Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Chicken Ziti

I love all things pasta! Which is why I could never go 'no carb', but that's another issue... Back to pasta.  I also love 1 dish, casserole-like meals, that can be made ahead.  My husband will humor my pasta concoctions as long as there is meat in them.  Here is a new favorite, Summer Chicken Ziti... Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Summer Chicken Ziti
Serves 6, total time 30 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, raw- cut to 1" pieces
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (28oz) can San Marzano plum tomatoes
Salt & pepper
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves off and chopped
15 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
1 lb ziti or short pasta
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 c frozen peas
1 c low fat ricotta cheese
1 c grated Parmigiano-reggiano or Parmesan
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400.  Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat for pasta.
In a large, high-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté chicken pieces, until brown. Add shallots and garlic, continue to cook for 3 min. Stir in tomatoes, then crush with spoon or potato masher.  Season with salt & pepper. Cook for 5 min, then remove from heat, and stir in fresh tarragon and basil.
While sauce is cooking, drop pasta into water, cook until almost al dente, about 5 min. Add asparagus & peas, until bright green. Drain pasta & veggies. In the pot you just used to cook the pasta, add ricotta cheese, half of Parmigiano, and lemon zest- mix. Then add hot pasta and veggies. Stir until everything is coated.
In a baking dish, pour about 1 cup of sauce in bottom and spread. Add half pasta mixture, then some sauce, then remaining pasta mixture and sauce.  Top with remaining Parmigiano cheese and mozzarella**.  Bake in oven until bubbly & brown, about 10-12 min.
**Instead of baking, You may cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate upto 24hrs, or with plastic wrap then foil and freeze for upto 3 months.

Some variations:
-substitute already cooked chicken leftover from the grill or a rotisserie chicken
-add fresh spinach to pasta mixture
-add zucchini slices when sautéing shallots, chicken, and garlic.
-substitute 1/2lb fresh mozzarella for shredded on top of pasta.
-eliminate chicken, make it vegetarian

Bonus, this pasta dish, as with most pasta dishes, tastes great as leftovers too!!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Baby Body 3 months

Sorry, I'm a week late... Opps.  Kind of forgot.  How has life been the past month?  Well, pretty good. Big girls just wrapped school. Baby girl is sleep thru the night... NOT... Lol, but she's down to just 2 feedings with 3-4 hrs in-between... Not all night, but I'll take it!!
So, What's been happening with my healthy living journey?
Week 1 was all about continuing to train for the 8 person DE marathon relay.  So, I taught 2 classes, completed 2 runs at Glasgow park.  Saturday was the family Run 1 4 fun race, I ran the 1.4 miles with my little runner Mia.  We finished in just under 19 min, constant easy jog, Mia didn't want to stop!  I finished the week with my annual Mother's Day gift... Participating in the DE marathon festivities.  I was a member of the Real Housewives of Delaware 8-lady relay team.  Each member had to run a little over a 5k.  I completed my 3.3 miles at a 11:08 pace.  Not bad, considering I had just got back on the pavement!  Side note: I am really proud of my cousin Lenise, for running with me in her first race!!
Week 2 was an easier week.  I taught Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. I also doubled up with a walk on Tuesday with my cousin Danielle & our babies and taught the late evening bodyflow class.  If you're counting that was 4 classes. I also worked for Toyota that weekend too.
Week 3 was a nice full week... I finally started to add some of the p90x workouts to my workout schedule.  I taught Monday, as usual. Tuesday I doubled up, with spin class in the morning and p90x cardioX in the evening. Wednesday, I attended yogilates. Thursday, I taught, and guess who attended my class... My dear cousin Arthea! And Friday was another walk with Dani and our babies.  I finished the week off with yard work Saturday and Sunday!
Week 4 was another light week, Monday was a holiday... So I took off, plus the YMCA was closed.  Tuesday, I doubled up with a hot walk at Glasgow with dani & our babies and p90x cardio x in the evening.  Wednesday, I refreshed my memory with learning a new (old) release.  On Thursday, I taught my normal class... And boy it was fun! Friday, I took off, as well as the rest of the weekend since baby V and I were flying to Dallas.
Week 5, I was in Dallas. I got out in the crazy heat and walked with baby V for 1.6 miles around the Gaylord complex.  Tuesday and Wednesday, I practiced yoga in my hotel room during nap time.  Then the rest of the week, my workouts were limited, I flew home Thursday, then headed to the Friday after the big girls got out of school.  Saturday was a day for family, I had the option to get up early and out with uncle Michael and run 10 miles... I opted to sleep in, lol. However, Sunday all the ladies of the beach house and little Michael went for a 2 mile walk around cape may point.  Once we got home from the beach Sunday evening, I did my own BodyFlow practice.
Since I was supposed to post this after week 5, and didn't...
Here is Week 6... My birthday week!  I did not run at all this week.  However, I did teach BodyFlow Monday, Thursday, and Friday.  And since it was my birthday Saturday and Veronica's baptism was Sunday.  I just enjoyed the weekend, and did absolutely no workouts.  However, sneak peak... Moving into Monday I needed a workout, badly!  One thing I do every birthday, is I set goals for the next year... My goals for 33, run a half marathon with a better time, run a full marathon- yup I said it, and pick up tennis again.

