10 things to help you rock September

Can you BELIEVE it’s September already? Seems like just yesterday it was February (sorry… bad inactivity joke)

In any case, it’s a great time of year for new beginnings! If you’re a student, you’re fresh back to school. If you’re out of school, you might be wrangling tiny humans and getting them into a classroom. But even if you aren’t at all connected with the school schedule during this chapter, it’s still a great time to assess where you are and what you need moving forward.

I’ve had a lot of time to come up with ten new products, but these are all things I’m using currently that I love.

Once again… no money involved here, just my honest opinions!

  1. Instant Pot– I bought this for myself on Amazon Prime Day, and although I’m still learning the mysteries of the Instant Pot, I am obsessed already. It’s so easy. The food is so good! It’s so quick! Expect to see more about it soon!!10 things to rock September
  2. Goal Digger podcast– I won’t lie, finding this podcast is a big part of my new found motivation! I listen to Jenna every morning, and if nothing else, she makes me believe these dreams of mine are possible. If you have any dreams of having a side hustle or owning your own business, you should be listening to this!10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  3. Panera Souffles I KNOW these are not necessarily a healthy breakfast option, but oh my gosh are they delicious!! If you’re looking for something a little different for breakfast, you have to try one.                           10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  4. OPI Iceland collection I picked up a bottle of “Icelanded a bottle of OPI” recently at TJ Maxx, and I’m loving the color. It’s super neutral, which isn’t my go to, but I’m feeling it right now! It’s kind of a purple-y greige, and it makes me feel very polished and put together. 10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  5. Dia Box I started getting a Dia Style Box this Summer, and I must admit, it’s been fun. If you don’t know, Dia boxes are curated personally styled boxes of clothes that get delivered once a month. Dia caters exclusively to plus size women. I really enjoy getting my boxes every month, although I have to be honest- I send most of the clothes back. Often I like the pieces, but they’re just too expensive for me. Still, it’s fun to see the things they pick out, the quality is generally very good, and I like keeping track of what’s stylish. 10 things to help you rock September- www.superheroliving.blog
  6. Kroger Clicklist Wherever you buy your groceries, I imagine there’s some kind of a pick up option- or there will be soon. Y’all. This is a game changer. If you’re busy like I am, this will save you SO MUCH TIME. It’s totally worth the nominal ($5) charge. I can pick out exactly what I want in my Kroger app, then they gather it all up, bring it to me at my car, and I drive off. I can schedule when I want to go and get them within a one hour window. Seriously, it’s so easy, I feel silly when I actually go inside the grocery now. BIG time saver. 10 things to help you rock September
  7. P3 protein packs These are such a great on the go snack or light meal! They come in a lot of different varieties, so I don’t get bored, and it’s so nice to be able to throw one in my bag in the morning and snack on it on my way to the gym after work, or if I get low energy during the day. 10 things to help you rock September
  8. Aerial Silks I expect I’ll do a full post on this sometime soon, because people always have a bunch of questions about it, and frankly I’m kind of obsessed. Here’s the quick rundown though: there’s probably a fitness studio near(ish) you that teaches it. I do NOT have great upperbody strength, but this is totally helping! YES, it’s super fun and exciting. But also, YES, it hurts. I routinely get weird bruises. However, I’m absolutely LOVING it. It’s a totally different type of challenge, unlike anything I’ve ever tried before, and seriously, it is so fun! It’s all women at my studio, and it is such a warm and supportive group. The biggest issue (other than the physical strength) is the mental game- it takes courage to flip yourself upside down holding a piece of fabric! However, it’s helping me trust myself, and that’s beautiful too. 10 things to help you rock September
  9. storyworth Story worth is a serveice that sends a question to the recipient every week, and after a year, it prints the answers, binds them, and sends them to you in a book! I bought a subscription for my grandmother this spring for Mother’s Day, and yes, it was a very thoughtful gift, but also, it has been unexpectedly great to get her answers in my inbox. I can really hear her voice in the answers and I know that will be precious to me forever. If you’re looking for a meaningful gift for a loved one (it’s definitely aimed at older people) it’s a perfect fit. 10 things to help you rock September: www.superheroliving.blog
  10. Mint Who among us doesn’t need a better way to manage money? I know I do!! I like Mint because it’s by quicken, so if you already have a Quicken account, it will share some info. Also, they make it pretty easy to add all your bills, accounts and assets, and then they remind you how you’re doing. I’m definitely still a beginner, but it’s working for me so far! I think I’ve shared about this one before- but it’s so good, it’s definitely worth re-mentioning!

