Spicy Thai Basil Stirfry

So like I said in my last blog post, this week is detox week at Kaia and I am trying my best to stick to the plan and eat lean and green. I already had organic ground turkey in the refrigerator so I started looking for healthy meals to make. Usually I would make turkey tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce or meatballs, but since carbohydrates are on the don’t-even-think-about-it-list during detox I knew I needed to try something different that didn’t include tortillas or pasta.I started to search for Thai recipes and every one included a good amount of brown sugar, which is also not allowed on detox. So, I followed their lead to get an idea and then came up with something on my own. The result… a delicious, spicy, tangy, rich Thai basil stir-fry  that I wanted to eat all in one sitting. I will definitely be making this again (and again and again and again…).

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. lean (organic) ground turkey
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2-8 Thai chili peppers, sliced (depending on spicy preference)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Large handful fresh basil leaves

Sauce: (measurements are approximate. I added little amounts until I found the taste/spicy-ness I liked)

  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp-1tbsp. chili paste (depending on preferred spice-level)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

What you’ll do:

Cut eggplant in half and weep for about 15 minutes (cover in sea salt to remove excess moisture). Start the ground turkey and cook on low-medium until done. While the turkey is cooking saute red onions, Thai chili peppers and eggplant in olive oil until eggplant gets soft. Add broth for moisture if needed. Add in bell peppers and cook until soft (3-5 minutes). Mix soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until blended. Mix in the remainder of the sauce ingredients and pour over vegetable mixture. Add green onions and basil. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Combine the veggie mixture with the ground turkey. Serve with green onions and basil to garnish. Enjoy!

This is now my favorite ground turkey recipe. What are your favorite ways to cook ground turkey besides tacos?

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Ready for Kombat

In May I started my new health and fitness routine with Kaia F.I.T.  and I am constantly reminded of what a great choice it was. Not only have I lost weight/inches and gained muscle, I’ve gained confidence, energy, and some great friends to keep me accountable. Kaia has been the best stress reliever and really has made my every day life better for so many reasons. I am happier, I have better posture, my back hurts less often, I have more energy at work and when I get home, and the list goes on and on.

I started during BRIK, which is Kaia’s 6-week intensive bootcamp that consists of 3 days in the gym doing strength training and cardio, one day of flow (yoga), and one day of running. After the first six weeks I already felt great and had some pretty awesome results. Keep in mind that I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose when I started, I just wanted to get toned and fit.

1ST SIX WEEKS:

Weight: -4.2lbs

Booty/hips: -1  inch

Thighs: no change

Chest: -1 1/4 inches

Waist: – 2 inches

Body fat: – 3.4%

After the 6 week bootcamp we went to two 5-week sessions that consisted of 3 days a week in the gym, an optional yoga class on Friday, and another optional workout on Saturday. I am out of town often on the weekends so I was only able to make it to a few of the Saturday workouts over the 10 weeks, but I went to about 90% of the yoga classes. We just did our measurements on Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

10 WEEKS:

Weight: -2.6lbs

Booty/hips: -1/2 inch

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1/4 inch

Waist: – 1 3/4 inches

Body fat: – 1/10%

TOTAL IN 16 WEEKS:

Weight: -6.8 lbs

Booty/hips: -1 1/2 inches

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1 1/2 inches

Waist: – 3 3/4 inches!

Body fat: – 3.5%

Today we started our Kombat BRIK session and I could not be more motivated. During the first week we do a detox, which means no dairy, no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol, and nothing processed. After the first week they encourage us to eat clean (mostly fruit and vegetables, low carbs, no sugar, etc) and then we detox again during the last week. I am looking forward to hard work, lots of early mornings, LOTS of sweat, and a group of amazing girls by my side. If I get results like I have these last few months, it will be an added bonus. In the beginning, I joined as a way to lose a few pounds and tone up a bit and now I couldn’t imagine leaving. I wake up in the mornings to get to the gym because I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Of course I love seeing results and feeling better in my clothes, but the way I feel in this short period of time has really shown me how important a consistent workout plan can be.

Grilled Peaches with Fresh Raspberries

I don’t know where you live, but where I live it is hot outside. Extremely hot. I get home from work, change into shorts and a tank top, and crank the air conditioning as soon as I walk in the door. Then I have to think about dinner… The last thing I want to do when it is 104-108 degrees out is stand in a hot kitchen cooking dinner. This week we have been eating a lot of salads and cold meals for dinner, but last night I really wanted dessert and I didn’t care what the temperature was. I had absolutely nothing sweet or unhealthy and dessert-y in the house, so I had to be resourceful. Our outdoor grill is broken, but I pulled out the grill pan and cut three very ripe white peaches to split with my husband. I cut them in half, grilled them for a few minutes on each side and topped them with fresh raspberries and a little frozen whipped topping. It was the perfect fruity dessert for a warm summer night.

Bridal Shower Bubbles and More

Okay..this is me attempting not to cry as I write this post. It’s not going to work, but I’ll attempt.

So I have this friend Kira, who has been in my life since I was 5 years old….. And she’s alright….

