Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Santa Fe Chicken - Crockpot Recipe!

One of my favorite things about the fall is crockpot cooking!  Soups, stews, roasts...you name it I love it in the crockpot.  Sometimes I wonder if things taste so good just because it doesn't take much effort.  There is nothing I love more than throwing a meal together in the crockpot in the morning and being able to just dish it out at dinner time.  So...here is another healthy, delicious and easy crock pot meal for you! It doesn't get much better than that does it?! This is so far one of my all time favorites.  I, of course, modified the original as I usually do so here is the recipe I use!

Santa Fe Chicken

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1 can rotel
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I do a heaping 1/2 teaspoon...the original calls for 1)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into the crockpot.  Stir together. Place the chicken on top and coat with the ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Simple as that!

After the time is up, remove chicken and shred and then place back into the crockpot and mix everything together. Let sit for a few minutes.

You can serve over rice, with tortillas, with cheese, sour cream and salsa. It can also be made as a soup if you add more chicken broth.  I like it thicker like a stew so I only use 1 cup.  It is low calorie on it's own so you can even eat it by itself for a flavorful yet low calorie dinner!


This is one of my favorite go-to meals because I usually keep those ingredients in the pantry, so if I'm not sure what to make...this is it! It's been a hit at get-togethers too...just double the recipe!  Let me know if you try it and like it! :)

~Erin Leigh

Make Time Now

It seems like every time I turn around it's a new day...a new week...a new month.  Time is just flying by and I can't quite grasp it.  This is such a busy time of the year with the holidays coming up! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping (I am so thankful for online shopping this time of year), Christmas activities with the kids, then Christmas comes and goes and then it's a new year! 
Not only is it a busy time of year, but there are also extra calories laying around. Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, the numerous desserts people bring to you around the holidays or bring into work.  It seems like sometimes around the holidays I can't turn my head without seeing some sort of deliciousness staring me in the face.  So, there is no better time than now to get into a workout routine if you haven't already.  
Before the hectic life of November and December begins, get into a routine and then stick to it.  Pick a few days a week that are do-able with your schedule and make it happen.  If you have no time in the day, early mornings may have to be that time.  After your workout, you will thank me! :)  Do it, stick to it, eat well and then indulge in some deliciousness for the holidays! That is my plan anyways! 
Tomorrow you will wish you had started today! Get after it!
~ Erin Leigh


Friday, October 25, 2013

Goals Goals Goals

If you are new to reading my blog, I am a goal maker...and now, I need a new goal!  I will be in Mexico in 10 weeks so I would like to make a fitness goal to achieve by then!  Any suggestions?  What are YOUR fitness goals? :)

~Erin Leigh

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Tacos! SO Easy and SO good!

I found a crockpot recipe on Pinterest a while ago for chicken tacos with only 3 ingredients.  The ingredients were boneless chicken breast, salsa and a packet of taco seasoning. How easy is that?! You are more than welcome to use that recipe...but I have made some modifications and like it more so I will share with you!  When I was pregnant, for some reason, I couldn't handle the smell or taste of the original recipe which is what led me to modify it.  (One of the joyous side effects of pregnancy)! So anyways, I made a few minor modifications and here it is!

3 boneless chicken breasts
Half jar of salsa (your choice)
1 can of Rotel
2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning (You can use 1 packet.  I make my own taco seasoning...see recipe below).

Put all ingredients in crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Shred chicken when cooking is complete and put back into the crock pot.
It's as easy as that!

I served with taco shells, lettuce and a mixed cheese blend. You can also use sour cream, extra salsa or any other toppings you like on tacos.  It was a low calorie dinner and so good! We all liked it :)

Taco Seasoning

As I mentioned before, I usually make my own taco seasoning as it is SO easy and I know exactly what is in it rather than the store bought packets.  I made some minor adjustments to the initial taco seasoning recipe I had found to make it a little more mild since I have two toddlers at home.

