The Easiest Veggie & Turkey “Hash” (aka: our summer staple dish)

We eat a lot of veggies in our house. When I went shopping with my sister, she couldn’t believe we bought a few heads of lettuce, kale and spinach, which are just our leafy greens. She asked if we ate all that in a week and I said “YUP!”. RM has veggies pretty much every meal and I eat salad’s for lunch a lot so when you add it up, we plow through veggies!

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And, while I do like veggies more than I used to (thanks to RM for being such a proponent of veggie eating, and showing me new ways to cook them so that they taste great!), the process of cleaning and chopping can be time consuming. If I had more free time, I would love to spend hours in the kitchen, chopping, cooking and drinking wine, but that’s just not realistic for me right now.

Enter my favorite time saving hack thanks to Whole Foods; pre-chopped veggies!!! Yes, it may cost more than buying whole veggies and chopping them myself, but the time I save is worth the money I save! I find these in the produce section, where Whole Foods has a HUGE selection of partly prepared produce varieties that save lots of time in the kitchen. I’m not sure what other stores have in terms of this, but I’m sure they have something!

This “recipe” is seriously SO easy, but what we love about it is that it covers a ton of ground on the veggie front, plus we add the turkey for a little protein. In terms of eating, we either eat it alone, with eggs (RM does this), on salad, in a quesadilla – there are seriously so many options! Which is key for us when it comes to meal prep – we want lots of variety so we don’t get sick of what we have in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • Chopped onions (you can buy pre-chopped or chop your own)
  • Confetti rice (this has broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, but you can use whatever you find, which might be just broccoli or just cauliflower)
  • Shredded Kale (or spinach, if you prefer)
  • Shredded Brussels Sprouts (if you want)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 lb Organic ground turkey
  • EVOO – to taste
  • Salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes – to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add some EVOO. Once warm, add the onions and let cook for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding in the confetti rice and then the kale and Brussels sprouts. Throughout the course of cooking these veggies, add in the salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to your liking, as well as the EVOO.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, remove and place in a bowl. Add the ground turkey to the pan you used to good the veggies and cook until it’s fully browned.
  3. Add back in the veggies and let simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve however you wish 🙂

See? I told you this was easy! And, really, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what you add and how you cook it. I’ve done it a dozen different ways and we have never been disappointed.

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If you find yourself short on time and not able to get in the veggie in-take you want because it takes a long time to prepare everything, I highly suggest trying this method out. While it may cost you a little more, when you think about what you’d do instead of this (maybe order out or get stuff from Whole Foods hot bar?), it’s probably worth it!

Have a great day 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your best time saving hack in the kitchen? Do you like to chop veggies or would you prefer it done for you? 

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Wednesday Workout: 4 Round Kettlebell Workout

Hi there! How is your week going? We leave for DC on Saturday and I have yet to do a stitch of planning or packing … oops! In the meantime, I wanted to talk about kettlebells and kettlebell training with you. Any of you use KB’s? I’m sure most of you are shaking your head saying, “yes, Monique, of course!” 😉 I, too, fall in that category. I use KB’s traditionally (in terms of the traditional swing, clean, figure 8, clean & press, snatch, etc.), but also as a replacement for dumbbells from time to time as well. I love them because they are so versatile, and they challenge the body in a different way than any other piece of equipment at the gym.

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If, however, you use KB’s, but don’t really understand or know why they are such an amazing piece of gym equipment, here are a few reasons:

  1. They help improve mobility & grip strength based on the design of the KB and the intended usage (ie: Ballistic movements not always in your traditional movement planes)
  2. Great cardio alternative as many of the movements, by nature, have a cardio aspect in that they bring your heart rate up because of the explosive movement patterns.
  3. Not a lot of equipment is needed to get in a full body strength and cardio workout – just a few KB’s will generally do the trick, and they don’t take up a lot of space or require a lot of space to use. Last week, for instance, I packed my KB in my car so I could do a workout outside during my lunch break!

And these are just some of the reasons why KB’s are so great!

That said, when Rep Fitness reached out to me to see if I wanted to partner with them and check out a piece of their equipment, I jumped on the opportunity! When I checked out their website, I found SO MANY THINGS that I wanted, but in terms of my at-home gym, I felt as though a KB was the best option for me to go with. I opted for a 25lb. one because it seemed like a middle of the road weight that would allow me to use it for the most amount of exercises. They also just released their “LB” or “pound” kettlebells, which is great because it avoids the math conversion game I always have to do in my head when I use KB’s that are in kilograms (which is fairly standard for KB’s). These are available in 5lb increments from 5-60lb’s and then 10lb increments from 60-100lb’s.

