Monday Motivation Better Late than Never

Well hello there! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and I am just now getting back into my normal routine. In the last two weeks, Ray and I traveled to San Fransisco to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday, to Chicago for a work trip for Ray (which I tagged along for), and to Malibu for a camping/surfing adventure.

We got back into San Diego last Wednesday from Chicago and we only had a few days in town to recover from our previous trips and get ready for our camping trip. Even with all of our traveling, I still managed to set aside some time to workout and fit in a few strength training sessions, a couple of runs, and a CorePower Yoga class in Chicago.

However, my diet in the last few weeks has not been as stellar as my workouts.  I am a total foodie, and I love to eat! Sometimes after I eat dinner, I actually get sad because I am done eating for the day and start thinking about what I will eat for breakfast the next day. My love of food can make it hard to make healthy eating choices when I am eating out and especially when I am traveling. In fact, one of the things I love most about traveling is eating at new restaurants and trying new types of food.

When I am traveling I know I will not be sticking to my typical eating habits, will be enjoying richer foods, and will be taking in more calories than normal. In order to off set some of the extra calories, I try to squeeze in a little exercise if I can. If I can’t, I don’t stress about it and I hit the gym a little harder when I get home. It is all about finding a balance that works for you. For instance while Ray and I were in Chicago I knew we would be going out to some fantastic restaurants and that the meals would be on the heavier side, so I made it a point to try to eat healthier meals for breakfast and lunch that were more in line with my normal eating habits.

This quote always makes me laugh and I thought it would be the perfect quote for this week’s Monday Motivation (even though it is Wednesday) given the poor state of my diet lately!

Last Thursday Ray and I both were sick of eating out and we were craving something on the healthier side for dinner. Earlier in the day I was reading the blog, The Fitnessista, and I stumbled upon a recipe that had an interesting and new twist for chicken salad. The recipe used avocado as the base for the chicken salad mixture instead of mayo.

The recipe was easy to follow and our dinner of avocado chicken salad sandwiches and a side salad come together in no time at all (especially since I used the store-bought whole roasted chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts myself).  I had my avocado chicken salad in a whole wheat wrap and Ray had his on whole wheat cracked sourdough.

avacado chicken salad

Ray made the right call by putting the mix on sourdough bread. The crunch of the bread was a better contrast to the avocado chicken salad than my wrap. The meal was simple, easy to put together, and helped get my eating routine back on track.

Previous Monday Motivation Quotes:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


Trader Joe’s to the Rescue

On Wednesday night, I came home to quite a surprise. Cooper decided to destroy his dog bed! There was stuffing everywhere. It took me forever to clean up the mess because Cooper kept stealing the stuffing and running around the house with it in his mouth.  I think he thought we were playing a game, but I was definitely not amused. This morning I was still finding stuffing from his bed in random places around the house.

dog bed destroyed

Ray came home late on Tuesday night and wasn’t even home for 24 hours before he had to leave for his next trip. I think Cooper was pretty sad that Ray left again and took it out on his bed.

With Ray being out-of-town so much lately, I have been struggling to think of things to make for dinner and have been opting to eat out instead of cooking at home. Truth be told out of the two of us Ray is more of the cook and I am more of the helper. When we first started dating my cooking skills consisted of being able to make breakfast sandwiches, pasta, and burritos. Over the years, my cooking skills have improved (thanks to Ray and an array of cookbooks) and I can happily say that I more confident in the kitchen and have expanded my cooking abilities beyond knowing how to make 3 things.

This week I decided that I was going to make more of an effort to cook dinner, make lunches for work, and limit the amount I was eating out. Earlier this week I went to Trader Joe’s hoping that I would get some inspiration since I was still struggling to think of anything that sounded appetizing to make on my own. Of course I got the Mandarin Orange Chicken and chocolate Mochi Ice Cream Balls because no trip to Trader Joe’s is complete without those items. I also picked up a box of macaroni and cheese, bag of Brussels sprouts, and a bag of broccoli slaw. I didn’t have any plans with what to make with those items, but they all seemed good to me.

On Wednesday night, I decided to cook the macaroni and cheese, a chicken sausage and some Brussels sprouts. At first my plan was to eat everything separately, but after everything was cooked I decided to just mix them all together. Pretty random meal, but it ended up being surprisingly tasty and is a combination I would make again.

I made the  macaroni and cheese per the box instructions, cooked the chicken sausage in a skillet on medium heat on the stove, and then using the same skillet sautéed some Brussels sprouts with a little salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. I cooked the Brussels sprouts on medium to low heat until they reached the desired tenderness, which for me is tender with a little crunch.

mac and cheese with chicken sausage and brussels sprouts

For my lunch today I decided to make a salad using the broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s. I combined raisins, cashews, and avocado with the broccoli slaw and tossed the mix in a seasme ginger dressing .  It was delicious and totally hit the spot, but next time I would put more avocado in. I also polished off the leftover macaroni and cheese!

lunch salad

Trader Joe’s  came to my rescue this week! I might not have cooked everything from scratch, but with the few things I bought I was able to come up with some new meals that were easy to make, tasty and pretty healthy.  I was also able to create enough dinners and lunches to only eat out once for dinner and once for lunch, which is a big improvement from the previous weeks Ray has traveled.

