Monday, August 18, 2014

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo Recipe)

As much as I like trying new flavors, I could eat and drink certain things every day without tiring of them.

I like what I like, and sometimes it's just easier to run on autopilot in terms of making meals. Why reinvent the wheel? Does anyone else agree?

Anyhoo, I've been feeling less-than-inspired this past month, which has translated into me living on the staples: salsa, hummus, carrots, dark chocolate, deli meat and nut butter. <--- I just typed "butt nutter" on accident. LOL.

Luckily, a last-minute Sunday meal prep inspired me to take the usual suspects and combine them to make a FANTASTIC new main dish: South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf.

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo friendly recipe) from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Seriously. This meatloaf is delish. I'm eating it as I finish typing this post.

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo friendly recipe) from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota 

If you're a fan of making tex mex meals, you probably have all the ingredients to bake this incredibly flavorful, somewhat spicy meatloaf. It takes about 2 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook.

Tip: Feel free to bake sweet potatoes in the oven or make a tray of roasted broccoli while the meatloaf is cooking. When I can remember, I bake everything at once during the week to save my apartment from the heat of the oven. Let's not make the air conditioning bill higher than it needs to be.

If you're cooking for one, this meatloaf makes about four servings. If you bake the broccoli and sweet potatoes, just add them to a Tupperware container with a slice or two of meatloaf. Just like that, you're good-to-go for lunch tomorrow.

Easy leftover lunch from Hungry Gator Gal: south of the border turkey meatloaf, roasted broccoli, and a chickpeas/diced tomato mixture topped with red wine vinegar and Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.

In photo by Brianna Kolota: meatloaf, roasted broccoli, and a chickpeas/diced tomato mixture topped with red wine vinegar and Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.  

You'll find the recipe below. Let me know what you think if you try it! Did I mention it's gluten- and grain-free? You're welcome, my paleo friends. :)

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo Recipe)


Makes four servings


Difficulty: Easy peasy


Total Preparation Time: 2 minutes


Total Cooking Time: 1 hour


Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup restaurant style salsa (The more liquid, soupy kind)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey (I used the 93/7 variety.)
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 2 egg whites (1/3 cup)  

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray a bread/loaf pan with cooking spray or spread some oil in the pan.
  4. Add meat mixture to pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Optional: Wrap some sweet potatoes in foil and/or make a large tray of roasted broccoli to eat on the side and/or with leftovers during the week.

Related HGG Posts:


Spicy Salsa Meatloaf



BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins



Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressing)

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with @BolthouseFarms yogurt dressing)

Monday, August 11, 2014

August Workout Jams (Spotify playlist included)

This workout playlist is ALL over the place in terms of the different genres included. Seriously. It's like musical chairs, which is sort of how my life has been lately.

August Workout Jams from Hungry Gator Gal (An @spotify playlist)

Spotify playlist:



In the past two weeks, I've slept in SEVEN different beds. I was in New York babysitting my cousins for a month. Then my family came up for vacation, and we bed-hopped all over the state as we visited different family members.

And in true vacation fashion, I barely did anything online, given that WiFi service was spotty or non-existent in some of the places we visited. I was too busy enjoying summer food, hiking, and views like this with family. . .

Lake George, NY

Photo of Lake George, NY by Brianna Kolota

Beef and chicken sliders

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Trail hiking in upstate New York

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Cousin Love

Photo by Carole Berg

Kolota Cousins Pyramid

Photo by Carole Berg 

I had SO much fun this summer, but I am kaput. I wanted nothing more than to sleep and do absolutely nothing by the time my birthday rolled around Friday, but I managed to visit Orange Theory Fitness for an AMAZING one-hour workout with my BFF from high school.

This Orange 60 session was our first, so it was free. I didn't take photos, but I highly recommend checking it out if you want to get your butt kicked. I push myself pretty hard in the gym, but this class left me feeling sore ALL over.




Source

As this post goes live, I'm unpacking in my apartment, grocery shopping and just getting ready in general for my first day at UF Law Tuesday. Given the madness of orientation and my first classes, I'll keep the weekly workout log updated, but my actual posts might be few and far between for a month or so. I just need time to figure out a new blogging schedule.

Until next time, stay classy.

Brianna :)

P.S. For more playlists like this one, follow me on Spotify. It's free, but you can also pay for a premium version that doesn't include advertisements. You can also save your playlists to listen offline with the premium version.

You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Google + if you click on the social media icons in the top right-hand sidebar.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout

If you're new to weight training, this upper body workout might not be for you. However, if you're a seasoned lifter who's ready to shake up your routine, get ready because this advanced workout is KILLER.