10 things to help you rock September- www.superheroliving.blog

OMP: Super food Tacos

Hi Superheroes! I took the weekend off to unplug a little bit- thank you for that luxury!

But it’s Monday… and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS: Tomorrow is Taco Tuesday. So, in honor of everyone’s favorite midweek party, here’s a recipe for 5 minute tacos that are even pretty good for you.

No, it is not too good to be true. Fair, you have to either prep the ingredients or have them on hand.

But full disclosure, I bought all of these ingredients at the grocery store. And all I had to do tonight was assemble my tacos and chow down.

The crux of this recipe is my favorite deli find: Superfood salad. I get it by the pound at my local Kroger store, but just in case you can’t find it, I have a couple of links to recipes so you can make your own.

If you just don’t want to make your own, any kind of slaw will taste great on this. Trust me, though, it’s worth it.

Superfood salad options: one two (this second one is Pin, but the recipe is in the caption!

If you’re stuck between those two recipes, my personal preference would be the dressings from the first and the ingredients from the second. I think.

Ok, now that you’ve got your superfoods, we can make some tacos.

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Superfood Tacos:

flour tortillas

carnitas (I got some in the meat department at the store, but I’ve made my own in the crockpot, too)

queso cheese

guacamole

your favorite salsa (I’m really into fruit salsas, but savory would be good too!)

and of course, Superfood Salad!

Instructions:

Arrange flour tortillas on a plate or platter. Add a couple of Tablespoons of carnitas, a couple Tablespoons of Superfood Salad, a spoonful of guacamole, a spoonful of salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese to each tortilla. Fold or roll. Eat and live long and healthy.

Superhero Action of the Day: I want to hear about your weekend! What superhero adventures did you get into? Share them to my page on Facebook or #Superheroliving on Instagram!

 

OMP: 4 ingredient pineapple smoothie

Happy Sunday, superheroes! I hope you’ve had amazing, refreshing, restful, adventurous, SUPER weekends.

And now it’s Sunday! If you’re back to the grind tomorrow, YOU CAN DO IT! If you’re less scheduled right now, like me, let’s try to do some productive, healthy stuff this week! Ok? OK! Go team!

This afternoon, Penelope and I went for a long walk. It’s a route we do fairly regularly, but usually first thing in the morning, not at 5 pm. Anyway, when we got about 2/3 of the way home, I started dreaming of something cool and refreshing to drink when I got home. Milkshake…nah. Ice cream run? I really don’t need to do that… Water? Let’s be real, only as a last resort. (I’m not a good water drinker, unfortunately!)

But! I had frozen pineapple, and I just new I could do something with that.  And sure enough, it worked out exactly right for a cold refreshing drink. I started with a cup of water in my blender, and added about 2 cups of frozen pineapple. I started blending that together and then added about 1/2 cup of milk. I’m out of almond milk currently, but I think if I were going to recreate it, I would use 1 1/2 cups of almond milk instead of water and dairy milk. Once I got it all blended together, I added about 2 tsp. of honey, and about a TB of lemon juice. I blended that in a little bit, poured it in a glass and drank up.

It’s sweet, a little tangy, bursting with pineapple flavor, and best of all, really pretty healthy and low calorie! Enjoy!

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4 ingredient pineapple smoothie:

1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or milk of your choice!)

2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

2 tsp. honey

1 TB lemon juice (to taste)

 

Blend together all ingredients until smooth. Pour into tall glass and enjoy! Makes about 24 ounces.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: What’s your favorite summer beverage? Let me know so I can try it out!