Happy Friday!

Nothing Like a Brownie on a Cold Day

One of the shows that Ray and I love to watch together is American Horror Story on FX.  I hate scary movies and I usually refuse to watch them with Ray, but for some reason I don’t mind watching American Horror Story. The show is creepy, slightly disturbing, and has some pretty gruesome scenes.  To be honest, I am not sure why I like it but every season has sucked me in and I can’t help but watch it. Last night was the premiere of the new season of American Horror Story Coven and Ray and I had been looking forward to watching it all week.

Yesterday was the first rainy and cold day San Diego has had in a long time.  I figured with the premiere  of American Horror Story and the gloomy weather it was the perfect excuse to try a new brownie recipe I had discovered a few days ago.

I am a frequent reader of the blog, The Fitnessista, and the author recently posted a recipe for Black Forest Paleo Brownies. I have not gotten into the Paleo craze and I have not had much luck with other Paleo recipes I have tried in the past. However, the combination of chocolate and cherries intrigued me and looked too good to pass up.

The recipe was easy to follow and didn’t take very long to make. I did substitute oat flour for almond meal/flour because I don’t  like the consistency of almond meal/flour. Next time I make these brownies, I would spend more time grinding up the shredded coconut into flour.  I got lazy and skipped that step, so I ended up with strands of coconut in my brownie batch…whoops! The brownies (even with the strands of coconut) turned out really well and were delicious. They totally hit the spot.


A warm brownie, good TV, and my two favorite guys- Ray & Cooper- was the perfect way to spend the night.

P.S. The sunflowers are from my wonderful husband. He surprised me with them the other day.
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Workday Breakfast at Home: Banana Oatmeal

Last Wednesday Ray had to get up early for work and usually I would just roll over and go back to bed until my alarm went off.  However, I decided to wake up and get my day going as well.  It was grey and cold out so I thought Banana Oatmeal sounded like a good way to start the day.

Banana Oatmeal


  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (I used Quaker Oats)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 scoop of peanut butter

Note: This recipe is for one serving. I doubled it in order to make enough for Ray and I.


1)   Slice up the banana into bite size pieces.

2)   Combine the oats, milk, and banana pieces in a pot on the stove.


3)   Cook the mixture over medium heat until the oatmeal thickens, stirring occasionally.

4)   Once the oatmeal reached desired thickness, remove from heat, and add a scoop of peanut butter.

The Banana Oatmeal turned out really well and kept me full until lunch!  IMG_1185

It might not seem like a big deal that I woke up early and cooked Ray and I breakfast before going to work, but for me it is. Waking up early and giving myself enough time to get ready for work is not my strong suit ( I am working on it). You have to give yourself credit for the small victories in your life; for me cooking and eating breakfast at home  before work was a small victory.

Dinner Idea: Spicy Asian Pork Chops

There is no question that I hate more than, “what do you want to do for dinner tonight?” It is simply the worst.  It seems like every night Ray and I are discussing what we should eat for dinner and trying to come up with a plan.  Yesterday, I had planned to do a strength training workout right after work and I knew I wouldn’t have time to workout and go to the grocery store.  Whole Foods is close to my work, so I decided to run over there on  my lunch break  to grab lunch and pick up stuff for dinner.  I was prepared to aimlessly wander around the store trying to figure out what to buy for dinner,  but surprisingly it didn’t take my long to get inspired. The butcher case had pork chops that were priced well and looked great. Ray and I both like pork chops and we had not had them in awhile so I figured it was meant to be.

Spicy Asian Pork Chops


  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce  (the more you add the spicier the pork chops will be)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup Teriyaki  Sauce


  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat. If you don’t have a grill you can cook the pork chops on the stove.
  2. Place the pork chops in a container and pour the soy sauce, canola oil, and teriyaki sauce over them.
  3. Pour the desired amount of the chili garlic sauce equally on top of each pork chops.


  1. Place the pork chops directly on the grill and cook for about 15 minutes and turn them over every 5 minutes. To help keep the pork chops moist add a little sauce to them after you flip them.
  2. After 15 minutes, turn the heat up on the grill a little and continue to turn the pork chops and add sauce every few minutes.  By turning the heat up on the grill, it will char the outside of the pork chops and help cook them completely.
  3. Cook the pork chops until the center is no longer pink.


While Ray was prepping and grilling the pork chops, it was my responsibility to make the sides.  I decided to make brown rice and broccoli because I thought they would compliment the flavors of the pork chops well.  I cooked the brown rice per the package instructions. To make the broccoli, I brought water to a boil on the stove and added the broccoli. I let the broccoli cook in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Dinner last night was delicious. I enjoyed every bite of it!