This challenging, high intensity plan combines circuit training and drop sets to leave you completely and utterly exhausted by the final rep of each exercise.

Circuits allow you to work on aerobic conditioning while the moderately heavy sets allow you to work on increasing strength. The lighter drop sets help you improve your muscular endurance.

In other words, you're getting more bang for your workout buck. 
  
Upper Body Drop Set Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Video demonstrations for the exercises:

When I train hard in the gym, I train HARD. I'm talking about the let's-make-sure-I-can't-lift-anything-tomorrow type of hard.

Now you may be thinking, "Don't you work out five or six days per week? How can you go hard all the time?'

Well, the truth is that I don't go full throttle every day because I don't want to over train. I like a mix of hard, moderately hard and easier workouts, which you'll see if you check out my weekly workout log.

Although this opinion is based purely on personal experience, I don't suggest you complete a workout like this one more than twice per week. You'll end up doing more harm than good because you won't have enough time to recover, especially if you work out more than three times per week.

With that said, I encourage you to try this workout if you're a fitness veteran who's stuck in a rut or if you're looking to increase strength and improve your muscular endurance at the same time. This workout is a doozy, but it will leave you feeling SUPER accomplished.

Let me know if you give it a try. :) 

Question:

  1. Do you incorporate circuit training and/or drop sets into your workout routine? If so, many times per week?
  

Helpful articles about circuit training and drop sets:


What Is Circuit Training?

What are the Costs and Benefits of Circuit Training?

Definition of Drop Sets in Weight Training

Creative Drop Setting

Related HGG Workouts:


Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout

Total Body Burnout Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Push + Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout 

Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal 

Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout 

Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Going Grain-Free + Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

You probably didn't notice, but I've been posting fewer recipes with grains. Why? Because I've slowly cut all grains, even the whole ones, from my diet in the past few months.

You might ask, "Why would you do that? Whole grains are good for you! They provide your body with fiber and other nutrients." 

Trust me. I used to think the same thing. However, in he past six months or so, grains have been causing me more trouble than good. 

After paying attention to how I felt after eating certain foods, I realized the extremely "full" feeling I had after eating grains probably wasn't normal. I basically looked like I was pregnant even though I DEFINITELY wasn't.

After realizing this about six months ago, I started to slowly reduce my grains intake. Then, I just stopped eating grains altogether one day in the beginning of June. And you know what? I feel GREAT. 

I haven't experienced bloating, tiredness after eating, feelings of being hangry or cravings for sweets. Not to mention, my energy is pretty high all day. The few times I've eaten the number of grains I used to eat in one day, my stomach blew up like a balloon, and I just felt generally uncomfortable.

Although I never intended to go completely grain free, I did, and I've stuck with it for about six weeks. It's not for everyone, but it's working for me.

No, I'm not following a Paleo or low-carb diet. I still eat dairy (a no-no for Paleo) and carbs in the form of starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and fruit, especially after super tough workouts. Once every week or so, I'll have a sandwich made with sprouted grain bread, but most days I don't eat wheat, oats, rice, etc.

I'm not going to lie. It was HARD and took time to adjust to a grain-free diet since I basically lived on grains my entire life up to this point. However, I feel 1000 times better without grains, and the change gave me the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen, which is how the recipe for these Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps was born.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

If you like spicy Cajun food and Jimmy John's "unwich," you'll LOVE these wraps.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Who needs grainy bread when you've got crispy, crunchy lettuce? Yay for leafy greens!

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Let's not forget about the generous drizzle of cool, creamy Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing on top (a.k.a. one of my favorite dressings on this planet).

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)
   
I made this meal for lunch one day and added bell pepper slices on the side for some extra crunch and because I'm eating A LOT more veggies because I'm not eating grains. You could also add a few chunks of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Cabot makes my favorite.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Hungry Gator Gal (grain-free, low-carb, drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)

Let me know if you give the recipe below a try. It's perfect for an easy dinner and makes for tasty leftovers the next day for lunch . . . if you have leftovers ;). 

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps (grain-free, low-carb,  drizzled with Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing)


Preparation time: 30 minutes


Cook time: 15-20 minutes


Serves four people


Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds lean ground turkey (I buy the 93/7 variety.)
  • 1/3 cup your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Stubb's Original.)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (Try to find a salt-free version, if possible.)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • Two large leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 2-4 tablespoons Bolthouse Farms Honey Mustard Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the turkey)

Steps:

  1. Combine ground turkey, BBQ sauce, mustard, onion and all of the seasonings in a large bowl. Stir until well-combined, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors "sink in."
  2. After 30 minutes, heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
  3. Add turkey to the skillet and cook until light brown (about 15-20 minutes). Stir the turkey every few minutes until it's finished cooking.
  4. Wash your lettuce and place each leaf on a plate to make "boats."
  5. Add a spoonful or two of turkey to each lettuce "boat."
  6. Add a handful of green onions to each lettuce "boat."
  7. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the dressing on top of each wrap.
  8. Serve with cheddar cheese and extra veggies, if desired.