2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together in a jar of your choice. You can double or triple the recipe to keep more on hand.  Use 2-3 Tablespoons to replace 1 packet.  (I typically use 2 to keep it more mild but it still has flavor with 2).

There you have it!  Seems like a long and drawn out recipe but it is super easy and a go-to recipe for me on a busy day.  Hope you enjoy it! :)

~Erin Leigh

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ab Challenge!

Let's do an ab challenge this week! So for starters, a lot of the challenges you find online have a starting point that may not be a good starting point for everyone.  It may be too easy for some and too difficult for others so this ab challenge can be customized per person.

Plank Challenge
Goal: Complete 5 out of 7 days - two days of rest not consecutively


Day 1.  Find your personal starting point.  Do the plank for as long as you can (max out).  Keep proper form and use a stop watch to time (most phones have the stop watch option).  This time is your starting point for the challenge.  Rest for a few minutes and then repeat meeting the same time. 

Each day increase your time by 10 seconds.

For example: If your first round is 30 seconds, you will repeat and do another 30 second plank.  The next day your two rounds will be 40 seconds each etc.

You can see in the diagram above all the muscles the plank works in addition to the abs.  It is a great toning exercise!
Today is Day 1!  Let me know how it goes! Good luck!
~Erin Leigh

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It's Simple...
1. Make a Goal.
2. Make an Action Plan.
3. Get started.
Then tell yourself...

Tomorrow you will wish you started today...so start! ;)
~Erin Leigh

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thinking Ahead!

I have been thinking about the fact that time is FLYING by!  It is already mid-October, soon to be the holiday season, the New Year and then before we know it, it's Spring again! Ok, so that is a little extreme...it really won't be here that fast since the cold winter months tend to draggggg onnnnn...but, it is time to think ahead!
Don't wait until the Spring to figure out how to get fit before summer...you don't have enough time to make significant body changes in a few short months if you wait until then! Now is the time to figure out a plan and stick with it! Memorial Day starts the summer and is just 8 months away! You CAN see significant body changes in 8 months and you will be so happy then that you started now!

Need ideas on how you, specifically, can find the time or the right activities this winter? Let me know, I would be glad to help!  In the meantime while you make your plan, fit in some more outdoor workouts while you can.  The weather has been beautiful! :)
~Erin Leigh
I wish this said 8 months, but you get the idea! ;)


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing it Up!

So...if you haven't already figured out from my other posts, I have thoroughly enjoyed running these past 6 months!  According to my mapmyrun app, I have run 245.28 miles!  But now, I think I am starting back to the early morning workouts!  Now that it is cooler I don't want to bring the kids running early in the morning anymore, and if I wait until its warmer half the day is gone so...today was my first day and I have to say there is something to be said for working out, showering and being ready for the day before 7:30 am.  I love it! I plan to continue to do one 5 mile run once a week just to keep up my endurance but my focus is back to the at home toning workouts!

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had planned a month ago to start insanity with my hubby...then insanity with our children began (you can read more about it here: Another Day, Another Goal ).  So...if you read that ridiculousness, needless to say we weren't sleeping for about a month and just started back sleeping through the night (for the most part) now that Anya has gotten 3 teeth in the past month.  We want to start insanity together but in the mean time (we need to get a mat for the garage and get a TV set up out there since there is so much jumping involved), I started another full body workout video that I was doing last winter after Anya was born.  I love a good full body workout that works arms, abs and legs all at once and makes you sweat! In my book, that is a close second to a good run!

So, since I love the full body workouts so much, I have thought that maybe I want to make my own workout video.  Choose some of my favorite workout moves, choose my favorite music, create a beginner, intermediate and advanced option with options for a 15 minute, 30 minute or 45 minute workout so that you can choose the video according to how much time you have available in your schedule!  To me it's a no brainer and there would be no excuses why someone could not do it. Hmm...my wheels are turning. What do you think? 

~Erin Leigh

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Healthy Lasagna? Yup!

