Barre3 Complete

Last Sunday marked the last day of the Barre3 January challenge. I completed 21 in class studios, several 10-minute workouts and tried a handful of new recipes. Looking back on the past few weeks, I definitely gained a lot. I gained more strength (whats up 3 pounders, this is heavy in barre3 world) and gained a better mindset. A mindset that when you work toward a goal, it actually can happen.

There were also some weak times. The last week was probably the worst. I didn't feel as vibrant and inspired as I did the first few weeks. My body was hurting and tired, and even after taking a class my body still felt heavy and not "fresh" like I usually feel after a Barre3 class.

This week, now that the challenge is over, I feel great. I think stepping back and realizing what I did for myself, on the inside and outside, has made me really proud. Committing to the workout, the lifestyle, and the community really worked. I've always been a Barre3 cheerleader and I still am now. 

I loved the chance to take Barre3 while I was in Tulsa. Connecting with people you've never met over something you mutually love is so inspiring. 

I also loved getting to take classes with so many of my good friends, sister, mother, and fellow challengers.

I can't deny the recipes were the best part of the challenge. I loved the challenge to try the amazing recipes Barre3 has created. Not necessarily a hard challenge for me, but more so a good excuse to take time and cook amazing dishes instead of throwing all the random things from the fridge on a plate.  

Recipes included Chicken Tikka Masala, Pistachio Crusted Tilapia, Zesty Chicken Salad, Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry and Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon. My go-to green smoothie got thrown in here-and-there for an additional nourishing meal. 

A month of great exercise and great food. I plan to continue the pattern moving forward. In saying that I can't send you off without another great recipe, so so keep scrolling for Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon. It has this amazing peppery yet sweet crunchy topping. Also to note, Kathleen is not a salmon eater so I made hers with chicken and it was equally as delicious. I served it with tossed mixed greens, red onion, roasted sweet potatoes and diced green apples.

Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon
serves 3-4

1 1/2 lb. salmon (about 5-6 oz filet per person)
olive oil, for brushing
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup pecan halves
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the last four ingredients (maple syrup, pecans, pepper and salt) until it combines to a smooth texture.

Place the salmon on a lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press the pecan topping evenly over the top of each filet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with a salad or roasted vegetable and enjoy!

Thanks b3, it was a great month!


Bites of My Life

I only feel a little bad when my bites posts are only full of food. I promise I have a life with un-edible things too. Although, this week was all about the noms. I stayed kind of on track, but it's time to grind out the fourth and final week of the Barre 3 challenge. Lord knows I need it coming off this food filled week. Coming for you strong B3. 

Things you miss from the picture below are; the first sights of sun in what seems like weeks (hallelujiah), a throwback 90s concert, trips to the Asian market, Mexican supermarket & Whole Foods #diverse, and quality bonding time with my puppy niece while her mom and dad are away.    

-Ultimate leftover shrimp fried rice. The perfect pairing for bachelor Ben viewing.
-Mason jar oatmeal is on repeat for an on-the-go breakfast during these freezing mornings.
-All my favorite healthy work snacks. Can't quite make it through the workday without some. 
-Added a little zest to your hump day with the recipe for Zesty Chicken Salad (It's like really stinking good).
-Not your average brownie, coming this week!
-Hands in the air for this Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon for our B3 meal of the week. 
-I woke up for breakfast, my friends woke up for brunch, but we didn't get out of the house until lunch. So Saturday's "breakfast" turned into veggie chili from The Red Cup
-The pregame snack to my favorite brunch. 
-You know that show The Best Thing I Ever Ate, on Food Network. If I was on it, this would be my bit. The Green Eggs and Ham from Stella just get me. Creamy herb baked eggs with prosciutto. It doesn't get better. 


Zesty Chicken Salad


I'm coming in clutch for your lunch game. This chicken salad is zesty, fierce and Barre3 approved. I found the recipe in Barre3 founder, Sadie Lincoln's book, Love Your Lower Body. Not only is my lower body loving this recipe, so are my taste buds. 

It takes the traditional idea of chicken salad, but gives it a little kick in the tush. Pickles? I love. Paprika? Zesty. Apple? Why not. Best part is it only uses a little bit of greek yogurt and dijon mustard. Traditional chicken salad calls for mayonnaise, but mayonnaise gives me the heebie jeebies. I watched a video in 10th grade chemistry on how mayonnaise was made and that was pretty much it for me. 