And by ‘alright’ I mean she’s the best friend anyone could ever ask for in their entire life. If you are lucky enough to have a Kira in your lifetime you should grab on and not let go (does that sound like I’m a crazy person?) Well, without going into all the things I plan to say for my maid of honor speech at her wedding, I can tell you that in the last week or so I have teared up or full on cried while planning her bridal shower (basically, I’m going to be a crying mess at her wedding). I have been thinking about how great she is and how happy I am that she found this amazing guy to marry, with this amazing family who loves her as if she’s their own. Seeing all the friends and family (especially her mom and grandmother) who came together to celebrate her happiness seriously warmed my heart. Our amazing friend Katie drove from 4 hours away just to be a part of the weekend and it couldn’t have been better. There’s not much that makes me happier than the three of us together, just like when we were inseparable in junior high and high school.

Kira and I have known each other for over 20 years and as each year comes, our friendship grows stronger. In the past we’ve lived in different cities and at some points even different countries, but we’ve always remained close. I know that no matter what happens, where we live, or what we’re doing in our lives, we will be friends until we’re little old ladies. I have so much more to say, but it will have to wait until the wedding speeches. I cannot wait for October 6th and I couldn’t be happier for her and Jordan.

Here are a few of the details from the bridal shower that I planned with Kira’s awesome soon to be mother in law. It was a lovely day! Click on the images to get a closer look at the details!

The favors were miniature mason jars with straws that we wrapped in cellophane and added little stamped thank yous to each one. Kira’s future MIL made three different kinds of homemade cookies for each person to take homeRibbon garland I madeFavor Table/Entry TableMy favorite part of the shower…the mimosa or “bubbly bar” I made tiny little flags for people to write their names on so they wouldn’t lose their mimosaI wanted a Bubbly Bar sign. I made one, and it was ugly. So I had this one custom-made on Etsy. I will be using this again. I used Diamond wine stoppers to keep the champagne closed I ordered this custom flower garland from Etsy as well. Bridal Bingo during the gift opening to keep people interestedThe Donut Bar! Diamond Donuts (Diamonds from Etsy)This was a custom hanger from Etsy with the wedding date.Gift table

Kira opening my giftThe card read “Pull the string and see what you’ll find, maybe something cute for your little behind” When she pulled the string TONS of underwear came out all tied together..And it kept coming out…. And kept coming….…..…..It ended with a cute blue pair from Victoria’s Secret that said “Tied the Knot” on the butt. I thought it was fitting since she’s getting married AND I tied about 100 knots for these undies! I think she liked it :)Next up…Las Vegas for the Bachelorette Party

Color Run Round Two!

I did it again! I had such a great time at the Orange County Color Run in April that I jumped at the opportunity to participate in it again when it came to my town. This time we had over 70 Kaia girls there in matching hot pink tutus. Like I said the last time, if you haven’t participated in one of these runs, you need to! It was definitely the most fun 5k I have ever run!

The Best Meal I’ve Ever Made

This eggplant parmesan was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever made. It was a few more steps and a few more ingredients than I usually like to cook with (I like fast and easy recipes), but it was so worth it. I have only had eggplant parmesan maybe twice in my life because I can no longer eat dairy. I learned how to make it when I was living in Italy and it was delicious, but so loaded with cheese that I’ve never tried to re-create it at home. For some reason unknown to me, goat cheese has no impact on how I’m feeling, so I decided to look for a recipe that called for goat cheese and no other dairy products. I found one recipe that was eggplant, red sauce, goat cheese, and parmesan and I tweaked it a little to make this delicious meal.

What you’ll need:

  •  1 large purple eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt to weep eggplant slices
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil for frying
  • 1 jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce (I used an organic brand with few ingredients)
  • 1 small block of goat cheese broken into pieces (crumbled would work too)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red onion
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves

What you’ll do:

  1. Peel skin off eggplant, and slice length-wise so you have thin slices for layering (like lasagna).
  2. Cover the slices with sea salt to remove moisture. Let sit 10-15 minutes and drain water.
  3. Combine the sea salt and flour and blend together with a fork.
  4. Pat dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.
  5. Warm oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then in the flour/salt mixture, and place in pan.
  7. Fry on each side until they start to brown (few minutes), and then lay on paper towel.
  8. Saute onions, mushrooms, spinach, and basil in a frying pan and set aside.
  9. In a baking dish, place a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of eggplant slices, then the sliced tomatoes, spinach mixture, and a few pieces of goat cheese. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the eggplant.Top with sauce, spinach mixture, sliced tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and goat cheese chunks (or crumbles).
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  11. Cool and cut. Enjoy!What’s the best meal you’ve ever made?

Grilled Citrus Skewers

These were so delicious, and like most of my recipes, SO easy! Although I took the photos, and ate the skewers, I can’t take credit for actually making them. Mom did all the work, but I’ll definitely be making them myself sometime soon. Marinate the shrimp in olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh basil and salt and pepper for as long as possible in the fridge. Place on skewers with lemon slices, grill a few minutes on each side and enjoy!

For the chicken and pineapple skewers we marinated the chicken in teriyaki sauce, salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, and fresh basil. We arranged them on skewers with shallots and pineapple and placed on the grill. Delish!