Who says you can't make a healthy lasagna??  This post is by request from my wonderful Grandmother who always boosts my ego by telling me what a great cook I am and specifically asked for me to post my lasagna recipe after I made it for my daughter's 1st birthday party.  So...when I told her that it was a healthy version and then told her it was ground turkey she seemed shocked because it was that good. :)  So anyways, as requested here is a healthy lasagna recipe Gram!  I actually made this again on Sunday and we had it for dinner Sunday and Monday (Nate and I both work Mondays so it's always a leftover day), Nate had it for lunch on Tuesday and there is still some left!


9x13 Pan
~1 pound of ground turkey (I have used 2 pounds to make it even heartier)
~whole grain lasagna (I make 14 noodles but only use 12...at least 1 or 2 noodles break on me)
~2 cups mozzarella cheese (part skim)
~Ricotta cheese (part skim)
~Flavored pasta sauce (I always use tomato, garlic and onion flavored...you can also use plain and flavor it or make your own)

Seasonings for turkey: I use adobo, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and minced onion (I seriously use these seasonings for all meat! The combo is delish!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Boil lasagna and drain
3.  Cook ground turkey and season with your choice of seasonings - my seasonings of choice are listed above.  I honestly do not have measurements for seasonings as I just shake to my liking. Haha!
4.  Start layering!
 - Start with a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the 9x13 pan.
 - Place 3 lasagna noodles side by side on top of the sauce.
 - Add another thin layer of sauce on top of the noodles to coat.
 - Spread 1/3 of the ground turkey on top.
 - Add 6 large dollops of ricotta cheese.
 - Sprinkle a few handfuls of mozzarella cheese on top.

The layer should look like this:

Once you get to this point, pour some sauce to cover the top, add 3 more lasagna noodles, press down and repeat the steps all the way through twice.  After you get through two more layers you will top with 3 lasagna noodles, a final layer of sauce and top it with mozzarella cheese to cover the whole top.

Then place some toothpicks in and cover with foil (use the toothpicks so that the foil doesn't stick to the top layer of cheese).  Pop in the oven for about 1 hour - 1.5 hours until the center is hot.  Remove from the oven, let cool for a few and dig in! :)
It is seriously delicious and the steps seem WAY more complicated then they really are!  You can even add things like spinach or other veggies into the layers too!  For those of you who are super busy like me...make 2 at the same time and put one in the oven and one in the freezer.  Defrost on a morning you know you will be having a busy day and pop in the oven before dinner time! So convenient!!
I wish I could tell you how many calories is in a serving but I am unsure.  What I do know is that choosing whole grain lasagna, part skim cheeses and ground turkey are healthier substitutions than a regular lasagna! Serve with salad as a side!  Let me know if you try it! :) Happy cooking!

~Erin Leigh

Do you have any healthy recipes to share? I could use some new ones!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Survey Says...

I am looking for some feedback! Please respond however you feel most comfortable...comment, private message, email. 

Do you work out?
-If yes, how many days a week on average?
-Where:  Gym? Home? Outdoors?

Do you feel it is easier to work out alone or in a group?

What do you feel are your problem areas that would like to work on toning?

If you do not work out, or do not work out as much as you would like, what factors are stopping you?

Thanks for your input! :)
~Erin Leigh

Friday, October 4, 2013

Easy Weeknight Recipe!

Ok...so I figured out the EASIEST recipe on earth!  A few weeks ago I had chicken that needed to be made because I defrosted it the day before, but then we chose to go out to eat (we do that a lot) so it needed to be made...I was running out the door and looked in the pantry to see what we had and we didn't have much to be creative with...but we did have a can of Italian style diced tomatoes. So...this is what I came up with...

Chicken breast (2-4)
1 can of Italian style diced tomatoes

Put in crockpot on high for 3 1/2 hours or on low for 7.