Question:

  1. Do you eat grain-free? Why or why not?

Helpful/ interesting articles about going grain free:

 

Related HGG Recipes:


Tomato Basil Turkey Burgers

Tomato Basil Turkey Burgers from Hungry Gator Gal

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins



Spicy Salsa Meatloaf

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chest + Back Supersets Workout

Some days I lift heavy with fewer repetitions, and other days I train with lighter weights and a higher number of repetitions.

So what happens when I feel like doing both in the same day? Routines like this chest and back supersets workout.

Chest + Back Supersets Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Whether you should complete a high number of reps with lighter weights or fewer reps with heavy weight is an often-debated topic in the fitness world. However, the truth is that neither training plan is better than the other. You can do both!

Although I'm not a certified fitness professional, I'm a firm believer in keeping your muscles guessing. I constantly switch both my cardio and strength workouts each week.

Now more than ever, I'm focusing on a well-rounded fitness program. Basically, I'm training concurrently (i.e. for cardio and lifting goals at the same time). I've been doing it for a little more than a year and have seen significant gains in overall physical fitness.

Although I hope you try the workout, I'm not going to be disappointed if you don't. Why? Because you should move in a way that makes YOU happy. <----Great post. Seriously. Check it out!

If you train concurrently, that's great. Feel free to join me in the gym. However, if you don't train concurrently, that's awesome too. YOU should do what works best for YOU.

Maybe that's running three times a week. Maybe it's practicing yoga every day. I could care less as long as you're happy. Life's too short to do things we don't like to do. :)

Question:

  1. What's your favorite way to move?
 

Additional Upper Body Workouts:


Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout

Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Circuit

Quick Bicep & Tricep Blast Workout from hungrygatorgal.com

Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout

Push and Pull Upper Body Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pumping Iron Playlist

Here's playlist for when you need motivation to lift things up and put them down.

Pumping Iron Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (an @spotify playlist)


Here's the Spotify playlist for fans of streaming.



Follow me (Brianna Kolota) on Spotify if you like this playlist and want to see more of my music.

I listen to mainly EDM and pop in the gym, but I like alternative hits while I'm chillin' at home, studying or working. You'll find a mix of all three types of music if you check out my playlists.

Question:

  1. What are some of your favorite workout songs right now?

Related HGG Posts:

Summer Workout Jams

Summer Workout Jams Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (spotify playlist included)

Ultimate EDM Playlist



Summer Sweat Playlist 

Summer Sweat Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee

You know what's better than regular coffee in the summer? ICED COFFEE!

And you know what's better than iced coffee? PROTEIN ICED COFFEE!

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Yes, I'm using all capitals because I'm EXCITED to share this drink. Aaaaand I might be slightly over-caffeinated as I type this post.

This cool and creamy treat has been the perfect drink to sip on while I'm making a post-workout feast meal. To get started, just fill a large tumbler with ice.


Photo by Brianna Kolota

Pop your iced coffee K-Cup into the machine. If you don't have a Keurig, you can buy iced coffee quarts at the grocery store or follow this easy recipe.

Green Mountain French Vanilla Iced Coffee on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Add a little sweetener. My current fave is Trader Joe's Stevia Extract.

Trader Joe's Stevia Extract

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Then add a half or a full scoop or vanilla protein powder. I used Body Fortress Super Advanced Vanilla Whey Protein, but feel free to use your favorite brand.

Body Fortress Super Advanced Vanilla Whey Protein on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Iced French Vanilla Protein Coffee from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Give the drink a stir, and you're ready to feed those muscles while getting your caffeine kick for the day.

But really though. It's SO easy to overdo the caffeine with this drink. I could chug four cups in 10 minutes if I wasn't paying attention.

I was trying to cut back on my caffeine intake because it's the summertime and I'm not in school. However, now that I'm watching my cousins as their nanny, I have two or three cups a day. I love kids, but they're EXHAUSTING. Kudos to all the mothers out there.

Let me know if you try the coffee. I'd love to know what you think! :)

Question:

  1. Do you drink iced coffee in the summertime?


Related HGG Posts:


Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie

Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie from Hungry Gator Gal #OneChange #VegaOne

Banana Vanilla Chai Doughboy Smoothie



Coffee Banana Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal