Simple Sunday #1: Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts. You either love them or hate them. In fact, I read somewhere recently that they are the most hated vegetable in the USA. Luckily, I am a brussel sprout lover.  I credit that to my boyfriend who made me try them a few months ago…Yes, it took me 22 years to try them, but I turned out okay! 😛 You will never know if you are a hater or not unless you try them.

Anyway, we made gnocchi for dinner tonight and felt like trying something new for our vegetable side dish. And voilà! Pecan roasted brussel sprouts were born.  This recipe was adapted from several different recipes so it is not exact. It is super simple though! It is perfect for when you want a quick side dish that is a little fancier than regular steamed vegetables. Also, brussel sprouts are wonderful for your body. Chock full of iron, protein, potassium, and antioxidants, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. 😛 So for my first ever Simple Sunday here is a quick and easy side dish recipe. Enjoy. 🙂

Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

ingredients

16 oz. frozen or fresh brussel sprouts

1 Tablespoon or so of olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

pinch of garlic

handful of chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray .

2. Pour the 16 oz. of frozen or fresh brussel sprouts into a bowl.

3. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and coat all the sprouts.

4. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix .

5. Add the chopped pecans and pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet.

before cooking brussel sprouts

6. Bake the brussel sprouts 20-25 minutes or so until slightly browned. Turn the sprouts at least once during cooking.

7. Serve and enjoy. 🙂

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Do you like brussel sprouts? Why or why not? If so, what is your favorite way to eat them?

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Fit Friday #1: Fitbit Flex review

Good evening friends! Today I am reviewing the FItbit Flex, which I received as a present from my mom. This product review and the options expressed in it are solely my own and are not influenced by a third party. Even though I run or exercise most days of the week, I feel like all I do after working out is sit. That kind of negates the benefits of working out. Having a way to track my daily steps will hopefully influence me to walk more places and live an active lifestyle outside of working out.

The Fitbit Flex comes with a USB charger, a receiver that you plug into your computer, the Fitbit itself, a small wrist band, and a large wrist band. I have the pink Fitbit Flex.

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To use the Fitbit, you make a profile on the Fitbit website and you link it with your Fitbit. I also recommend getting the smartphone app. You can set your daily goal of steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes. You can also track your sleep with the app. It tracks how long you sleep, when your are awake during the night, and when you are restless during the night. You can even use the Fitbit as your alarm in the morning. It will vibrate on your wrist to wake you up.

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You can also set weight, body fat, and BMI goals and manually track them. There is also a food tracker, but I have not used it. I do not like tracking my food intake. I used MyFitness Pal in the past, when I was a DI college runner. It is a good idea, especially for weight loss, but for some people, such as athletes, it can cause them to become a tad obsessive. Am I eating enough? Too much? Am I getting enough protein? ETC.. I fell into the latter category during college so now I do not track what I eat.

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I just try to eat healthy most of the time and only when I am hungry. I have no idea how many calories I eat per day to be honest. Not tracking my food intake is working well for me as I have not gained or lost weight since I graduated from college last May!

Here is my day in steps so far today. I did a 25 minute cross training workout on the elliptical at resistance 14 as well as 10 minutes of yoga using the Yoga Studio app. I also walked around a lot today because I went to the Field Museum with my boyfriend’s family and ran various errands:

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Pros:

  • The Fitbit Flex is waterproof. I wore it in the shower today and that did not ruin it!
  • You can also sleep in the Fitbit. You never have to take it off if you don’t want to.
  • The small wrist band is small enough for people like me with child sized wrists 🙂
  • The Fitbit is not bulky and isn’t ugly. It’s not the cutest bracelet, but oh well.
  • You can see your progress toward your step, distance, or calorie goal by tapping the Fitbit. Each red dot represents 1/6 of your progress and 6 red dots mean your reached your goal. The Fitbit vibrates when this happens.
  • Very long battery life. The manual says it should last at least 5 days. I got mine 2 days ago and the battery is still  full!
  • You can participate in challenges with your friends or people online who have Fitbits. Perfect for competitive people such as myself. 😛
  • Motivating emails when you reach your goals that you can share with social media:

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Cons:

  • What constitutes an active minute? Not all my minutes on the elliptical today were considered active minutes, but resistance 14 is no joke…
  • Not sure how accurate the restless and awake minutes are in the sleep tracker.
  • You cannot manually add exercises such as weight lifting, yoga, elliptical, swimming, biking, etc. You can only add running, walking, or hiking exercises.
  • Not sure how accurate the calorie burning measurement. is

Overall opinion:

I recommend the FitBit Flex for anyone.  I wish you could manually track more exercise types, but it does the trick for those of us who want to be more active during the day. This may be just the tool you need to park the car further away, take the stairs, walk more places, and be more mindful of time spent sitting during the day. Whether you are a runner, daily exerciser, or coach potatoes the Fitbit can motivate you to take more steps during the day. Every single one of us can benefit from a more active lifestyle! 🙂

Do any of you have the Fitbit Flex or another Fitbit? What do you think about it?

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015 everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s full of time with family and friends. I was happy  to go home for Christmas. I was spent it with both my family and my boyfriend’s family 🙂

To celebrate New Year’s, I just had a quiet night with my boyfriend, my sister who came to visit us, and some pink Champaign after I got off work. 😛 It was actually was my last work shift at the grocery store. I start a new part time job this month.  Next year, I hope to have more money and not have to work so I can go to one of those fancy restaurant and/or bar NYE parties here in the city! Unfortunately, I don’t think the Navy Pier one will ever be in my price range….haha

When I was home, I was sad I did not have time to catch up with friends 🙁  Regardless, I am grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. If any of you are reading this, remember that whether we see each other all the time or rarely thank you for being there for me. In 2015, I hope to spend more time with my family and friends even when the times get busy or we have to travel to see each other! 🙂

Now, some highlights of 2014:

  • Applied to and got accepted into a nutrition program
  • Graduated from college with a biology degree
  • Ran my first half marathon
  • Started this blog
  • Moved to Chicago with my boyfriend of 5.5 years
  • Went to Lollapalooza (for the second year in a row)
  • Got a part time job at a grocery store
  • Started graduate school in nutrition
  • Celebrated being a vegetarian for 1 year in September
  • Applied to and got accepted to a graduate education program

After I started the nutrition program, I realized that I wanted to become a high school teacher instead of a dietitian. I did decent in my nutrition classes, but I had been thinking about pursuing teaching for a while. I’d also like to coach cross country and track.  I finished out my nutrition classes, but now I can pursue my dream of becoming an educator!  I can already tell this will be a better fit for me than dietetics.

Never be afraid to change your path to pursue your dreams! I start my new graduate program and a new part time job this month so a lot of changes ahead!  2014 was a good year, but here’s to a great 2015!

I found this picture on Pinterest and I think it’s a great reminder on New Year’s to embrance change and try new things:

Now, I am a big believer in resolutions, but I don’t think Jan. 1st is the only time to make them. Any time of year is a good time to make a change, improve yourself, or reach for the stars. Regardless, I did end up making a few “New Year’s resolutions” of my own because they were on my mind today. I already mentioned that I’d like to spend more time with family and friends, but I thought I’d share a few more. 🙂

2015 New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Run my first marathon
  2. Read at least 2 books/month even though I’ll be in graduate school
  3. IT Band prevention/ yoga workouts to supplement running 2-3x/ week
  4. Plan one date/ month for my boyfriend
  5. Cook a new vegetarian meal at least 2x/month

I hope all of you enjoy the rest of your New Year’s and that your 2015 is off to a great start! What are some of your 2014 highlights? Also, what are your 2015 resolutions?