So, I packed it for my husband for work the next day with some Spanish rice...and never having tried the chicken had no clue how it was and he actually texted me out of the blue and said how great his lunch was!  There you have it...easiest ever!  I actually made it again yesterday.

Being as busy as I am I love easy recipes to avoid ordering pizza and wings and other take out during the week. I like saving the take out days for the weekend!

I have some other quick, easy and healthy recipes I love making on busy weeknights I will share soon too! :)  What about you? I would love to add to my list!

~Erin Leigh

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

5 Things!

5 changes I made and I will always stick to because I feel much healthier!

1. Drink water!

The recommended amount of water consumption per day is 8 glasses.  For whatever reason, whenever I heard this throughout my life, I thought that seemed like so much water!  It felt like I was forcing myself to drink it and drowning in water. But then I bought this:

There is something about having a cup with a straw that makes it SO much easier to drink.  I now drink water all day every day. I even bought one for one of my best friends who is trying to lose post pregnancy weight because I believe in it that much! I probably refill it about 10 times a day.  If you don't think you consume enough water, try getting one.  This is not scientific...just based on my own experience.  Let me know if you agree with me!

2.  Eat 5 times per day.

Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner

To some people it seems like a lot.  It is not huge amounts of food (which is discussed under number 3), but eating throughout the day keeps your metabolism going and also keeps you feeling satisfied.  Starting my day with a healthy breakfast sets the tone for my whole day!  Cutting back and only eating 1 or 2 meals per day is not the healthy way to lose weight.  You may eat less calories but at some point you will be really hungry and you run the risk of overeating in that kind of scenario. Plus, your body needs a certain amount of nutrients each day to remain healthy.  

On a side note, jump start your day with a workout to really boost your metabolism! ;)

3. Portion control.

Yes, people talk about portion control all the time, but seriously...it's important.  Eating 5 times a day keeps your metabolism going, but you need to control how much you are consuming those 5 times per day.  The two snacks shouldn't be high in calories...my favorite snacks are raw almonds, greek yogurt or raw vegetables with hummus.  Then for meals, increase the portion of vegetables or protein and decrease the amount of carbs.  Notice I say "decrease."  You don't want to eliminate carbs from your diet, but if you are trying to lose weight you also do not want to stack your plate with potatoes and pasta.  Eat carbs, don't eliminate them, but stack up on the vegetables and protein. 

4.  Make healthy choices/substitute.

Instead of frying chicken, make baked chicken.
Instead of having loaded baked potatoes, make baked wedge fries.
Instead of having regular pancakes, make whole grain pancakes and add fruit.
Instead of ordering a juicy burger and fries, get a turkey burger and sweet potato fries.

You can still eat tasty food when eating out but just try to choose something with fewer calories.

For more info on substitutes you can read my post about modifications here:
It's all about Modification

5.  Cheat!

Yes...I said it.  You cannot always make healthy choices.  If you do not allow yourself to eat your favorites every now and then, it makes it difficult to stick with healthy eating.  Girls night out is not the time to limit your wine and food consumption (my friend Jackie's words the other night...so true!)...it is a time to enjoy yourself and eat what you want, drink what you want, but when you wake up in the morning the next day...start the day off right.  Go back to your healthy eating schedule.  A cheat day here and there are not going to ruin your progress but it shouldn't be every day.

I personally cheat once per week.  I like pizza, wine, eating out, desserts, fall baking, martinis etc. I am now a little more flexible in when I cheat but when I was trying to lose weight I was much more disciplined...only cheating when we would go out and then eating really well at home consistently.  Once I reached my weight goals, I started allowing myself more flexibility and it has not caused me any weight gain because I continue to work out and have increased my workouts.  Instead of only cheating when we go out, I don't feel bad ordering a pizza on a Friday, baking something for my family, having a glass (or 2) of wine in the evening etc. 

I hope these tips help you if you are looking for a place to start!  Make healthy choices 5 times per day, drink water, control your portions and then cheat occasionally to reward yourself for your hard work! 

~Erin Leigh