Paleo (ish)

In 2015, I did my first Whole30. I was trying to really reset my nutrition, jump start some weight loss and in general, feel more in control without being unhealthy about it (You can read more about my journey with food and fitness here

The Whole30, if you aren’t familiar, is a nutritional reset. For 30 days, participants eat no grains, no sugar, no dairy, and no beans or legumes, as well as some food additives and stuff. There is a ton of information about how and why to do a whole30, so I won’t get into all of that here. Check the website if you want to, and I would encourage you to do so.

I have had very solid, steady results with my whole30s. I now do one every spring. I sleep better, I have more energy, I’m less bloated, my menstrual cycle is less annoying, my skin clears up like magic, I usually lose a little weight (8-11 pounds over the month), and overall, I just feel… better. It’s difficult, sure. But that’s another point in its favor, for me. I tend to be a very easy going person. I’m an astoundingly unpicky eater, so I very rarely express firm opinions when people ask me where we should go for dinner. If my food isn’t exactly what I ordered, I’ll eat it anyway. Even when I’m cooking for myself, I find that I will eat something even if I don’t love it. So it is very, very good for me, one month of the year, to say “I can’t eat this and I need you to accommodate me.” It isn’t easy, but it’s a good exercise for me.

The hardest thing, then, is the period following my annual whole30. All of a sudden, I can eat all these foods I love, and so I often overdo it, and end up at the beginning of June, frustrated and off balance nutritionally.

Here’s what I do to help with that: I eat paleo at home, and then, when I’m out, I make a decision that works for me in the moment.

What do I mean I “eat paleo”?

I avoid grains: no sandwiches, pastas, rice, etc.

I avoid added sugars: this one is pretty obvious, but also really hard! I try to limit and avoid adding sugar to recipes but I also try to avoid eating things with a lot of sugar in them.

I avoid dairy: I use almond milk, I tend to cook without cheese, etc.

So what do I eat?

I eat lots of vegetables. Leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, you name it, I eat it, when it comes to veggies.

I eat lots of meat. Almost all of my meals have at least one serving of animal based protein, from eggs to seafood to steaks. When I can afford it, I try to eat meat that has fewer chemicals, and that was raised and slaughtered humanely. Someday, when I win the lottery, I’ll eat all local meat. But for now, I have to make due sometimes.

I eat lots of fruit! A lot of people think I don’t eat fruit, but I LOVE fruit. Yes, fruit has sugar in it, but you know, a banana is better for us than a snickers bar. And fruit is PACKED with vitamins and nutrients. So too bad, I love it.

I eat nuts and seeds. Almonds, cashews, walnuts- and anything made from them- are fair game! Almond milk and almond butter are staples in my fridge.

So, why do I eat this way? Well, eating paleo acts as a road map for me. It helps me avoid foods that i know don’t help me feel my best. I have a lot of trouble counting calories without it turning unhealthy, and so eating paleo is a way for me to eat without counting and still feel like I’m on top of my nutrition.

But I’m far from perfect about it, and that’s ok. I love ice cream. I love ice cream so much I’ve been known to eat it for meals, eat it twice a day, eat my own and then finish someone else’s. And I refuse to live in a world where I deprive myself of something I love- and for what reason? So it isn’t “good” for my body. Ice cream is good for the soul. The same is true of pizza. Pizza is a wonderful invention.

But I know I can’t eat like that all the time. It’s all about balance. And for me, I try to find that balance by eating paleo (ish)

 

Superhero action of the day: where do you need to add balance in your life? Is there something you can make into a “not all the time” food without feeling miserable about it all the time?

OMP: Baked sweet potato chips

Hey superheroes!

It’s Summer time! And you know what I love about Summer? Yes, other than the long days of sunlight, endless sundresses, perfect outdoor weather (especially early Summer), and a respite from the school year? Summer food. There’s something so… lovely about grilling out, corn on the cob, watermelon, and lemonade. Maybe it’s my inner midwesterner coming out, but cookout food is the best food.

At my apartment, I don’t have any outdoor space, so I don’t have a grill, which is a bummer. So if I’m craving cookout food on a random Thursday evening, I have to get a little more creative than that. Thankfully, it has been very cool here this week (60-70 f) so it isn’t too hot to cook (I also don’t have AC, so I often eat cold food all Summer!). Anyway, gotta take advantage when I can to turn the oven on.