One of my roommates and I got into a chat about chicken salad after I made this and we love how versatile it is. It can be a salad, a wrap, a sandwich, even a dip. Add some curry powder and you've got an Indian spin on. So many options with this zesty lunch!

Zesty Chicken Salad adapted from
yields 4 servings

2 cups diced cooked chicken breasts*
1 cup diced dill pickles
1 Tbsp. finely diced onion
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 granny smith apple, chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Spinach, kale, arugala, or whatever your favorite greens are; for serving

In a medium size bowl, mix together all ingredients. Done, that's it. To serve, place about a cup of greens on a plate with equal portions of the chicken salad on top. 

*My favorite way to cook chicken breasts is by placing them in the crock pot with 1/2 cup of water, salt and pepper and let them go on low for 3-5 hours. You can even do this with frozen chicken breasts they will just take a little longer. 


Barre3 Chicken Tikka Masala

We are now halfway through week 2 of the Barre3 challenge. I'm feeling so good so far. Good food flowing inside my body and good vibes outside of it. Easily the best part of the Barre3 challenge is the "nourishment" component. The Barre3 website is full of amazing healthy recipes. I've always coveted this tikka masala recipe, so I knew I would be making it during the challenge. 

I have a soft spot for any kind of food outside American. Thai, Ethiopian, Latin, India etc. Tikka Masala is a traditional indian dish made with chunks of chicken in a creamy spicy sauce with tomatoes and indian spices. The original recipe was developed by Andrea of Dishing up the Dirt. No cream just coconut milk, brown rice instead of basmati and skipping the naan help to keep this version of masala a little more health friendly. 

There is no skimp on flavor and it's incredibly satisfying. The tikka masala was last week's B3 recipe, Kathleen made their pistachio crusted tilapia this week, and next week it's my turn again!  

Barre3 Chicken Tikka Masala
yields 4 servings

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of whole ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbs. garam masala
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
2 (14-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk (from the can)
1 Tbsp. corn starch (optional)
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 cups brown rice, cooked (1 cup dry)

In a medium-size deep saute pan or heavy bottom pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the it is tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the chicken and cook until the it begins to brown on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, garam masala, paprika, salt, tomatoes, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, checking often to make sure the curry doesn't dry out (add water if necessary). Cook until chicken is cooked through and tender and the masala is thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. I struggled with my masala being really brothy and not thickening up properly so I added a corn starch slurry. Combine 1 Tbsp. corn starch and a 3 Tbsp. water then pour into your sauce. This thickened my dish perfectly!

Serve with cooked brown rice and garnish with cilantro.


Cranberry Orange Holiday Detox Smoothie

If you don't have the Timehop app on your phone, please download it. It's the first thing and my favorite thing I check in the morning. It pulls your photos, Instagrams, Facebook posts, tweets and more from that exact day over the past few years. Downside is it can be extremely embarrassing when it shows you tragic Facebook statuses from freshman year of high school. Annie Tucker pumped for winter formal with my girls!!

According to Timehop, a year ago today I had just gotten home from skiing, two years ago I was posting about my favorite things, three years ago I made parmesan baked eggs for breakfast and ate at The Mule for the first time, and 8 years ago I tweeted "has no hair." No idea what that meant. 

The real point of this whole Timehop rant is that it brought this holiday detox smoothie back to my attention. I screenshot recipes all the time, and since Timehop pulls your iPhotos too I'm also reminded of recipes that sometimes get forgotten. My recipe was adapted by an original post from Free People

Cranberry Orange Holiday Detox Smoothie
yields 1 smoothie

1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1/2 cup frozen cranberries (I buy fresh then freeze them)
1 clementine, segmented
1/2 frozen banana

Smoothies are always better if you use frozen fruit! You then avoid having to add ice which waters down your smoothie. That being said, keep all of your fruit in the freezer. Add everything to your blender and blend blend blend! It will be a pretty shade of pink with little bright redish pink specs from the cranberries. I only use half of a banana because I'm not a banana girl, but you can add more if you choose. 

This smoothie still has a few tastes of the holidays from the cranberries and orange, but it's refreshing and bright to get you through dreary January mornings. 

Who says copper mugs are only for Moscow Mules?