about 10 minutes or so, take the chicken from marinade bag and place on the grill over medium-high heat until done (grilling times will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, the internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat should read 165°F (74°C). Remove from grill and enjoy!

 

 

Challenge Friendly Chili

I am a huge fan of intense flavors! It’s probably the reason why I loved condiments so much. I had no idea then how bad they were for you and used far too much on a regular basis. Since starting the 6-week challenge with Josh at GoFitnessNiagara I have learned a lot about the foods I used eat and how to make healthy substitutions for the foods I loved. Flavour is something I continue to work on and this weekend gave me the opportunity to experiment with making chili. Anytime I had chili in the past it was made with a prepackaged seasoning but this time I thought I would be creative and adventurous! The outcome was fantastic and the best part was that it was sooo easy! Never again will I buy prepackaged seasoning.

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Ingredients:

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can spaghetti sauce (I used Neal Brothers Organic Roasted Garlic)
1 can red kidney beans (rinsed)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1/2 red onion chopped
1 baby red bell pepper chopped
1 baby orange bell pepper chopped
1lb ground turkey/beef (browned)

Homemade Chili Seasoning:
2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder                                   1/8 tumeric

Combine all ingredients into a crockpot, mix well, and cook on low for 4-6hrs.

Makes 11 servings of 1 cup each.

Nutrition information per serving: Cal=255, Fat=7.8g, CarbS=30.7, Protien=18.1g

Beef & Broccoli w/challenge friendly sauce

This recipe turned out AMAZING and was super easy. It may seem tedious to boil the meat for so long and some would argue that you can overcook the meat but if you want fall-apart-in-your-mouth tender beef pieces then I strongly encourage you to try it!          Of course, you are always free to use a different cut of meat and cooking method, it’s all about what you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of stewing beef
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 2 cups of brown rice, cooked

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3  garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour (optional if you want to thicken your sauce)

 

In a deep frying pan or wok boil beef on med-high heat for a minimum of 4 hours, making sure to add water frequently so that the meat doesn’t dry out. The longer you boil the meat the more tender it will become. I prefer my beef to be very tender so I usually boil the meat for about 5 hours. Once the meat is cooked to your liking remove from pan and broccoli. Simmer broccoli in water for 4-5 minutes (alternately you can steam your broccoli separately and add to pan once done). While broccoli is cooking add all ingredients (except the tapioca flour) for the sauce to a small saucepan and simmer. Mix 2 tsp of cold water to the tapioca flour (if using) and add to sauce and continue to simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness. *if you’re not using the tapioca flour you can continue to simmer the sauce a little longer and it will thicken up a bit on its own. Add sauce to meat and broccoli and mix together. Serve over brown rice. I made it into 3 portions, but you can reduce it down to 4 easily.                                                                            If meal prepping: divide rice into 3 portions of 2/3 each and then divide beef and broccoli mixture evenly between the 3 dishes.

Nutrional information per serving (based on 3 servings):  Cal=579, Fat=11.7g, Carbs=66.8g, Protien=52.5g

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Halfway Mark

Last Friday marked the halfway point in the 6-week challenge for me and I should have been celebrating with my 9th workout out of the 18 required, however, my body had different ideas. My knee had been swollen and painful for the 2 days prior and that morning there was just no way that I would make it through a workout (even with all the modifications). I’m surprised at how disappointed I was and how thrown off my day became from missing one of my early morning workouts. If someone would have told me 4 short weeks ago that I would be getting up early for 5:45am workouts three times a week, actually enjoying it AND be disappointed if I miss one, I would have told them they were sadly mistaken.

This past week has been a challenge in terms of food and energy (which I’m positive are directly related). The weekend before was so busy that I didn’t have a chance to do my normal grocery shopping and there was zero time for meal prep so I was left with a week where I was winging it ALOT! I didn’t really cheat which is a bonus (unless you count the few bites of my mom’s amazing chopped salad which had caesar dressing in it) but I did come in under my calorie goal for quite a few days. I know some of you are thinking “shouldn’t that be a good thing?” but unfortunately it’s not. I struggled to consume 1000 calories per day for a good 4 days and it had a HUGE effect on my energy, motivation, and alertness. I’m sure you’ve heard the old fitness saying “Your body is like a car – if you don’t ‘fuel’ it with the ‘good stuff’ then it won’t perform at optimal levels”. Well if you don’t put enough ‘fuel’ in your body than it won’t perform at all. You can actually stall your progress by not consuming a sufficient amount of calories and nutrients daily (I’m crossing my fingers that the past week hasn’t set me back too much).

This week I am determined to CRUSH! I spent most of my weekend meal prepping so that I would not be caught unprepared again. I kept the menu as simple as possible and tried to choose meals that were loaded with flavor and that also freeze well. I decided on Challenge Friendly Chili, Beef and Broccoli with Challenge Approved sauce served over brown rice, Chicken Fajita Bowls, and as a sweet treat – Pine-berry Fruit Salad                     *I will post all recipes from this week in the recipe section 🙂

I woke up with renewed motivation for the week ahead and that was further strengthened after this morning’s core class. I survived my first ever Josh Green Board Challenge and (according to my Fitbit) burned just over 600 cals! For those who don’t know what a board challenge is, it’s basically where you have the whole class (minus warm up and cool down) to complete 1 full circuit which consists of about 12 different activities. You have to complete the repetitions (reps) for ALL activities/exercises in order to complete the challenge. You have your choice of 30, 50, 70 or 90 reps. I chose 30 as a ‘newbie’ and was surprised that I had enough time in the end to start another circuit of 30 reps. I was sure that I wouldn’t make it through the entire circuit, some of those exercises were HARD!! Next time I might have to push myself to do 50 reps 🙂

I’m feeling awesome this morning and I can’t wait for Wednesday’s full body day – I’m even pulling a double to make up my missed class from last week. Here’s hoping I can still walk to the car after the last class that day lol.

Happy Monday Everyone!

 

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers

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