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I’ve been working out with it for about a week and I have to say – I’m really loving it! Sometimes I find that KB handles can get slippery as I get sweaty, but the Rep Fitness KB’s have a bit of a texture finish that help to avoid slipping. But don’t worry – it’s not textured enough to irritate the skin, just enough to help with better grip. Another part about the Rep Fitness KB style I like is that the weight is etched into the KB face so it will always be visible. They also paint a circle around the horn base (handle) on each side which corresponds to a weight so it makes it easy to quickly know what weights a gym has or what ones people are using. I saw that my gym (EBF FIDI) has a slew of Rep Fitness KB’s and it really is much easier to see what weights are available by looking at the color on the base of the horn.

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The workout I have for you today includes a lot of the basic KB exercises, working lower, upper, core and cardio. AND! You really only need 1 piece of equipment, but if you have 2 different weights for KB’s, I would suggest using that so you can go heavier on the lower body & swings and keep it lighter for the clean & press.

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I think most of these are moves you’ve seen before, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Quick note on the High Plank Knee to KB Tap – for this, you put the KB between your hands in a high plank and bring your knee to the KB, trying to tap it each time.

I think that does it! If you’ve been in the market for a new KB, or any new workout equipment, I highly suggest heading over to Rep Fitness’s page and seeing what they have. Their prices seem very reasonable and it avoids you having to carry heavy things through the store to buy them 😉 Big thanks to Rep Fitness for providing me with a KB to use!

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Questions for you: What’s your favorite at-home piece of gym equipment? If you could just workout with 1 piece of equipment, what would it be? Do you use KB’s in your training?

Friday Shares

Hey there! I was looking through my phone and realized there were some (mostly random) things that I wanted to share with you in case you’re interested.

  • Homemade sausage night – a few weekends ago, RM and I headed over to our friends’ new house in Westwood to make sausage. Sounds random, but it was SO fun! On top of making our own sausage, we made homemade sauce, pasta and even the salad dressing was homemade. We had 2 Kitchen Aid mixers running pretty much non-stop – good thing the vino was flowing well 😉 It was such a fun dinner, especially knowing that we made almost everything we ate. Thanks for having us over, Jessi and Chuck! can’t wait to do it again!

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  • Cooking Light Mac n Cheese – Last weekend, it was a gross, rainy Saturday and RM and I didn’t feel like going out to dinner since we had gone out the night before. After much debate on what to cook/eat, I remembered this delicious mac n cheese recipe from years ago (2011, to be exact). Luckily, I still had the magazine and with a quick trip to the store, was able to whip it up. We added in our homemade garlic, Parmesan and parsley sausage and it made for SUCH a good dinner! We also used Jovial’s brown rice pasta and you honestly couldn’t tell it wasn’t the “real deal”. We enjoyed leftovers for a few days – definitely recommend this dish next time you’re craving comfort food!

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  • Apple Crisp – we went apple picking last weekend and I couldn’t WAIT to make apple crisp. I quickly googled a few variations and ended up making this gluten free one, which came out incredible! Seriously so tasty, especially served with Talenti’s Vanilla Bean gelato (our absolute favorite brand).

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  • Revere Pre & Post Workout – A few weeks ago, I was contacted by someone from Revere, the startup providing plant-based powder formulas derived only from natural, whole foods to help users maximize the results they get from their exercise routines, to see if I’d be interested in trying out their products. I had recently seen a bunch of other fitness professionals sharing things about this product, but, as with any “supplement”, I was skeptical. That is, until I read more about the product and ingredient list. Normally these types of products come laden with ingredients we can’t pronounce, but not Revere! I plan on doing a bigger recap later, but wanted to share a quick bit now. I’ve been using them for a few weeks and totally love them, mostly because the ingredient list is SO clean, but also because they just mix with water (and they give you an awesome bottle to mix it in!).  Besides vitamins, the only other ingredients are things like sweet potato, beetroot, green tea, pomegranate and a little sugar, but nothing artificial! If you’re interested in learning more in the meantime, check out their page where you can find all the info. Also,if you like what you see, I will have a discount code for you soon!

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  • Seaport Sweat – This is just a reminder that Seaport Sweat is continuing through the END of October!! Though it’s getting dark MUCH earlier these days, there are plenty of lights that give it such a nice ambiance 😉

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  • Lululemon Treats – Speaking of Seaport Sweat, a group of the new Seaport Lulu employees came to my class on Monday and surprised me with this amazing top! I’m seriously so excited because it’s the perfect top to workout in the cooler, but not yet cold, temps. Plus, it’s super cute. Thanks, ladies!!

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  • Since We Fell – this is our new book club book and so far, I’m absolutely obsessed and cannot put it down. Has anyone read it?

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  • DC Weekend – Next weekend, RM and I are heading to DC for a little 3 night getaway. We rented an amazing little Airbnb apartment that looks to be in the heart of restaurants and sites, but otherwise have no plans. Anyone have any restaurant or sightseeing suggestions?

And that does it for me! I hope all of you have a great weekend – it’s supposed to be another warm one 🙂

Questions for you: Have you done any fall baking recently? How about any fall activities? What are you reading these days? Have you tried Revere products? Do you use any protein powders or anything before or after a workout? 