What does my body look and feel like?
I weigh 134 lbs.
I'm measuring at 30.25" under bust, 34.25" top of bust, 27.5" on my waist, 37" on the hips, and 22.25" around my thigh.
Overall, I'm feeling stronger. I can feel tightness returning to my abs.  My legs are feeling stronger as well.  I'm not feeling as tired as last month, my stamina is starting to return.  Now, honestly, my diet, these past few weeks, hasn't been the best it could be... But I will make it better... Look for my green smoothies to return, lol!
Here are my comparison photos...
Left 4/7, Right 6/16
Left 4/7, Right 6/16

What are my goals the next month?
Start my training program for my full marathon in the fall... Yikes! Continue to vary my workouts throughout the week. And most importantly, eat better! Oh yeah, and get Veronica to sleep through the night!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's my birthday!!

Happy birthday to me! Yes, today is my birthday.
When I was in my twenties, I had no idea what 30+ would feel like...  But I have to tell you, 33 never felt so good!  I'm in the best shape and health of my life (so far).  How has that happened? I eat healthy and drink lots of water.  I workout.  I spend quality time with loved ones.  I meditate, and laugh a lot.  And even with a newborn, I sleep well too!  I am so excited for the year to come, new goals, new events, and a whole lot of fun!! I might even run my first full marathon... Maybe, lol!
Well, happy birthday to all that share the day with me! And happy flag day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Refuel Your Summer Workouts

Baby Veronica and I are here in Dallas, Texas while my mother is attending the International Parking Institue Conference... Side note, yes, my mother is retired, but she serves on a parking authority board.  So, that is why V and I are here.  The weather is beautiful... And HOT! Average 90+ degrees, "unseasonably warm" as Al Roaker said this morning.  After breakfast, I decided to get us out of the resort for a walk (I couldn't run bc I left my jogger back in DE). We walked 1.6 miles in the heat and humidity, with an average pace 15:50/mi.  I was dripping sweat, and she  was cool as a fan, since rode in the shade the whole time, lol.  But it got me thinking, what should we all do to refuel after a hot outdoor workout, or any indoor workout to replenish what is lost and maximize the effort.

Here's what my research revealed and what I recommend...

Power up with protein. Your muscles crave these amino acids to repair and grow. Heed their needs by having 10-20 grams of protein within 30-60 minutes after your workout. Healthy ideas are... peanut butter and banana on rice cakes, hummus and whole wheat pita, low-fat yogurt and berries, tuna on whole wheat bread, or turkey and cheese with apple slices.

Stay hydrated. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends water before and during your workout, as well as drinking 20-24 ounces of water after (instead of sports drinks, which can be loaded with sugar/carbs) to replace fluids lost from sweating, if exercising for less than an hour. Add more fluids during and after, especially sports drinks or supplements (gu, sport chews, etc.) if your workout exceeds an hour. Shoot for 8oz/hour, 2-3 oz every 2mi (approx), and/or 1 glucose/electrolyte replacement for every 45-60 min of effort. However, every person and body is different. Listen to your body, a refuel as needed.  I, personally, refuel with cliff shot blocks every hour during long workouts/runs, and hydrate with a half sport drink-half water mix every 30 min or 2 mi for heavy effort or hour+ workouts. I only use water during yoga and BodyFlow classes.  There are great calculators on the internet, that are weight, temperature, and effort/pace based.

Most importantly, BE SMART and SAFE!  If there is a heat warming or advisory, maybe move your workout to the cool early morning hours or inside with air conditioning.  Good luck and Stay hydrated this summer!