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The other day, I bought 3 pork chops on sale at my grocery so I could make one of my go to week night meals: oven baked paleo BBQ pork chops. It’s the easiest entree ever- dry rub some of Popular Paleo’s BBQ spice rub recipe (I got it in her EXCELLENT book, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook.) Seriously, I make this recipe all the time. It’s excellent, takes a half hour, including prep and goes with a lot of things.

But that brings me to my next point: what to eat as a side dish? I quickly settled on sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes. I can eat them prepared a thousand ways, for any meal or snack, and never get tired of them. They’re one of my pantry staples.

So, that was easy. But how did I want them fixed? Let’s try something new.

I’ve made sweet potato fries before, and i know the drill. Cut them, add oil, pop them in the oven and they turn out soggy. Cut them thinner, it helps, but… hm.

So I decided on a kind of sweet potato kettle chip. A couple of notes, and we’ll get on to the recipe

-The more uniformly you cut your potato, the more evenly it will cook. If you have a mandolin slicer, use it! If not, do your best, but don’t be surprised if you’ve got a few that are burnt and a few that are soggy.

-DO NOT skip the parchment paper. It makes a LOT of difference.

Ok? Cool. Here we go.

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 1, maybe 2

 

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato

2 TB olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

-dash of red pepper flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.IMG_1597
  2. Cut sweet potato in thin disks. The thinner the better, but no blood, ok? Blood doesn’t go well with potatoes. Again, the more uniformly thick the slices, the better. The thinner they are, the less cook time you’ll have.
  3. In a ziploc, mix together oil and spices. Add sweet potato slices to bag, seal, and shake, squish or wiggle to coat each disk in the oil mixture.IMG_1598
  4. Lay the disks out on the parchment paper covered baking sheet. Lay them out in one layer, not touching. The more space you can leave, the shorter the cook time! (I never leave much space, but I also like them a little soft)
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check regularly after 15 minutes to judge your chips according to preferred level of crunch and thickness.

Remove from oven, serve immediately! Enjoy!

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Superhero action of the day: what’s your favorite cookout food? Is there a way to make it a little more healthy for yourself?

 

On my plate: spaghetti squash and meat sauce

About three years ago, I pretty much gave up wheat based foods. Not always, I love pizza beyond any reasonable person’s reaction. However, I feel better when I don’t eat very much of it. So, I try not to cook it, and I limit it when I go out.

However, that left me trying to find other ways of eating some foods that I really love and find comforting.

Especially pasta.

Enter the spaghetti squash.

Vegetable noodles are becoming more common. You can make them out of lots of different things- zucchini, sweet potatoes, even carrots.  That is, if you have a zoodler. If you don’t have the fancy tool, you can still try vegetable noodles. In the form of spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash are the bright yellow oblong shaped ones. They’re pretty inexpensive, but they’re a little intimidating. They look like this:

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Here’s how you cook them:

  1. cut in half long ways. This is a little tricky- they’re super hard skinned, but you can do it, Superhero!
  2. . Place cut side down in a baking dish, and add water to cover the bottom of the plan.
  3.  Cook for 30-45 minutes at 400.
  4. When the meat of the squash is nice and soft, use a fork and gently scrape the strands out of the skin and serve immediately. Be careful of those fingers- the halves are hot.

While that’s happening, make you some sauce!

For the sauce, you’ll need:

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 large onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

32 ounces of crushed tomatoes (canned)

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 TB pepper

1 TB oregano

1 tsp italian seasoning

1 tsp crushed red pepper

2 bay leaves

 

  1. Brown ground beef. When it is just a little pink, add onion and garlic and cook together until onion pieces stat to turn translucent.
  2. Add seasonings, and stir to combine well.
  3. Drain at least some of the grease from the meat off, or use a slotted spoon and start on a new pan.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes to beef mixture, and stir together.
  5. Let simmer together for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, and place over cooked spaghetti squash strands. Top with cheese, if you like! Enjoy!

 

OMP: spaghetti squash and meat sauce: www.superheroliving.blog