 

Wednesday Workout: Glutes & Back Workout

Hey there! What a week it has been. Waking up to the news about the Vegas shooting was absolutely horrible. While these things always upset me and leave me feeling unsettled, for some reason this one hit a little harder than others. I don’t know if it’s because we were in Vegas earlier this year (and planning another trip out there) or if it’s because I love country music or if it was because it was so deadly, but it left me feeling absolutely devastated. I just can’t imagine that someone would do that, and why on earth he was able to legally buy that many guns and those types of guns. To anyone who may have been affected by this terrible act of violence, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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We all need more of this – LOVE. Less hate. Less violence. More love.

And to top it off, Tom Petty passed away. One of my favorite memories of our wedding was when our band played “American Girl” and RM grabbed me onto the dance floor and we danced our hearts out. To this day, I remember that moment so clearly ❤

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Working out has always been a good outlet for me when I’m feeling down (or happy!), so I wanted to share this workout that I did a few weeks ago. All you need is a set of dumbbells and an elevated surface. It’s focusing primarily on the glutes (& quads, of course) and the back, so I challenge you to go a little heavier than you normally would!

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In case you need any explanations or want to see what a move looks like, check out these videos:

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If you’re loving the tank I’m wearing (why wouldn’t you?! 😉 ), you can get one for yourself here.

That does it for me today! If you missed Seaport Sweat with me this week, you have THREE chances to sweat with me tomorrow at EBF FIDI! Hit me up if you want more information.

Have a great day, everyone!

“How can I get motivated to workout?”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a handful of people come up to me and say that they’ve been lacking the motivation to workout. They say they see me post workouts that seem doable, they say they definitely can find the time to take 10-20 minutes to do something, they say they WANT to move more, but, for some reason, they just don’t do it.

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Does this sound familiar? I get it – I think we can all say we’ve been there a time or two (or more!), but the key here, is how to figure out when to push through and find something to motivate you to get back into it vs. when it’s time to listen to your body and honor it’s desire to rest a bit more than usual.

When I’m lacking motivation to workout, it’s usually a result of something else that’s going on in my life:

  • stressful times at work & long hours
  • teaching lots of classes
  • season changes
  • being sick
  • being busy & having little to no “down time”
  • general life stresses
  • grinding hard in my workouts for an extended period of time

Any of these, or a combination of them, can cause me to have less motivation to workout, or less motivation to workout at my normal intensity. I think for me, the biggest culprit is when I’m teaching a lot of classes. That, combined with a full time job leaves little time to workout on my own, and I’m generally pretty worn out so I just don’t have it in me to do an intense workout.

That said, when I’m faced with any of these things, I listen to my body and take it down a notch- that may means going for a walk instead of something intense, doing a bodyweight workout instead of lifting weights, doing just a 10 minute workout to help get the blood flowing and give me some energy to get through the day, etc.

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On the flip side, we may find ourselves lacking motivation, but not for any specific reasons that I may have listed above. We may have just fallen out of our groove because of too many days of skipping workouts in favor of getting drinks, going out to dinner, or working late. It happens! The key here, though, is figuring out how to get back into it, which is what I hope this post will help you do!

Here are some things that help motivate me to workout when I’m not feeling it – hopefully they will help you, too!

  1. Start small – pick a small goal that you know you can do. Maybe it’s just 5 minutes of stretching, a 10 minute walk, or even just some squats and jumping jacks. Whatever it is, is better than nothing, right? And sometimes just that little bit of movement triggers the memory of how good it feels to move and workout. Remember that post I wrote a while back called “just do something”Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation. The simple act of doing SOMETHING generally leads to motivation to keep going. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Buy a new workout top – Whenever I buy something new to workout in (shoes, top, pants, sports bra, etc.), I’m instantly motivated to workout because I want to wear whatever it is what I bought! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – you can find great, affordable things at Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.
  3. Download new music – This is another great way for me to get motivated! I love finding new music to workout to. You can follow me on Spotify (mgagnon85) if you want to see what I’m using in my classes these days!
  4. Make a workout date – Having the accountability from a workout buddy is usually enough to make it so that you don’t skip your workout. Plus, working out with a friend is more fun. My sister and I try to do weekly gym dates where we will find a class that we both want to go to and then go to it together. Sometimes we will get drinks after!
  5. Find a new studio/gym/class to go to – Sometimes we lack motivation to workout simply because we are bored with our workouts. This is a huge culprit for why I lack motivation sometimes! Whenever I try out a new class, gym or workout, I instantly feel more excited about working out! This is another reason why I try to get to other instructors’ classes – I’m often reminded of exercises I like, but have forgotten about, I learn new combos, new formats, etc.

I could go on and on, but these are probably my top 5. At the end of the day, even if these things don’t help you feel motivated to workout, it’s ok! There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Start small, do something (doesn’t have to be anything big or formal), and honor your body. The motivation will come back – I promise!

Questions for you: Did I miss any of your “go to” ways to get motivated to workout? Do you tend to be more or less motivated to workout when you have life stressors?